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...
Bike-share debacle isn’t unique to Baltimore. Thefts, other woes had also hit the early programs in N.Y., Paris

Bike-share debacle isn’t unique to Baltimore. Thefts, other woes had also hit the early programs in N.Y., Paris

By Luz Lazo October 4 Last fall, then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake touted Baltimore’s new bike-rental system as a sign of the city’s progress. “Our bike-share program will provide citizens with convenient and on-demand access to bikes for short-distance trips throughout the city,” she had said. “This is going to be great.” By summer, most of the 25 bike stations scattered around the city’s downtown and tourist areas were empty. Many of the 230 bikes were unaccounted for. Others had been found badly battered. About 100 bikes were in the shop on a given day in August, so many that keeping up with repairs was impossible. So the city chose to shut down the program, work on a solution, and possibly start over. To read the rest of the article, visit: ...
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,...
Uber drivers need armed guards in South Africa

Uber drivers need armed guards in South Africa

by Dara Kerr and Richard Nieva August 1, 2017 5:00 AM PDT On an average day outside Johannesburg’s downtown train station, a handful of men in all-black military gear are positioned down the block. They wear bulletproof vests, combat boots and wool beanies. A patch on their sleeves reads, “Hi-Risk Security Company, Rapid Response Unit.” As we exited the train station during a trip to South Africa last month, one of the men approached us. “Are you looking for an Uber?” Meet the private security force working for the ride-hailing company in Johannesburg. “On this corner, you are perfectly safe,” the guard told us. We had only his word for it because clashes between Uber and local taxi drivers, known as “metered taxis,” are now a common occurrence in Johannesburg and surrounding cities. To put it bluntly, being an Uber driver here is dangerous. In the last year, the violence has included reports of Uber drivers being beaten as they drop off passengers at busy areas with taxi stands, like train stations. One Uber driver, whose car was set on fire after an attack in June, died two weeks ago from severe burns. To read the rest of the story, visit:...