The effect of mixed-mode transportation subsidies on mobility and employment

Last registered on August 03, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The effect of mixed-mode transportation subsidies on mobility and employment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009825
Initial registration date
July 29, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 03, 2022, 2:29 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Carnegie Mellon University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Carnegie Mellon University
PI Affiliation
Carnegie Mellon University

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-09-01
End date
2024-09-01
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This experiment will estimate the impact of access to an array of subsidized transportation options on individual mobility, employment, and other socioeconomic outcomes. The study sample will consist of 100 low-income working-age residents of the Manchester/Chateau neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Study participants will be randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. The treatment group will receive the following transportation subsidies for 12 months:

- An unlimited public transportation pass
- Five 30-minute rides per day on the Spin electric scooter platform
- Unlimited 30-minute rides on POGOH, Pittsburgh's bikeshare platform
- A Zipcar membership with $60 monthly credit

The control group will not receive any transportation subsidies beyond what they usually receive outside of the study. Primary study outcomes include earnings and labor supply, measures of spatial mobility, and receipt of public benefits.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Branstetter, Lee, Seth Chizeck and Beibei Li. 2022. "The effect of mixed-mode transportation subsidies on mobility and employment." AEA RCT Registry. August 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9825
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Study subjects will be randomly assigned with equal probability to one of two conditions. The treatment group will receive the following transportation subsidies for 12 months:

- An unlimited public transportation pass
- Five 30-minute rides per day on the Spin electric scooter platform
- Unlimited 30-minute rides on POGOH, Pittsburgh's bikeshare platform
- A Zipcar membership with $60 monthly credit

The control group will not receive any transportation subsidies beyond what they usually receive outside of the study.

Subjects in both groups will be asked to download a smartphone app that contains a transit trip planning tool, as well as a link to the Pennsylvania Career Link website, which contains information on career services and job search resources. This app will also collect geolocation data from the subject's phone. We will ask participants to delete this app when their 12-month study period has elapsed.
Intervention Start Date
2022-09-01
Intervention End Date
2023-09-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Self-reported employment outcomes:

- Employment status in the past four weeks
- Number of weeks worked in the past four weeks
- Number of hours worked per week in the past four weeks
- Hourly wage in the past four weeks
- Time spent commuting to work
- Expenditures on transportation

Self-reported transportation outcomes:

- Total time spent commuting on days worked last week
- Total daily commuting expenditures on days worked last week
- Total transportation expenditures for the subject's entire family last week
- Mode of commuting during previous four weeks (e.g. walk, bike, bus, car, Uber)

Outcomes from Pennsylvania unemployment insurance administrative earnings records:

- Employment status in calendar quarter
- Total earnings in calendar quarter
- Total unemployment benefits in calendar quarter

Mobility outcomes measured from subject's mobile phone GPS data:

- Daily distance traveled - measured as the sum total of distance between two consecutive GPS location traces for a subject in a day
- Daily maximum distance from home - measured as the distance between home location and the farthest location visited by a subject in a day
- Daily radius of gyration - measured as the radius of all the locations visited (with the home location as the center) by a subject in a day
- Daily unique number of locations visited - measured as the total number of unique locations visited by a subject in a day
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The purpose of the study is to evaluate the impact of access to an array of subsidized transportation options on individual mobility, employment, and other socioeconomic outcomes.
We will recruit 100 study participants from the Manchester and Chateau neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

To be included in the study, subjects must meet the following criteria:
- Lack regular access to a car
- Age 18 through 50
- Are seeking a job, interested in finding a better job, or hoping to work more hours
- Have a smartphone
- Have a phone plan that allows their phone to send and receive data over the internet
- Are willing to download mobile apps onto their phone for the study
- Are a resident of the Manchester or Chateau neighborhood of Pittsburgh
- Are not a teleworker, meaning they do not work from home
- Are receiving some government-funded social assistance, such as housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, Unemployment Insurance, or SSI
- If placed in the experimental group and want to be eligible to receive the free ride credits, are willing and able to sign up for accounts with the relevant transportation providers by September 9, 2022.
- If placed in the experimental group and want to be eligible to receive the free ride credits, have a valid driver’s license and credit/debit card, if needed, to sign up for accounts and/or use certain transportation services.

Subjects will enroll in the study via a website. They will first complete a baseline survey to determine their eligibility. Eligible applicants will then provide informed consent, followed by randomization into treatment or control group. The treatment group will then receive the intervention described above.
The treatment group’s access to the intervention will be conditional on transmitting GPS data to the researchers via the smartphone app. Treatment group subjects who fail to transmit GPS data for a sustained period of time will be suspended from receiving the intervention.
We will collect several forms of outcome data for both the treatment and control groups:
- Follow-up surveys at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 24 months after random assignment.
- GPS location data from subject’s phones every 8 to 15 minutes for 12 months
- Information on subjects’ use of the Spin scooter platform, the POGOH bikesharing platform, and the Zipcar car sharing platform, including:
o Length of ride
o Dollar among of ride
o Start and end locations of the ride
- Administrative records from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, including:
o Receipt of Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, SSI, child care subsidies, and housing subsidies
o Pennsylvania unemployment insurance quarterly earnings records
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
100 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
100 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 individuals control, 50 individuals treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number