Can the Sharing Economy be Leveraged in Disaster Relief? Lessons from California

Can the Sharing Economy be Leveraged in Disaster Relief? Lessons from California

Susan Shaheen, PhD, Stephen Wong, and Adam Cohen September 12, 2019 Natural and man-made disasters and their emergency evacuations are more common than many people realize, and remain a common strategy to ensure safety. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most frequent causes of evacuations in the U.S. each year are fires and floods. Due to the heavy reliance on private vehicles in the U.S., evacuations using personally owned automobiles have historically been the focus of many emergency managers. However, this can be problematic for public transit dependent and carless households who may have transportation challenges in an emergency. The critical role of evacuation planning for carless households became a serious issue during Hurricane Katrina when evacuation plans did not adequately include a process for evacuating the estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people without reliable personal transportation. However, New Orleans is not alone. Research has found that one-third of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. do not have evacuation plans, and less than half of cities with evacuation plans mention carless or vulnerable populations. Lessons learned from past experiences in emergency management include… Read the full article...
Key Takeaways from 2019 U.S. Workshop: Mobility on Demand, Automation, and Equity

Key Takeaways from 2019 U.S. Workshop: Mobility on Demand, Automation, and Equity

Susan Shaheen, PhD August 29, 2019 The market for personal mobility is changing rapidly due to shifting demographics and social trends, as well as technological advances such as: smartphones, information processing, and widespread data connectivity. Over the past year, we have been writing about Mobility on Demand(MOD): an innovative transportation concept evolving around connected travelers, where consumers can access mobility and goods delivery services on-demand by dispatching or using public transportation, shared mobility, courier services, urban air mobility, and other innovative and emerging technologies. MOD is based on the principle that transportation is a commodity where modes have economic values that are distinguishable in terms of cost, journey time, wait time, number of connections, convenience, and other attributes. In January 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine co-hosted a workshop on: “Mobility on Demand — A Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Future” at the 98th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC. The workshop facilitated a dialogue among over 150 participants from… Read the full article...
Waze Hijacked L.A. in the Name of Convenience. Can Anyone Put the Genie Back in the Bottle?

Waze Hijacked L.A. in the Name of Convenience. Can Anyone Put the Genie Back in the Bottle?

Jonathan Littman August 20, 2019   Level 1 is where you start. The higher echelons of control come only with obsession. You jack in for 45 minutes on your lunch hour. Afternoon coffee break. At night when your spouse imagines you’re cranking away on that office project. They have no idea. But when your fingers brush the keys, out there on the very real streets of Los Angeles, traffic shifts and undulates, like rainwater cutting a path. Homeowners wake up to find themselves trapped in a pop-up freeway hell that makes it nearly impossible to exit their driveways. The transportation officials and the council members and the whining neighborhood associations are mere spectators. The gamers won. The algorithm is God. Technology has spoken, and you know your supporting role. The unheralded superhero in this movie, giving every Angeleno the power to take back the streets. Los Angeles went wild over Waze when it first hit the city in 2011. It was the brash counterpart to the Google and Apple traffic apps that took a more conservative tack to turn-by-turn directions, generally providing two or three traditional highway and thoroughfare routes. Not Waze. One definitive route. The wormhole, the ultimate shortcut, the secret trick to avoid getting screwed on the 405 or the 110. In September 2014 this magazine published “The Surprising Wisdom of Waze,” an ode to what seemed algorithmic serendipity, with honeyed lines like, “To me, Waze is the Voice of God.” Why the adulation? Waze grabbed you—the harried, downtrodden L.A. commuter—with the subjective, hard-to-counter feeling that this crazy route over hill and dale just had to be...
‘I’m Back to Riding My Own Bike.’ Higher Prices Threaten Silicon Valley’s Mobility Revolution

‘I’m Back to Riding My Own Bike.’ Higher Prices Threaten Silicon Valley’s Mobility Revolution

Alana Semuels August 9, 2019   When JUMP’s bright red bikes started appearing on the streets of San Francisco last year, Ian Chesal was relieved. His lengthy commute, from the hills of Oakland to his tech company’s San Francisco office, involved driving to the subway, sitting for 40 minutes, and then walking a mile to his office. Once the JUMP bikes appeared, he could use his phone to unlock one outside his subway stop, and ride it the rest of the way. The electric motor-assisted bikes gave him a push up the hill to his office, and at $2 for a 30-minute ride, they didn’t add significantly to the cost of his commute. But in June, JUMP, which is owned by Uber, suddenly raised its prices, instantly doubling the cost of Chesal’s ride. He stopped using the shared bikes, dusted off an old bike from his garage, and started bringing it on the subway and riding it that last mile to work. “For now I’m back to riding my own bike and happier for it,” says Chesal, 42. UMP’s price increases were part of a larger trend across the sharing economy. On-demand services of all kinds have been significantly subsidized by…   Read the full article here: ‘I’m Back to Riding My Own Bike.’ Higher Prices Threaten Silicon Valley’s Mobility...
Top 19 of 2019 Influential Women in Mobility

Top 19 of 2019 Influential Women in Mobility

Vulog July 18, 2019   Congratulations to Susan Shaheen, who was featured as one of Vulog’s Top 19 of 2019 Influential Women in Mobility. Vulog has released a publication featuring profiles of leading women in the mobility sector worldwide who “truly embody the notion of transforming ideas to impact.”   Download the report here: Top 19 of 2019 Influential Women in...