Mobility Energy Productivity Evaluation of On-Demand Transit: A Case Study in Arlington, Texas

Bonnie Powell, Sailesh Acharya, Ruqayya Zakaria, Rick Grahn, Alejandro Henao, Stanley Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On-demand transit (ODT) systems are increasing in number and size. To evaluate and quantify outcomes, the research team utilizes the mobility energy productivity (MEP) metric, which is a holistic accessibility measure, to analyze and compare the mobility of various transportation modes in Arlington, Texas. The MEP tool is applied to the ODT system in Arlington, Texas, as well as to five existing transportation modes (driving, transportation network company, transit, biking, and walking). Six ODT scenarios are also analyzed and compared. The analysis is focused on the opportunities that an ODT system presents for transportation disadvantaged communities (DACs) with low rates of car ownership. Although driving received the highest MEP score - a finding typical for a U.S.A. city - the results for the ODT system reveal that it serves those in DACs effectively, helping to achieve an equity design goal. ODT improved the average MEP score across the service area by 83% when considering only accessible, nonprivate vehicle modes (biking, transit, and ODT). For the ODT scenarios, decreasing the wait time by 50% compared with the baseline scenario led to a nearly 160% increase in the MEP score, whereas increasing the ODT travel speed by 21% led to an 80% improvement in the MEP score. As analyzed through the MEP tool, this paper demonstrates how ODT can enhance mobility, particularly for DACs. The results of an MEP analysis can be used by researchers and transit agencies to compare transportation modes and improve the effectiveness of transportation systems across a service area.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5R00-87490


  • bus
  • demand responsive service
  • mobility energy productivity
  • on-demand transit
  • public transportation
  • sustainability
  • transportation equity


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