Greening inner-urban travel

The universal uptake of super powerful smart devices (smart phones, tablets, etc) has enabled a paradigm shift in our ability to order food, buy clothes, book tickets, search for services and even share assets.  At breathtaking speed in so many cities we can use GPS locators to find the nearest Uber vehicle, share bike or share car, completely changing our access to mobility services.

With transport as one of the key challenges to the carbon impact of cities, the Greening Inner-urban Travel research program will be investigating the role sharing economy mobility services can play in reducing inner-urban transport emissions and our reliance on private vehicle use.

Sharing economy mobility services include:

  • share bikes
  • share cars
  • eco-caddies, and
  • Uber

Using Adelaide as a case study, the research will investigate those trips that are generated within the Carbon Neutral Adelaide calculation boundary (City of Adelaide and North Adelaide), rather than those trips that are generated in suburbia.

Researchers will investigate the barriers and drivers to providing transport share schemes as well as user participation and their interaction with these services.

With many cities choking with vehicle traffic, it is expected that reducing our reliance on private vehicles will alleviate congestion and noise, reduce the need for car parking places and improve air quality.  Sharing economy mobility services are now commonplace in Europe, USA, Asia and now Australia.

The Greening Inner-urban Travel research program has been designed in response to, and with the support of, the SA Government, the Adelaide City Council and local industry. This program will develop the evidence base necessary to facilitate the transition to lower transport carbon emissions in inner-urban precincts.

The University of South Australia’s research partners for this study program are:

  • South Australian Government
  • Adelaide City Council
  • Swinburne University
  • GoGet Car Share
  • EcoCaddy
  • Bicycle SA
  • Conservation Council of SA

Research program

The Greening Inner-urban Travel research program is divided into four work packages:

Work Package 1: Barriers to the provision of sharing economy mobility services

This work package will focus on:

  • the barriers and enablers in adopting transport share services
  • bridging the first- and last-mile connectivity gap to public transit systems
  • integration with the existing transport infrastructure
  • provision of supporting infrastructure to encourage the uptake of sharing services such as the development of electric vehicle charging stations
  • regulatory, legal and policy development around sharing economy mobility services

To understand the range and impact of barriers in the sharing economy, the study will reach out to:

  • policy makers
  • service providers
  • lobby groups, and
  • community organisations.

First- and last-mile connectivity gap

The first- and last-mile connection describes the beginning or end of an individual trip which has been made primarily by public transportation.  Many people will walk to catch public transport if it is close enough, however in many cases public transport is difficult, inconvenient or impossible to access on foot.

This study will investigate whether sharing economy mobility services can help bridge the gap to an accessible public transport network.  An efficient sharing economy can extend the catchment area of public transportation, encouraging multimodality for first- and last-mile trips rather than private vehicle travel.  Shared mobility has the ability to provide an alternative to feeder bus services and car parking.

Task Leader: Dr Sekhar Somenahalli, School of Natural and Built Environments
Research Assistant: Dr Li Meng, School of Natural and Built Environments

Work Package 2: Servicing the needs of major trip generators

This work package aims to determine:

  • the benefits associated with the provision of sharing economy mobility services in Australian cities and
  • their role in meeting the needs of different types of major trip generators.

Particular events and activity types are major trip generators and have a disproportionate impact on inner-urban mobility demand. Within the Carbon Neutral Adelaide district, major trip generators include:

  • hospitals
  • retail areas
  • universities
  • hotels
  • high density residential precincts
  • the Adelaide Convention centre
  • the business district
  • festivals
  • sporting events, and
  • restaurant strips.

Research will be based around data sourced from:

  • work and education commuting
  • pedestrian densities and flows
  • the taxi industry
  • CBD bus trips
  • GoGet car share
  • EcoCaddy, and
  • the Adelaide City Council’s share bike trial.

Locally sourced data will be supplemented with evidence from other Australian cities and international sources.

The data collected will form the basis to undertake detailed analysis of meeting inner-urban mobility demand. The data collected will ascertain:

  • travel patterns within the City of Adelaide
  • choice of travel mode/s
  • people’s propensity to use sharing economy mobility services, and
  • the potential for accommodating the infrastructure associated with shared mobility services.

Task Leader: Dr Andrew Allan, School of Art, Architecture and Design
Research Assistant: Dr Ali Soltani, School of Art, Architecture and Design

Work Package 3: Mapping demand for sharing economy mobility services

This package will map how future mobility and demand will be shaped as share car and bike schemes continue to grow in the mainstream market, producing a new generation of sharing literate consumers. It will also look at spill-over categories that will benefit from increased mobility sharing.

With the rise in both bike and car share offerings and the current low adoption levels, comes the need to understand the new patterns of consumer behaviour. This study aims to address the following questions.

  • How do share mobility innovations diffuse through the population?
  • Who are the early adopters?
  • How can the market be meaningfully segmented?
  • What are the triggers and barriers to consumers entering the share mobility market?
  • What messages are needed to encourage trial and reduce perceived risk?
  • How can shared mobility options transform choices in the inner city precinct where commutes are shorter and speeds slower relative to a suburban setting?

To answer these questions the study will adopt the Trans Theoretical Model that relates behaviour change to:

  • thoughts
  • emotions
  • needs
  • self-efficacy
  • awareness
  • personal norms
  • social support
  • stimulus control and reinforcement
  • motivation or readiness to change, and
  • behaviour.

The application of this model will help to explain behaviour and guide strategies to encourage change in people who are not motivated, as well those who are already motivated to alter a current behaviour.

Task Leader: Associate Professor Anne Sharp, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science
Research Assistant: Dr Sandra Davison, Business School

Work Package 4: Quantifying the economic and carbon abatement impact

This work package will draw on the findings from work packages 1, 2 & 3 to quantify the carbon abatement potential due to greater commercial provision and user participation in sharing economy mobility services.  The Carbon Neutral Adelaide region will be used as a case study to highlight the abatement potential for other similar inner-urban regions.

Task Leader: Professor John Boland, School of Information Technology and Mathematics
Research Assistant: Mr Charles Ling, School of Information Technology and Mathematics

Industry Engagement

The project incorporates a substantial program of engagement with policy makers, service providers, lobby groups, end-users and community organisations, plus major stakeholder workshops on the role of sharing economy mobility services. The engagement program is designed to ensure that the work packages incorporate inputs from all stakeholders, and that the research learnings inform policy decisions.

Areas of study and research

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