Denton Transportation Authority Expands Options via Mobility as a Service Model

From scooters to ridesharing to autonomous vehicles, DCTA is combining services from 31 public and private transportation providers in the communities it serves.

Mobility as a Service

When it comes to getting around town, it’s good to have options. Well, the Denton County Transportation Authority has expanded its transit offerings with a new Mobility as a Service (MaaS) contract model. 

Think of it as DCTA becoming a “broker of services” for customized mobility solutions—both from public and private services—in the communities it serves, some of which have limited mobility options.

In April, the Authority’s board approved a new suite of on-call contracts that will permit DCTA to allocate up to $2.4 million of its annual operating budget to offer a variety of mobility services through task orders.

“With our new MaaS contract in place, DCTA can add more value to the North Texas region by offering personal mobility options that are specifically tailored to each community we serve,” CEO Raymond Suarez said in a statement. “This contract model puts us in a great position to supplement our existing transit services and prepare for future mobility technologies for potential implementation.”

DCTA’s Mobility as a Service model is available to other agencies

DCTA’s MaaS contract model is one of the first in the nation that is available to public agencies such as cities, districts, public authorities, public agencies, municipalities, and other political sub-divisions or public corporations in Texas, as well as transportation organizations across the nation as allowed by Texas law.

MaaS is business model that uses on-demand, real-time platform-based services. It can include such mobility options as car and bike sharing, taxis, and driverless vehicles while providing a seamless customer experience, from integrated travel planning to paying the fare.

DCTA issued a request for proposals in January seeking proposals from firms to provide innovative options for flexible, efficient, and effective mobility services, according to a release. 

mobility as a service

Drive.ai is one of the services in the DCTA’s mobility as a service model. [Photo Courtesy Drive.ai]

DCTA said the services would enhance and supplement its existing transit offerings and provide service to areas where traditional transportation options aren’t as effective.

The authority said that a total of 37 firms responded to its RFP, and 31 were chosen that specialize in a variety of mobility solutions such as bike sharing, integrated fare payment and collection, autonomous vehicles, and other offerings.

The firms selected for Mobility as a Service contracts include: AJL International, Bird Rides Inc., Bubbl Investments, Dashboard Story (DUET), DemandTrans Solutions, DoubleMap, Downtowner Holdings, Drive.ai, First Transit, Ford Smart Mobility, Irving Holdings, Iteris, Kapsch TrafficCom USA, Lyft, Moovel North American, Moovit, Muve: Quebec, MV Transportation, Passport Labs, Quebec Inc (Transit), RideCo, Rideshark, River North Transit (subsidiary of Via), Roundtrip, Routematch Software, SeatsX, Spare Labs, Spare Labs with First Transit, Token Transit, Transdev North America, and Transloc.

DCTA’s contract model provides the vendor community with the ability to work with multiple cities across the country with no additional cost of procurement, DCTA said.

The announcement caught the eye of other entities in North Texas involved in transportation issue.

“The North Central Texas Council of Governments applauds DCTA’s leadership for its MaaS initiative as it will help address the region’s transportation challenges and assist in bridging first/last mile connections,” Shannon Stevenson, program manager, transit operations for the North Central Texas Council of Governments told Dallas Innovates.

With new firms and evolving technologies available for use by a public transportation authority, DCTA may issue a new solicitation in the future to select additional firms or contractor teams. Firms or contractor teams already under contract would not be required to submit a new proposal.  

The Denton County Transportation Authority’s central element is the A-train, which connects with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Green Line at Trinity Mills in Carrollton and provides service to five stations within Denton County.

DCTA was formed in 2002 and funded in 2003, the agency carries nearly 3 million passengers a year system-wide.  

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