Urban Mobility is Hitting its Stride
Few people know more about urban mobility than Susan Shaheen. The Cal-Berkeley professor of transportation engineering is one of the nation’s preeminent researchers of bike sharing, car sharing, and smart parking. Real Business caught up with Shaheen at ITS to chat about how modern cities are evolving.
How has urban mobility come along over the past decade?
Shaheen: We’re moving into an era of smart cities where [planners] are thinking about how to move people more efficiently throughout cities through classic public transit, like buses and rail, but also other forms of mobility that are new, like bike sharing and car sharing. There’s a growing emphasis on quality of life, and we’re trying to figure out how people can live densely but also increase their life quality. And we’re also seeing people gravitating more toward urban living. The smartphone has been a player in all of this, as has the economic recession of 2008 an 2009.
How are millennials impacting this change?
Shaheen: Auto sales are not as high among younger adults and millennials as we’d seen previously. There’s a desire among millennial populations to multitask. They want to be connected all the time and they’re not as interested in driving. Being connected also means riding in a public transit vehicle. So we’re seeing people wanting an urban lifestyle and trying to figure out how to make that work, even with families.
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