Benesch worked with Sarasota County’s transit agency (SCAT) to conduct a Mobility Optimization Study. As the county emerged from COVID-19-related restrictions, they looked to make mobility services more cost-effective. We evaluated service performance and conducted market analyses of mobility needs to identify demand, latent demand, service gaps and opportunities to attract new riders and improve service delivery performance.
In addition to optimizing the transit network by eliminating unproductive fixed-route services and streamlining route alignments, we developed shared-ride point-to-point Mobility-on-Demand (MOD) solutions. Services were developed for four zones of the county to replace poor performing fixed routes and/or to act as an overlay to provide localized mobility and connect to a streamlined fixed route service. The optimization study included detailed operations planning for the improved fixed route network, using the generated savings to increase frequency along high-demand corridors. We also provided detailed operations for the MOD services in each of the four zones, including all scheduling, running cutting and bid support for implementing the services.
In the first year after the optimized transit network and MOD services were deployed, the county saw a major increase in ridership (attracting over 50,000 microtransit trips per month). This included an increase to fixed route ridership as well as shifting riders from paratransit, all of which contributed to lowering overall per-trip operating costs.