Measuring the impacts of dockless micro-mobility services on public transit accessibility

New paper:  Liu, L. and Miller, H.J. (2022) “Measuring the impacts of dockless micro-mobility services on public transit accessibility,” Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 98, 101885.

We develop new measures of the accessibility increments to public transit afforded by dockless micromobility. We apply this to public transit and Lime scooter data for Columbus.  We find that dockless micro-mobility services such as scooters can improve public transit accessibility, but the benefits are very uneven and face substantial challenges including capacity and cost.

Abstract: Dockless micromobility services have potential as a fast and flexible solution to short-distance trips and public transit’s first-mile/last-mile (FM/LM) access problem; however, these services also have limitations, including uneven spatial distribution, low capacity, and user out of pocket expense. This can impact on the ability of micromobility to enhance public transit accessibility. We introduce accessibility increment measures – the amount by which public transit accessibility improves due to micromobility services. We apply these measures to hypothetical trips using public transit and micromobility data from Columbus, Ohio, USA. We find dockless scooters can increase accessibility by multimodal public transit trips, with increments in the first mile significantly outweighing last mile accessibility increments. Accessibility increments are highly concentrated in the city center due to the distributions of scooters and bus stops. We also find that scooters’ accessibility increment contribution is highly unequal: a small number of scooters contribute most of the accessibility increments. Monetary cost simulations show that the first-mile accessibility increment will rapidly decrease and last-mile increment slightly increase with lower willingness to pay. Capacity simulations show a group of users’ accessibility increment will rapidly decrease as the group size increases, but this depends on whether they are competing or collaborating for scooters. Our results show that despite showing promising potentials, vendors and policymakers still need to address these issues to make collaboration between public transit and dockless micromobility sustainable and equitable. The paper provides measures and evidence for future transit and micromobility planning for scooter vendors and transit authorities.


Reckless on the road: What can be done to make Columbus streets safer?

I was interviewed for an ABC 6 news investigative report on reckless driving in Columbus. It turned out to be more about ATVs, dirt bikes and wheelies than I expected, but I stand by my message. And wait to the end to see the virtual complete street!

Reckless on the road: What can be done to make Columbus streets safer? – ABC6 News Columbus, August 3 2022

Realizable accessibility: evaluating the reliability of public transit accessibility using high‑resolution real‑time data

New paper!  Liu, L., Porr, A. and Miller, H.J. (2022) “Realizable accessibility: Evaluating the reliability of public transit accessibility using high-resolution real-time data,” Journal of Geographical Systems, online first.

Take home message:

We develop a refined time geographic measure of accessibility via public transit using real-time vehicle location data. We also show how to use this measure with schedule data to analyze the reliability of public transit accessibility at the urban scale. To be published in a special issue on “Time Geography in the Age of Mobility Analytics” in the Journal of Geographical Systems.


The widespread availability of high spatial and temporal resolution public transit data is improving the measurement and analysis of public transit-based accessibility to crucial community resources such as jobs and health care. A common approach is leveraging transit route and schedule data published by transit agencies. However, this often results in accessibility overestimations due to endemic delays due to traffic and incidents in bus systems. Retrospective real-time accessibility measures calculated using real-time bus location data attempt to reduce overestimation by capturing the actual performance of the transit system. These measures also overestimate accessibility since they assume that riders had perfect information on systems operations as they occurred. In this paper, we introduce realizable real-time accessibility based on space–time prisms as a more conservative and realistic measure. We, moreover, define accessibility unreliability to measure overestimation of schedulebased and retrospective accessibility measures. Using high-resolution General Transit Feed Specification real-time data, we conduct a case study in the Central Ohio Transit Authority bus system in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Our results prove that realizable accessibility is the most conservative of the three accessibility measures. We also explore the spatial and temporal patterns in the unreliability of both traditional measures. These patterns are consistent with prior findings of the spatial and temporal patterns of bus delays and risk of missing transfers. Realizable accessibility is a more practical, conservative, and robust measure to guide transit planning.