Innovating the Way We Move: A Guide to Mobility Management

What is mobility management?

Mobility management is the most recent innovation in transportation solutions, offering adaptable and flexible transport for all. Essentially, mobility management is the connection between people and multiple transportation options that allow for unique individuals to reach their destinations. This means an analysis of individuals and trends in transportation needs by partners across all sectors to create new routes and services and improve existing ones. This service helps with first-mile, last-mile coverage, almost as if you could bring bus stops closer to you, eliminating the 20 minute walk from your front door to the nearest stop location. 

Who does mobility management serve?

Often, mobility management focuses on attempting to meet the needs of older adults, those lacking transportation, and people with disabilities. The ultimate goal is to increase access for these at-risk populations and to improve the overall health and sustainability of communities, especially communities in need. 

Who are mobility managers?

Mobility managers can exist across the private and public sectors. For example, mobility management may include private managers, such as workplaces that offer commuter benefits to employees, or public managers, such as State Departments of Transportation. Oftentimes, private and public sectors partner together in order to provide the most adaptable service needed. 

Where does mobility management happen?

Mobility management is common in urban, suburban, and rural settings, making the process highly appealing no matter the location. In fact, many states have mobility management programs. Agencies who are interested in becoming a mobility manager, whether private or public, can partner with state transportation departments to do so. Sometimes a small fee is required for membership, but the tradeoff is certainly worth it. For example, Ohio offers a Mobility Management Program through the Ohio Department of Transportation. 

Why are mobility managers increasingly popular?

Because of the varying transportation needs within a community, mobility management allows for adaptable, flexible options for all kinds of riders. Because of this, the capacity for riders increases dramatically, and the benefits of this are tenfold. Sustainability occurs in every sense of the word: long-term reliability, cost effectiveness, and environmental impact. Encouraging the use of public transit options and ride-sharing decreases traffic congestion as well as pollution. Because of mobility management’s unique, on-demand nature, this cuts unnecessary spending, allows for transportation funds to be used effectively, and provides solutions that are effective; for example, providing first-mile last-mile transportation to a bus stop that is not walkable for many of its users, increasing the use and productivity of said stop. This makes this route more effective because the funds being used pay off due to increased usage. This is just one example of many. 

How do you launch a mobility management program? 

In general, mobility managers follow these steps to create successful transportation solutions. 

Inform and Connect

  • It is critical for mobility managers to connect their riders with the “right fit” for their transportation needs, as well as educate those riders about their available options.

Empathize and Advocate

  • Mobility managers take what they have learned from their riders through the relationships they have created, and communicate needs to partners and organizations who are capable of providing those needs or improving how they are met. 

Convene and Facilitate

  • Even further, mobility managers create partnerships between organizations and even the public as well. They can then facilitate meetings, forums, and connections that further serve their population. 

Design and Plan

  • Combining traditional and innovative transportation methods puts mobility managers in a unique position to carefully design mobility methods for diverse needs within a region. 

Launch and Sustain

  • Once the mobility management program is launched, it is critical to continually collect data from customers, routes, and organizations to analyze success and sustainability. 

Mobility management is a fluid process, so it is important to remember that these steps can be cyclical in nature or certain steps can occur simultaneously. For example, a common strategy among mobility managers is to test a smaller, pilot program following steps 1-5, collect data and analyze the pilot while also advocating for program users and facilitating between more organizations, then creating a redesign or add-ons to the mobility program that is then launched again on a much larger scale. 

If you want to know more, check out your state’s department of transportation website to see if they offer any mobility management programs. You can also visit the Federal Transit Administration’s website, specifically, their tab on Mobility Management practices here: https://www.transit.dot.gov/ccam/resources/mobility-management-brochure

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