Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Shared-Use Transportation and Social Enterprise Theory

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 9:10 AM
Grenada (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Lauren N McCarthy, George Mason University
The concept of a shared economy has been on the rise in recent years.  The internet has ushered in an age of shared content. Peer-to-peer connections, prevalent in the transportation sector through ride-share concepts have grown substantially. Companies such as UBER, Zipcar, Bikeshare, Bikestation, NuCar, Car2Go, and others have taken advantage of this shift in consumer preferences toward ‘renting’ or ‘sharing’ for the purpose of transportation, as well as two way communication between users and providers. Changing attitudes and consumer demand  impact policy decisions to allow these companies to operate legally and are impacting decisions of allocating public goods. Proposals of complete street models, bicycle lanes, parking spaces for shared-use cars are becoming increasingly hot-button issues for local government. Their future impact on government policies cannot be ignored as changing attitudes of the Millennial generation are impacting what they demand from government and business.

The shared-use business structure of companies existing within the transportation sector builds upon empirical data of commuter trends recorded by the American Community Survey and National Household Travel Survey. Bicycles have become an increasingly important means of transportation with 11.5 percent of personal trips utilizing walking or biking as a mode of transportation. Government has long been the steward of public goods and socially minded services. Since the introduction of Capital Bikeshare and Uber in the Washington DC region commuting patterns have been changing. An OLS model is employed to utilize the introduction of Capital Bikeshare. Controlling for density, average income, number of stations, and average age within the different regions this paper examines the impact of the introduction of a Public-Private Partnership with local government agencies, on commuting trends and the use of public transportation. The dependent variable is the ratio of Metro Estimated Annual Boardings to Capital Bikeshare Annual Departures. It is hypothesized that Bikeshare ridership has a negative impact on Metro ridership.

These shared-use businesses fit some of the characteristics of social enterprises. This paper focuses on shared-use businesses in the transportation sector in the Washington DC region, specifically Arlington County and City of Alexandria, VA, to answer the question of how do these shared-use companies impact regulatory and public investment strategies in the region. These businesses appear to benefit society by reducing congestion, mitigating environmental hazards, providing ‘social satisfaction’ to the user, increasing job opportunities and providing health benefits. Governments are slowly allowing shared-use businesses to operate legally but there are many concerns of allocating public space, encroaching on public services, and integrating into policies of public infrastructure that need to be considered. Expansion of this business structure into tax codes, contract law, healthcare and education are all targets of these shared-use socially beneficial enterprises. This paper evaluates, through literature review, economic modeling and case study, existing social enterprise theory and how the shared-use structure fits into the overall existing framework. Through examination of the current theory and current conditions, extensions are made to expand social enterprise theory to these shared-use businesses and areas of potential impact on government policies.