Community Public Mobility Using On-Demand, Low-Speed Electric Vehicles: A Case Study in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri

Johnny Esteban, Rick Grahn, Bonnie Powell, Stanley Young

Research output: NRELPoster


Legacy fixed route transit systems designed to serve commuters struggle to provide efficient and effective service for short neighborhood trips and for population groups unable to access and egress transit stops using active modes (e.g., elderly, disabled). Neighborhood on-demand transit (ODT) services using low-speed electric vehicles (LSEV) are an innovative technological solution that can help fill this gap in service (e.g., short, high-frequency trips) for diverse populations and trip types. This study evaluated user characteristics and travel behavior for a neighborhood ODT service (using LSEVs) in downtown St. Louis, Missouri using responses from a community survey (n=244), ridership data, and vehicle trajectory information. A comparative analysis between neighborhood ODT, fixed route transit, and transportation network companies (TNC) was also conducted from the perspectives of total travel time, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, the goal of the analysis was to motivate and inform holistic public mobility systems where different services are optimized to meet specific community needs. Findings indicate that the neighborhood ODT was effective at reaching diverse populations (elderly (20%), lower income (27%), and households with limited access to private vehicles (34%)). ODT reduced total travel time by 32% compared to fixed route transit, produced 2.4 - 4.3 times less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile (compared to transit and TNCs), and was more affordable (free to users) than alternative options ($1 for transit, $10-12 for TNCs). Overall satisfaction rates were high, with 80% of respondents rating the service a 4 or 5 out of 5.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePresented at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 103rd Annual Meeting, 7-11 January 2024, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5400-88265


  • low speed electric vehicles
  • micro-mobility
  • on-demand transit
  • urban mobility


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