New transit trends will accelerate throughout 2018 - Mobility Lab

As a rule, trends are difficult to predict—and the rule definitely applies to transit.

From new legislation to groundbreaking technology, there’s always something impacting the industry’s trajectory. After reading tea leaves and consulting the stars, here’s what we at TransLoc [Editor’s note: TransLoc is a North Carolina-based tech company that works with many cities to better connect their transportation networks] anticipates 2018 has in store for public transportation.

Autonomous vehicles aren’t going away anytime soon

Prediction #1: Google/Waymo will launch an autonomous TNC. Uber and Lyft have nibbled around the edges with autonomous vehicles, but Waymo has more autonomous miles under its belt AND a significant user base (thanks, Google Maps!). 2018 will be the year that Waymo rolls out a TNC in order to utilize its significant advantages on those fronts, forcing Uber and Lyft to cut prices even further.

Prediction #2: Private companies won’t be the only ones cozying up to the autonomous-vehicle trend. We predict public transit agencies will begin experimenting with autonomous shuttles.

Speaking of Uber and Lyft …

Prediction #3: Uber will go public, but Lyft’s growing market share will accelerate as it becomes the most impactful company in the ridesharing/ride-hailing marketplace.

Prediction #4: Lyft’s number of rides for individuals with disabilities will increase in 2018. Given Lyft’s banner year in this space, including its partnership with MBTA and work with Trapeze, 2018 will see Lyft continuing to invest in the paratransit space, along with new agency and software partnerships.

Time to play PAC-MAN

Prediction #5: We already saw some major partnerships take place in 2017, but we predict you’ll see consolidation in the market driven by major corporations shifting to the mobility space.

We’ll see the microtransit trend continue in 2018

Prediction #6: Not only do we foreshadow the microtransit trend continuing in 2018, we also anticipate significant growth in trials and experimentation with agency-owned microtransit.

While “microtransit” isn’t exactly new to the transit-industry vernacular, use of the term and the movement itself certainly gathered steam in 2017. 2018 will be the year the industry has enough pilots on the road and data points to understand how, when, and why agency-owned microtransit works—and also when it doesn’t.

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