As technical limitations are not anymore the main obstacle for successful urban micro-transit operation, further development has to focus on evaluating a range of potential challenges, providing lessons for policy and service development, including organisation of piloting activities. Contrastingly, few studies had employed detailed empirical data with trip and user properties to evaluate flexible micro-transit services in urban environments. This research focuses on evaluating the Kutsuplus, Helsinki Metropolitan Region (HMR) on-demand micro-transit pilot. Previous research on Kutsuplus has focused on evaluating financing and pricing policy, and users' and non-users' perceptions about the implemented service. This research develops a multidimensional evaluation framework, focused on the analysis of completed user journeys, accounting for Kutsuplus operating area, timing, and pricing scheme. Thus, this framework uses 82,290 completed Kutsuplus journeys, combined with routing, HMR travel demand data and pricing modelling. Results indicate that demand for Kutsuplus has been increasing over time, with low average vehicle occupancy, and low wait time after journey offer acceptance. Hourly demand pattern for Kutsuplus had a similar shape to the demand patter for fixed public transport, with small differences in peak time start and duration. Spatial demand had more orbital than radial direction, more versatile directional demand, focus on the western side of service area, and business-related locations in general. Most of the users were age 30 to 65, with younger or older users having also distinct trip characteristics. Kutsuplus was on par with private car for shorter journeys, but could also lead to undesired replacement of walking and cycling trips. Kutsuplus pricing was between public transport and UberPOP. With these and other results, the multidimensional evaluation framework provides a range of implications for user-centric service design, underpinned with an understanding of interdependencies between operating scheme, service pricing, and service level provided by other transport modes. Finally, we provide recommendations for further analysis of micro-transit journey data, raising implications for data collection practices in the future micro-transit pilots, and for further directions in developing our understanding of emerging mobility-on-demand services.
- Automated demand responsive transport, Paratransit, Ridesharing, Ridesourcing, Transportation network company, Multimodal integration, Mobility-as-a-Service