20 or more ideas to make mobility extraordinary for all - Mobility Lab

March 21, 2018

When people are stuck in traffic, they have a lot of time to go over in their minds how they want to complain about being stuck in traffic.

 

And they usually have plenty of source material, noted Motivate’s Jay Walder in his keynote speech at this week’s National Shared Mobility Summit in Chicago.


After all, we still have the same streets that were designed for horses and buggies. “As cities are becoming busier and more dense, this is becoming a bigger problem,” Walder said. “In Chicago, they added trains above and in New York, they added trains below. Then we’ve added in sidewalks and bike lanes.”

 

Fellow keynoter Jarrett Walker, a transit planner, also talked about the importance of space. A city is, if nothing else, a place where each person has a small bit of space to share with others, he said. And “technology will change a lot of things, but it will never change geometry.”

 

Fair enough, but the problem with focusing on space so much is that regular Joes don’t start their day in the city by asking themselves how much space they have to work with on their way to the office. For them, it’s not a matter of geometry or academic. Perhaps it should be, but it’s mostly a practical matter.

 

People know they’ve got a set amount of time to get somewhere. And they’re going to fit their alarm clocks and their morning routines into that allotted time. Planners need to figure out more pleasant ways – ideally accepting a little more help than they traditionally have from other professionals, like communicators, hackers, and entrepreneurs – to make transportation options fit better into those timetables.

 

Joshua Schank speaks at all these mobility conferences, and he’s doing exactly this – as head of Los Angeles Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation. Read that again: Office of Extraordinary Innovation. I like it!

 

That department is releasing its next strategic plan in a few weeks. And why do I get the sense this won’t be the last strategic plan from LA Metro for the next 40 years? This is a very good baby step. Strategic plans need to be refreshed and re-released all the time! A pathetic amount of transit agencies have long-range plans that account for Uber, Lyft, and autonomous vehicles. In most plans, there might be more accounting for horses and buggies.

 

Further, Schank said, “Part of that plan is that we’re taking demand management seriously as an agency.” He added that LA Metro asked for and received many dozens of private-sector proposals on how to price options beyond transit fares, congestion pricing, and regulating Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing options.

 

Schank said the hope is that there will be a Metro-branded microtransit service. To help make sure this is a strong direction, he is overseeing a “first-mile” pilot to three transit stations to determine whether they can increase the number of people riding transit.

 

Moving things along faster than the old ways things have always been done seems to be entirely what Schank is about. And the same can certainly be said about transportation entrepreneur Gabe Klein. He pointed out that a transit station can actually be built in less than nine hours, as happened in January in Eastern China.

 

Click here to read the full article: https://mobilitylab.org/2018/03/16/20-ideas-make-mobility-extraordinary/

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