Approximately four billion people currently live in urban environments around the world—a figure that is only expected to increase in the coming decades. While cities develop new transportation systems to support their current population and anticipated growth, many gaps exist in the transportation ecosystem. In the past few years, the sharing economy, or shared mobility, has grown to address these gaps, including the rise of bikesharing, carsharing and on-demand ride services.
Today, these “shared mobility” services connect many people to their destinations, while others—namely, low-income communities of color—have often been left behind. And there is growing public recognition that we cannot be satisfied with the status-quo. As a result, many planners and transportation professionals are attempting to understand what it takes to create more accessible transportation systems in an era of diminishing public resources and expanding private transportation services. And like many complex urban issues, no one system or policy will be the silver bullet. Rather, cities need to provide a range of progressive policies and transportation choices, both public and private, to limit barriers and provide an array of opportunities for safe, efficient and inclusive transportation.
In this blog, we share insights from a recent workshop that the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley hosted with the architecture and planning firm Perkins + Will. At the workshop, “Crossing the Digital and Income Divide: Making Mobility Innovations Accessible to All,” we featured an all-star panel of experts from the San Francisco Bay Area and explored the role of data, empathy, policy and funding to provide mobility services in low-income communities.
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