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xTransit - Building Blocks

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  • Eric Britton
    See Http://www.xtransit.newmobility.org for details. This summary is presented here for your information and as work in progress. I invite your comments and
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2008

      See Http://www.xtransit.newmobility.org for details. This summary is presented here for your information and as work in progress. I invite your comments and suggestions for improvement.


      Small diagram to illustrate principles here? Your suggestions?


      xTransit Building Blocks


      What we call xTransit or paratransit is a series of shared transportation service arrangements  - not private cars, not public transport  - that have cropped up over  the years  in many places in many forms.  If you click here, for example, you will see not far from one hundred  different system types and names.  It is a rich area of transportation practice, innovation and adaptation, though it is also one that is in general poorly defined and understood both in actual practice and in the transport lexicon more generally. In most cases historically  xTransit just happens: it crops up as a make-do seat-of-the-pants solution to people’s felt requirements to find ways to get around.


      There are seven main “vectors” which shape xTransit systems when you get down to the details:


      1. Vehicle
      2. Ride
      3. Access
      4. Technology
      5. Finance
      6. Subsidies
      7. Infrastructure

      Vehicle: The sharing of the vehicle can be done either simultaneously (think, parallel access ) – such as the case with group ride taxis, car/vanpools, hitchhiking and the like. Or it can be handled temporally (i.e., serial access) – as is the case with carsharing and bike sharing where the vehicle is used and then made available to others in the organized group.


      Ride: The ride can be shared either by organized closed groups  (carpools and vanpools).  Or can be open: taxi sharing, hitchhiking, slugging.


      Access:  Pre-arranged: semi fixed (car, van pools).  Dynamic: based on hailing (the various taxi type system, slugging, hitchhiking.  Group access: as with carsharing and bike sharing.


      Technology:  Historically xTransit and its many varieties had no more technology content beyond that of the vehicle itself. In the late sixties we began to see more technological content for organization, dispatching and routing – but in general and especially in comparison with what is currently available, these were quite rudimentary and did not suffice for either high quality or economically viable services. Smart ParaTransit however takes this into entirely new dimensions, building directly on the two decades of innovative and largely successful operating experience with computerized taxi dispatch systems and high-technology package delivery services such as those offered by Federal Express and DHL, among many others.. .


      Finance: How the services are paid for?  No payment: casual hitchhiking,  much informal ride-sharing. Agreed hand-to-hand fares, no subsidies (shared taxis in all their varieties). Fixed price/cost sharing (car, vanpools, slugging, traditional taxis). Service packages (as with carsharing and bike sharing programs).  Dynamic, automated: Smart ParaTransit will automatically bill your credit card based on pre-agreed rates.


      Subsidies: Traditionally  xTransit systems were not subsidized. Starting in the seventies however as they began to serve specific and generally underserved groups, such as the elderly and handicapped, more complex subsidy arrangements started to be developed so as to provide needed survives to these groups at prices they could afford. Looking to the future, there is great scope for improving our understanding of how wise subsidies can be built into these systems


      Infrastructure: If you look at the history of these systems they were pretty much obliged to get along as “last among equals”, thereby having access to the street system quite as any other private vehicle but with no provision for their special public role and requirements (pick up facilities, parking, etc.) Gradually over the last decade, we are seeing some of the pool services and more recently carsharing and bike sharing as starting to gain more appropriate access given their public functions. And w can anticipate that this is going to be a very important vector of their future success. They are going to need this level of privileged access if they are to play their full role as sustainable transportation. 





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