Shared Use Mobility Summit 2018

Shared Use Mobility Summit 2018

March 15, 2018  | Alice Grossman

March 15, 2018

The Shared Use Mobility Summit kicked off on March 12 with day-and-a-half workshops on shared autonomous vehicles (AVs) and on the FTA-funded Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox project. The topics of AVs and MOD dominated over the next two days, with additional reoccurring themes of mobility hubs and bike sharing, among others.

The Mobility on Demand Sandbox workshop brought together participants in the program, FTA staff, and interested parties. Presentations brought to light the variability in the projects selected, from trip planning, to fare integration, to service augmentation. Afternoon break-out sessions delved further in to issues focusing on first-mile/last-mile operations with discussion around fare and planning integration and subsidies; gamification strategies, where the discussion led to successes when private companies provide incentives for commuting not in a single occupancy vehicles; integration of MOD with the broader transportation network that looked at elements from trip planning to drop/last-mile; and engaging emerging mobility providers where participants discussed encouraging multi-modal and multi-faceting transportation options.

The afternoon panel included a fresh perspective from lawyer Matthew Daus, who asked the room what was most responsible for holding up every single Sandbox project. Answers bounced back about contracting, negotiations, regulations…concluding that the answer is “lawyers,” indicating a need to reexamine laws and regulations. One focus should be an adjustment of Freedom of Information Laws (FOILs) to avoid a patchwork of state freedom of information laws, which would hinder a nationally-standardized data exchange program. Since legally, states have the right to set their own legislation, one way to incentivize certain policies would be to tie eligibility for USDOT funding to data sharing practices.

At the Tuesday plenary, Jay Walder of Motivate and Gabe Klein of City FI both discussed how we can expand the notion of what a public-private partnership is. They impressed that partnership models can be flexible, as long as there is a true sharing of risks and rewards. Joshua Schank of LA Metro further discussed the advantages of collaboration, but pointedly commented that when the private sector refuses to collaborate, the public sector becomes forced to regulate.

Wednesday morning, Jeffrey Tumlin led a strong panel on shared transportation and technology in the future. We learned how Finland can serve as a model from Krista Huhtala-Jenks where the government is dedicated to facilitating mobility as a service.

A panel on Ridehailing in Major Cities panel brought Uber to the table with city officials. The panel included in-depth discussion on curb management, including classification options, pricing, and multimodalism. The panel came to an overwhelming agreement that the biggest hurdle is parking. Parking removal is nearly always a controversial action met with a negative reaction from the public. The panel further agreed that the first step to moving into the three-pronged shared, automated, electric vehicle fleets is to get the shared element down. Establishing shared fleets will help shape land use and transportation patterns as we move forward with the technology and energy aspects.

Throughout the conference, breakout panels tended to consist of private sector members or public sector members, with a few exceptions. The most interesting sessions were in rooms with diverse audiences where question and answers sessions turned into conversations. After all, the purpose of conferences is to get everyone in the same room.

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