Shared Ride Access to Work
Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA)
Joanne Haracz, AICP
The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) faces a challenge in providing public transit for a large, sparsely developed geographic area that houses a high proportion of service-oriented jobs with non-traditional work hours. The BRTA tasked McMahon with examining the unmet employment transportation needs of low-income people living in remote towns of Berkshire County and develop recommendations for a shared-ride, work-related transportation network.
To examine unmet employment transportation needs, McMahon evaluated demographic characteristics using existing reports, BRTA rider surveys, and U.S. census data. McMahon also analyzed economic data to identify major employers and employment centers. Demographic and employment data was analyzed and mapped in relation to existing transportation services using GIS to determine unmet employment transportation needs.
McMahon also completed a literature review to understand how transit providers in other parts of the country are partnering on efforts to provide community options for underserved populations, as well as identify models for types of service and potential funding options for BRTA.
McMahon prepared a final report summarizing the results of the analysis, literature review, and public engagement. The report recommends that BRTA implement a pilot study using existing transportation providers and transit assets to provide a shared ride demand-response service. In the longer term, McMahon recommends the BRTA to form a Transportation Management Association (TMA) to provide a range of mobility management services through a partnership of businesses, institutions and communities that would leverage shared resources to coordinate transportation services efficiently.