Uber, Bike-Share and More Are Factors in Tomorrow’s Transit Agency

Uber, Bike-Share and More Are Factors in Tomorrow’s Transit Agency

BY JOSH COHEN SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 In St. Petersburg, Florida — a city of about 257,000 residents sitting on the Gulf Coast next to Tampa — people have just a few options for getting around town. They can, of course, drive personal cars, walk or bike; catch a bus operated by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA); or hire taxis and Ubers. From February to August this year, the last mode choice on that list was likely the cheapest, most efficient option for accessing the bus. In an effort to encourage transit ridership and alleviate the impact of service cuts brought on by budget woes, PSTA was subsidizing 50 percent of the cost of taking rides with Uber, United Taxi (the local cab company) or Care Ride (a paratransit service) if those rides were connecting to the bus. That sort of partnership between public transit agency and ride-hailing company isn’t yet common, but examples are popping up around the country as cash-strapped municipalities look for ways to supplement their bus and rail routes and better serve low-density areas with so-so transit ridership. Those in favor of the arrangement say taking advantage of new technologies and service providers is a win-win for forward-looking transit agencies. Skeptics caution that the things that make companies such as Uber and Lyft profitable are incompatible with transit agencies’ obligation to provide quality, convenient, equitable service. To read the full article, visit:...
City of the future is closer, calmer than you think

City of the future is closer, calmer than you think

Marco della Cava, 12:28 p.m. EST November 13, 2015 SAN FRANCISCO – The city of the future has had countless fantasy blueprints, from The Jetsons’ pleasant hive of automated efficiency to Blade Runner’s dystopian tangle of urban chaos. But the reality is the city of future is closer than you think, as tech companies and automakers floor the pedal on projects ranging from cars that drive themselves to apps that aggregate transportation options. Conversations with mobility experts here and abroad paint a picture of an urban revolution that is already underway in a patchwork of cities from Seattle to Stockholm. “The main thing with automated and connected tech is to make sure it’s reliable first,” says Chris Hendrickson, director of the Traffic21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. “But the opportunities for change are impressive.” To read the rest of the story,...

Shared Mobility: Definitions, Industry Developments, and Early Understanding

Authors: Susan Shaheen, Nelson Chan, Apaar Bansal, Adam Cohen Date Published: November 3rd, 2015 Abstract: Shared mobility – the shared use of a vehicle, bicycle, or other mode – is an innovative transportation strategy that enables users to gain short-term access to transportation modes on an “as-needed” basis. The term shared mobility includes various forms of carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling), and on-demand ride services. It can also include alternative transit services, such as paratransit, shuttles, and private transit services, called microtransit, which can supplement fixed-route bus and rail services. With many new options for mobility emerging, so have the smartphone “apps” that aggregate these options and optimize routes for travelers. In addition to innovative travel modes, new ways of transporting and delivering goods have emerged. These “courier network services” have the potential to change the nature of the package and food delivery industry. Shared mobility has had a transformative impact on many global cities by enhancing transportation accessibility, while simultaneously reducing driving and personal vehicle ownership. A number of environmental, social, and transportation-related benefits have been reported due to the use of various shared mobility modes. Several studies have documented the reduction of vehicle usage, ownership, and vehicle miles or kilometers traveled (VMT/VKT). More research is needed, nevertheless, to further understand impacts on a city and regional level and across the wide range of shared mobility modes. Shared mobility could also extend the catchment area of public transit, potentially playing a pivotal role in bridging gaps in existing transportation networks and encouraging multi-modality by addressing the first-and-last mile issue related to public transit access. Furthermore, shared mobility...
Five Steps for Growing Accessible and Inclusive Transportation Systems

Five Steps for Growing Accessible and Inclusive Transportation Systems

There is a growing recognition in the urban transportation field that systems must be more inclusive of low-income communities of color. Our research at UC Berkeley suggests five steps for building accessible systems. At UC Berkeley, we’ve learned from a range of city leaders and planners who are working at the cutting edge of accessible transportation development. In our last blog, we explained why there is no silver bullet for creating more inclusive transportation systems. Instead, cities need to support an assortment of policies and mobility options to meet a diverse range of trip types and be inclusive of the unique needs of low-income communities. Synthesizing lessons from organizations, like the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, Greenlining Institute and City CarShare, we developed a list of five steps that city leaders should consider when designing accessible and inclusive transportation systems in their cities: To read more, click...
No Silver Bullet for Creating More Accessible Transportation Networks

No Silver Bullet for Creating More Accessible Transportation Networks

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. To read more, click...