Google partnered with Via to launch an on-demand microtransit called Via2G between January and March 2020. The pilot provided employees with free travel to/from two of its offices in suburban, congested Silicon Valley. While the pilot was cut short due to COVID-19, rider participation grew steadily during operation. Of trip requests, 8,636 (87.8%) resulted in a ride offer. Unfulfilled requests were primarily outside of pilot operating times or when rider demand exceeded driver supply. Most users (72%) completed at least two trips, although recurring users were less likely to complete errands on the commute and fewer had a car available for commuting compared to all surveyed Google employees. Prior to Via2G, two-thirds (66%) of survey respondents drove to work at least one day per week, while a plurality (42%) drove five days per week. Compared to non-participants, pilot users were more likely to take ride-hail (14 vs 22 percent) or the Google Bus (24 vs 30 percent) at least once a week prior to the pilot. Recommendations suggest iterations for Google or other centralized employers to consider in future microtransit programs.
Anne Brown is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon and researches issues of transportation equity, shared mobility, and travel behavior.
Alice Grossman holds a PhD in Transportation and is an expert in planning and evaluating new mobility interventions to increase mobility and accessibility through sustainable and equitable means.
Lucy Noble is the TDM Program Manager at Google, responsible for designing and implementing innovative commute solutions using behavioral science to reduce traffic congestion and parking demand.