Integrated Taxi and Transit Demonstration Project: Transportation for Low-Income Workers in Dane County, WI

​The Madison, WI region is adding more jobs than workers and currently faces a labor shortage. To address this challenge, in 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development launched the Commute to Careers program (CtC) to reduce transportation barriers for unemployed, low and moderate-income workers. In October 2018, Union Cab Cooperative of Madison—the largest taxi company in Madison—was awarded a CtC grant to develop an affordable shared ride taxi service. The objectives of the rideshare intervention were twofold: (1) economic development through more efficient, cost-effective use of the existing transportation system, and (2) better access to jobs and opportunities. Union Cab CtC began serving riders in December 2018. Preliminary data from a survey of riders shows that the program is reaching a population of low-income workers, but it needs to be scaled up to accomplish its goal of providing shared rides to a larger target population in a sustainable model. In response, Union Cab has proposed to coordinate its service with JobRide, a vanpool program operated by YWCA Madison. JobRide has a waitlist of riders who want to join the vanpool. By working together, Union Cab and JobRide could serve these riders on the waitlist and combine their models into a feeder and trunk route system that could prove more efficient and attract employer investment. However, this calls for an even greater need for robust program evaluation in order to assess the effectiveness of the individual and combined interventions at meeting their objectives. Thus, the research team proposes to conduct process and outcomes evaluations of the integrated demonstration project carried out by Union Cab and JobRide, which will advance CTEDD’s mission through an industry-community-university partnership that combines applied research, technology transfer, evaluation, outreach, and education. Through a rigorous investigation, the team will learn whether the integrated demonstration results in economic development through more efficient, cost-effective use of the existing transportation system, and better access to jobs and opportunities. This project represents a Level 7 Technology Readiness Level 1 approaching Level 8 because it is a prototype being demonstrated in an operational environment. ​