Minneapolis officials want more people riding public transportation, scooters and Nice Ride bicycles to their destinations. Getting more people walking is high on their wish list, too.
At the same time, the city wants to reduce its carbon footprint.
That’s what has led to new spots called mobility hubs where multiple modes of non-automobile transportation intersect. Each one has a bus stop, a bench and parking for Nice Ride bicycles and scooters that can be checked out by smartphone app.
The hubs opened this month at four busy north Minneapolis intersections and are designed to make it more appealing and convenient for people to leave their car at home, said Josh Johnson, the city’s advanced mobility manager.
“We want to get people out of their personal cars and onto low- or no-carbon transportation,” he said. “We are trying to get to those who have not considered using a bike, bus or scooter … to think about how you are moving around the city.”
The majority of Minneapolis residents drive to work. Just 13% of them take public transportation to their jobs, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. About 7% walk to their jobs, 3% ride a bike and 2% use other means, such as scooters, the survey found.
But the first and last mile of a trip can be the biggest roadblocks to transit use. Studies show that people tend not to take transit if they have to walk a long distance to the nearest bus or rail stop, or if it is not easily accessible. The mobility hubs can help fill the gap by providing bus and train riders with a seamless way to finish their trips, Johnson said. They just need to hop on a nearby bike or a scooter.
Minneapolis received money from the American Cities Climate Challenge this year to find ways to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases and came up with the mobility hubs as part of that.
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