Bikeshare, Scooters, Cars, Trains, Bridges: One Agency to Rule Them All - City Lab

The current management of transportation in American cities is, to put it mildly, balkanized. Powers to regulate, tax, and allocate budgets for modes like transit, automobiles, and taxis are divided across numerous transit authorities, state agencies, and city departments. The predictable result: organizational friction and confusion about who is ultimately responsible for achieving policy goals such as equity, safety, and the reduction of pollution and congestion.

This situation is not sustainable, especially in an era when new mobility services like ride-hail and scooters have made the pursuit of regional mobility goals more challenging—and more important—than ever before. It’s time to consider a dramatic step: consolidation of all mobility oversight into a single regional authority.

Transit agency leaders have been among the first to experience the problems inherent to the mobility status quo. To understand their challenge, consider the following scenario: Mary lives in an urban neighborhood. With no good public transport route to her work downtown, she has been driving her car those few miles each day. But Mary dislikes the congestion and hunt for a parking spot, so when scooter-share comes to her neighborhood she decides to scoot to and from her job. Mary’s decision takes one car off the road during peak times and marginally reduces congestion, a stated goal of her regional public transit agency.

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