Chariot is Suspended in San Francisco, and the Transportation Biz is Still Hard

Chariot is Suspended in San Francisco, and the Transportation Biz is Still Hard

By: Aarian Marshall 10.21.17 Chariot, the Ford-owned van commuter service that crowdsources its routes from passengers, is the subject of some controversy in San Francisco, the city where it was born. For its 3,000 to 4,000 daily riders, Chariot is a valuable, non-personal-car form of mass transit, a cost-effective-ish alternative to the city’s sometimes sluggish and limited public transportation system (a rush hour ride is $5, compared to Muni’s $2.50). For others, the service’s vans are a straight-up nuisance: loudly idling near their homes, belching exhaust, double parking on already crowded streets, and hanging out stops meant for city buses. So it was with a mixture of joy and despair that San Franciscans greeted the news that Chariot had been suspended in California. (It also operates in Seattle, Austin, and New York.) Late Thursday afternoon, as rush hour bore down upon the City by the Bay, the California Public Utilities Commission yanked the service’s operating license. Chariot had failed three routine inspections by the California Highway Patrol, as officials found not all of its drivers had the right licenses to operate the company’s 14-person passenger vans. “We are committed to always providing our riders with safe and reliable service, and we comply with regulatory orders even when we disagree with them,” the company said in an email sent to riders. It’s likely Chariot will be back up and running in a few days, once it passes a re-inspection. According to California Highway Patrol spokesperson Jaime Coffee, the company requested a re-inspection on Thursday and the process began Friday morning. Assuming Chariot has nixed the drivers without proper licenses—or they’ve...
Planning for Shared Mobility: Incorporating Shared Modes into the Public Rights-of-Way

Planning for Shared Mobility: Incorporating Shared Modes into the Public Rights-of-Way

By: Susan Shaheen 11 October 2017 In recent years, a variety of social and economic forces coupled with advancements in technology have quickly given rise to shared mobility. Shared mobility—the shared use of a vehicle, bicycle, or other low-speed travel mode—is an innovative transportation strategy that enables users to have short-term access to a mode of transportation on an as-needed basis. Technological, mobility, and societal trends are having a transformative effect on cities. The growth of cloud computing, location-based services, mobile technologies, big data, and advanced algorithms are enabling the commodification of passenger mobility. The growth of shared mobility has become part of a trend that has pushed it from the fringe to the mainstream. Read the rest of the article...
Smart Cities and the Future of Transportation

Smart Cities and the Future of Transportation

By: Susan Shaheen, 16 August 2017 Generations of ecologists, urban planners, and engineers have undoubtedly been influenced by the events that shaped their lives. Today, we are confronted with an infrastructure and economic challenge of epic proportions. Across the globe, our cities suffer from poor air quality and worsening congestion that strangles our roads and highways; wastes time and diminishes the savings and expendable income of families; and adversely impacts quality of life. In recent years, technological, economic, and environmental forces have quickly given rise to “Smart Cities” – a collective of municipal public and private partnerships leveraging information and communications technology (ICT) to more intelligently and efficiently use resources with the goals of achieving energy and taxpayer savings, improving service delivery and quality of life, and reducing adverse environmental impacts – all supporting innovation, government efficiency, and environmental sustainability. While precise definitions of smart cities may vary, smart cities frequently use ICT to manage an ecosystem of civic resources including: transportation systems, telecommunications, utilities, health and human services, public safety, and other community services. In both Europe and the United States, the transport sector accounts for approximately one quarter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The European Commission estimates that more than 70% of transportation GHG-related emissions come from roadway users. To read the rest of the article,...
Car-Sharing Companies Hit Speed Bumps as Demand Slows, Ride-Hailing Grows

Car-Sharing Companies Hit Speed Bumps as Demand Slows, Ride-Hailing Grows

By Adrienne Roberts Updated July 14, 2017 2:33 p.m. ET America’s car-sharing industry is struggling as some major operators scale back because of weak demand in certain cities, vandalism and competition from ride-hailing services like Uber. Enterprise Holdings Inc.’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car closed its CarShare membership service in six major cities in recent weeks, following similar moves by other providers. To read the full story, visit:...
Mobile Apps and Transportation: A Review of Smartphone Apps and a Study of User Response to Multimodal Traveler Information

Mobile Apps and Transportation: A Review of Smartphone Apps and a Study of User Response to Multimodal Traveler Information

In recent years, technological and social forces have pushed smartphone applications (apps) from the fringe to the mainstream. Understanding the role of transportation apps in urban mobility is important for policy development and transportation planners. This study evaluates the role and impact of multimodal aggregators from a variety of perspectives, including a literature review; a review of the most innovative, disruptive, and highest-rated transportation apps; interviews with experts in the industry, and a user survey of former multimodal aggregator RideScout users. Between February and April 2016, researchers conducted interviews with experts to gain a stronger understanding about challenges and benefits of data sharing between private companies and public agencies. Key findings from the expert interviews include the critical need to protect user privacy; the potential to use data sharing to address integrated corridor and congestion management as well as various pricing strategies during peak hours; along with the potential benefits for improving coordination between the public and private sectors. In March 2016, researchers surveyed 130 people who had downloaded the RideScout app to evaluate attitudes and perceptions toward mobile apps, travel behavior, and modal shift. The goal was to enhance understanding of how the multimodal apps were impacting the transportation behavior. The survey did found that respondents used multimodal apps in ways that yielded travel that was less energy intensive and more supportive of public transit. Looking to the future, smartphone applications and more specifically multimodal aggregators, may offer the potential for transportation planners and policymakers to enhance their understanding of multimodal travel behavior, share data, enhance collaboration, and identify opportunities for public-private partnerships....