Optimizing ADA Paratransit Operations with Taxi and Ride Share Programs

Rising ridership on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services, such as MBTA’s The Ride, pose a challenge due to the high costs of operating this required service. The objective of this project is to optimize programs to serve some paratransit trips by taxi or other mobility service in order to minimize system cost. The benefits to MBTA will be to lower the cost of providing service in order to be better positioned for expected continued increases in ridership. The challenge of managing a system of demand-responsive transportation services for people with disabilities is that the operation of the system depends on the demand-side considerations related to traveler behavior and supply-side considerations related to the system structure and costs. Starting with limited participation in September 2016 and expanded to all eligible ADA paratransit service “The Ride” customers on March 1, 2017, a pilot program now allows eligible customers to use taxicabs, Uber, or Lyft for a subsidized trip in addition to conventional ADA paratransit service from The Ride. This research project will seek to evaluate the effects on demand, supply and optimal service provision of this new service. The goal is to provide insights about how the operation and use of the system is changing under the pilot program and then to provide guidance about how to manage a multimodal ADA program that provides users with a greater range of choices than they have had in the past. Although the scope is tied closely to analysis of the MBTA system, the insights are likely to have implications for the ADA paratransit systems elsewhere in Massachusetts.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $100000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Federal Highway Administration

      Massachusetts Division
      55 Broadway, 10th Floor
      Cambridge, Massachusetts  United States  02142
    • Managing Organizations:

      Massachusetts Department of Transportation

      10 Park Plaza
      Boston, MA  United States  02116
    • Project Managers:

      Zavolas, Nicholas

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Massachusetts, Amherst

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      130 Natural Resources Road
      Amherst, MA  United States  01003
    • Principal Investigators:

      Gonzales, Eric

    • Start Date: 20180101
    • Expected Completion Date: 20190530
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: Research and Development

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01688706
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Massachusetts Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 100621
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Dec 17 2018 3:56PM