Exploring partnership between transit agency and shared mobility company: an incentive program for app-based carpooling

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - subway/metro, mode - car, planning - integration, ridership - commuting


Shared mobility, Public–private partnership, App-based carpooling, Incentive fund, Transit agencies


How should public transit agencies deliver mobility services in the era of shared mobility? Previous literature recommends that transit agencies actively build partnerships with mobility service companies from the private sector, yet public transit agencies are still in search of a solid empirical basis to help envision the consequences of doing so. This paper presents an effort to fill this gap by studying a recent experiment of shared mobility public–private partnership, the carpool incentive fund program launched by King County Metro in the Seattle region. This program offers monetary incentives for participants who commute using a dynamic app-based carpooling service. Through descriptive analysis and a series of logistic regression models, we find that the monetary incentive to encourage the use of app-based carpooling generates some promising outcomes while having distinctive limitations. In particular, it facilitates the growth of carpooling by making carpooling a competitive commuting option for long-distance commuters. Moreover, our evidence suggests that the newly generated carpooling trips mostly substitute single-occupancy vehicles, thus contributing to a reduction of regional VMT. The empirical results of this research will not only help King County Metro devise its future policies but also highlight an appealing alternative for other transit agencies in designing an integrated urban transportation system in the era of shared mobility.


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