Valley Metro, the regional provider of bus, rail and Dial-a-Ride services, received a
$1 million Mobility on Demand (MOD) project grant from the FTA to develop a mobile app that will integrate mobile ticketing and multi-modal trip planning information.
The agency is partnering with RouteMatch Software, transit industry technology provider, as well as Arizona State University (ASU), Lyft and the city of Phoenix Public Transit Department to create the passenger-based app.
“It’s exciting to receive a nationally-competitive grant, which serves as seed money to build upon our Ridekick™ app that can eventually be shared with transit agencies across the U.S.,” said Scott Smith, Valley Metro Interim CEO. “Alongside our mobility platform partners, we’ll be adding features such as real-time information, fare purchasing and an optimized trip planner.”
Valley Metro will use an open data platform design to allow other public transportation agencies to use the application, adjusting it to meet the needs of their respective service areas.
Seeking to bridge the gap between public transportation systems and app-based transportation companies (e.g. Lyft, Uber), the mobile app will create a seamless and efficient travel experience for riders. Within the next 12 months, the features of the app will be completed in two phases beginning with enhancements to Valley Metro’s current app, Ridekick.
Phase I will include mobile ticket purchasing and links to the mobile applications for Lyft and GR:D Bike Share reservations. Users will be able to purchase transit fare, as well as reserve a GR:D bike using a single payment method, then transition to the Lyft mobile app for a reservation allowing a rider to complete their transit trip. In addition, Wi-Fi and beacon technology between the ASU campuses in Tempe and Phoenix will allow for seamless fare validation and added safety features, such as incident reporting.
Phase II will build upon those features to include real-time data alerts of bus and light rail arrivals, on-demand reservation and cancellation of paratransit trips, and single fare payment capabilities for transit, bikeshare and ridesharing companies.
RouteMatch is serving as a key partner to both co-develop and contribute in-kind technologies for the creation of the platform. Included in this are beacon technologies for Valley Metro’s light rail and bus systems and on demand paratransit trip management technologies to facilitate mobility among riders with disabilities, especially among the visually and hearing impaired. The city of Phoenix Department of Transportation will provide the core data for vehicles, routes, and fare collection, and ASU will lead safety and security and ASU shuttle coordination. Transportation network companies will additionally participate, providing “first mile, last mile” connections from transit hubs to riders’ final destinations.
The application will be free to download on all major mobile devices and users will have the ability to create personalized accounts suitable to their needs. A recent rider survey indicates that 65 percent of Valley Metro riders use smart phone devices.
The MOD program is a new U.S. Department of Transportation initiative led by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office and the FTA. MOD is an innovative, user-friendly approach that leverages emerging mobility services, integrated transit networks and operations and real-time data to allow for safe and informed mobility options.