Highlights & Lessons Learned For Practitioners
- Prioritize equitable selection alongside mode shift goals. In response to inequities that became prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, staff elected to select a representative sample of 500 participants by race and household income (according to U.S. Census data), rather than distributing funds on a first-come first-serve basis. Engage both existing transit/shared mobility riders and vehicle owners to prompt both mode shift to sustainable options while preserving and rewarding existing riders.
- Work through existing community channels. Consider partnering with libraries, community-based organizations, community events and meetings, key stakeholders, and other trusted voices in the project area. Staff contacted over 30 organizations throughout this pilot. Seek your partners' input in the program design phase -- don't wait until implementation.
- Include technology needs in participation requirements when possible. In addition to providing surveys and project materials in the appropriate language(s), provide the technology and support necessary (when possible) to access and partake in the project. For example, if you have to take a survey to be considered for the program, have a tablet available when tabling and talking with prospective participants. Be prepared to "maneuver" the surveys for individuals by asking the questions aloud and clicking for them.
- Fund distribution method matters. Staff encountered many challenges with mailing prepaid debit cards directly to program participants that ultimately required that cards be replaced, resulting in a lower participation rate than anticipated. About 30% of participants' prepaid cards were ultimately activated in this pilot. In a future program iteration, staff will carefully consider alternative distribution options, such as in-person pick-up locations and times throughout the project area.