PSR Research: Improving access to the Davis Amtrak station

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February 16, 2022

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The Davis Amtrak station is too popular for its own good. Attracting the third-most riders of any station on the popular Capitol Corridor Amtrak line, the ridership from the station — prior to the pandemic, at least — was steadily increasing. Unfortunately, the parking lot — which is, at present, free to park at — fills up at 6 a.m., leaving many residents out of luck when it comes to accessing the train station. In response to these accessibility issues, the city of Davis is developing a shared use mobility pilot program to deploy at the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot program will test three options for getting to the station: a carpool program, free ride-hail, or a free downtown shuttle. In “Davis Amtrak Station Pilot Project Evaluation: Informing Long-Term Solutions to the Davis Amtrak Station Access Barriers,” Susan Pike of UC Davis surveyed hundreds of Davis residents to assess their appetite for each of the pilot suggestions.

While just 11% of respondents indicated interest in a traditional carpool program, the majority of those surveyed expressed that they’d take a free ride-hail (such as Uber or Lyft) or a free shuttle. There was particular interest in the free ride-hail option: 61% of respondents considered it either “likely” or “very likely” that they’d take advantage of such a program. 

These results suggest there is an opportunity for the Capitol Corridor to increase its ridership with these pilot programs, providing a valuable opportunity to reduce vehicle miles and emissions in the Davis area.

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This research was supported by the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center, the Region 9 University Transportation Center funded under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers Program. Established in 2016, the Pacific Southwest Region UTC is led by the University of Southern California and includes seven partners: Long Beach State University; UC Davis; UC Irvine; UCLA; University of Hawaii; Northern Arizona University; Pima Community College.

PSR conducts an integrated, multidisciplinary program of research, education and technology transfer aimed at improving the mobility of people and goods throughout the region. Its program is organized around four themes: 1) technology to address transportation problems and improve mobility; 2) improving mobility for vulnerable populations; 3) improving resilience and protecting the environment; and 4) managing mobility in high growth areas.


Transfers Staff

Transfers Magazine is the biannual research publication of the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR), a federally-funded network of eight partner campuses in Arizona, California, and Hawaii.