How Will Public Transit Survive the COVID-19 Crisis?

How Will Public Transit Survive the COVID-19 Crisis?

Larry Buhl Capital & Main April 1, 2020 The $2 trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill signed into law last week, the largest aid package in U.S. history, also contained the largest aid package ever for U.S. transit agencies: $25 billion. The money comes at a time when ridership and revenues have plunged during the COVID-19 health emergency. Experts say the money, which has basically no strings attached, should be more than enough to keep workers employed, at least through the year. But transportation experts say that after the health crisis abates and jobs come back, mass transit could look somewhat different. Owing to stay-at-home orders in many cities, transit ridership has been in freefall through March, according to Moovit, an urban mobility app. In its request for federal aid, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the largest in North America, asked for more than $4 billion from Congress to offset a loss of revenue from a steep decline in ridership. In San Francisco, where residents have been ordered to stay home since mid-March, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) has seen a ridership decline of 90 percent and has been forced to reduce service. It is not yet clear how the money will be divvied up among the different transit agencies across the U.S., nor is it clear how each agency will use the money it receives. The law comes with more suggestions than strings: It simply says emergency funds are “to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus.” According to the bill, the money is reimbursement for lost operating costs accrued since Jan. 20, 2020, and could be...
Two Weeks Until CommuteCon 2020

Two Weeks Until CommuteCon 2020

CommuteCon will take place on April 1, 2020 from 9am – 2pm PST. CommuteCon is a free online conference that brings together people focused on finding smart, sustainable solutions to big mobility challenges. Join hundreds of your fellow commuter management leaders from around the world for an amazing lineup of presentations from industry thought leaders. Speakers include: Susan Shaheen, Co-Direct at UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center; Timothy Papandreou, Founder at Emerging Transport Advisors; Emma Huang, Principal Transportation Planner at LA Metro Office of Extraordinary Innovation; and Danielle Glaser, Head of Bay Area Transportation at LinkedIn; among others. If you are interested in participating, you can learn more about the conference and...
Share Now Is the Latest Car-Share Service to Fold

Share Now Is the Latest Car-Share Service to Fold

Aarian Marshall December 19, 2019 The US is about to lose another car-share service. On Wednesday, the Daimler- and BMW-owned entity that operates the service Share Now said the company’s cars would disappear from North American streets by the end of February 2020. For customers in New York, Montreal, Seattle, Washington, DC, and Vancouver, that’s a bummer. It’s a bummer as well for those who enjoyed short-term rentals in London, Brussels, and Florence, Italy—service will stop there too. The story of Share Now, formerly known as Car2Go, is emblematic of the twisty path that transportation services took in the 2010s. Founded by Daimler in 2008, Car2Go arrived at a moment of smartphone-fueled optimism about “mobility” tech. A company called UberCab would sprout in San Francisco a year later. Amid talk of falling car ownership and rapid urbanization, automakers were on the lookout for the next big thing. Car2Go was an experiment in what car-sharing professionals call “point-to-point” sharing. The company struck deals with cities to allow customers to locate, pick up, and park Daimler-owned cars—extra-compact white and blue Smart Cars—almost anywhere on city streets. (Some competitors, like Zipcar, have dedicated parking spots for their users.) In February, a decade into a new world of tech-driven experiments, Daimler and BMW announced they would combine their mobility services under one entity, called Share Now. By October, it was clear that the business was in trouble, when the company said it would pull out of half its North American markets. Now, Share Now will operate in fewer than 20 cities worldwide, with its largest operations in Germany and Italy. In a statement,...
Autonomous Vehicles – Part 2: Designing the Future of Transportation w/Susan Shaheen

Autonomous Vehicles – Part 2: Designing the Future of Transportation w/Susan Shaheen

The Leading Edge Podcast December 19, 2019 Podcast host Chris Sands speaks with Innovative Mobility’s Susan Shaheen on the societal and environmental impacts of automated transportation systems. They cover transportation technology’s affect on social equity, city land uses to make way for AV and microbility, energy sources and sustainability, and some of the emerging products from different autonomous vehicle companies. Listen to the episode...
How St. Louis Took a Proactive Approach to E-Scooter Regulation

How St. Louis Took a Proactive Approach to E-Scooter Regulation

Cinnamon Janzer November 14, 2019 As practically anyone living in an urban area has experienced first hand, e-scooter companies have tended to take an “ask for forgiveness, not permission” approach to deploying fleets of e-scooters in cities across the world with little to no notice beforehand. While this disruption-based method has left many cities scrambling to reactivity figure out how to manage the chance, St. Louis was able to take a proactive approach, thanks to a failed public bikeshare program. When the bikeshare program didn’t pan out after a grant failed to come through, the city’s bikeshare working group did produce a permitting system that was ready to be applied when e-scooters descended on St. Louis in early 2018. With equity top of mind, “the permit identifies a number of neighborhoods where we require there to be a percentage of dockless bikes or e-scooters every day,” explains Scott Ogilvie, the transportation policy planner in the Planning and Urban Design Agency for the City of St. Louis. The city requires 2.5 percent of the minimum fleet of each area and a minimum of 20 percent of the total fleet to be in neighborhoods outside the central corridor at the start of each day. “We don’t want to offer a new amenity in the city that’s not available to a large portion of the city. That’s part of the permit we’re proud of,” Ogilvie says. The flexibility that comes from…   Read the full article...