Let’s call them transportation goals.
With 15 transportation companies, including ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, signing an ambitious list of “shared mobility principles” this week, these companies are promising to “prioritize people over vehicles.”
The pledge, also signed by bike-share companies and other ride-hailing apps like China’s Didi Chuxing and India’s Ola, is about making cities livable and sustainable, meaning less pollution, more zero-emission vehicles, more shared curb space, and aligned goals with city governments, transit agencies, and other vehicles.
The list was created by Robin Chase, a Zipcar co-founder, and includes 10 straightforward goals for companies and urban planners to follow. But actually implementing the guide is another thing — something as simple as promoting equity can be hard when your company relies on independent contractors who may discriminate based on race.
Here’s the full list:
We plan our cities and their mobility together.
We prioritize people over vehicles.
We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs, and land.
We engage with stakeholders.
We promote equity.
We lead the transition towards a zero-emission future and renewable energy.
We support fair user fees across all modes.
We aim for public benefits via open data.
We work towards integration and seamless connectivity.
We support that autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.
Andrew Salzberg, head of Uber’s transportation policy and research said in a press call earlier this week before announcing Uber’s participation in the pledge that his company joined because these goals work toward improving cities. He praised the pledge for helping “reduce the need for people to own or operate their own personal vehicle.”
That’s commendable, but companies like Uber are still very much part of cities’ traffic problems, and possibly adding to it.
A recent study from the Transit Cooperative Research Program looked at the relationship between ride-sharing apps and public transit systems and how the new technology fits in with transportation infrastructure. Like the list of principles encourages, these app companies should be working hand-in-hand with city transit agencies.
Darnell Grisby, director of policy development at the American Public Transportation Association, who proposed the research looking into transit ridership, apps like Uber and Lyft, car ownership, and road congestion, found that riders are using a mix of transit options, whether it’s a paid car ride, bike-share, the bus, or walking.
“(Riders) are pragmatic consumers of mobility,” Grisby said in a phone call. “They are going to choose the best mode to get around.”
The study looked at a lot of transit data including information from transit systems in the Bay Area, Atlanta, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. A ride-hailing app that “wishes to remain anonymous” contributed data about five major regions that use the app: Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
The study found that data from 2010 through 2016 showed ride-share apps are most popular on nights and weekends — with the most use on Friday and Saturday nights. Ride-sharing is busiest between 7 p.m. and midnight. Trips are usually between two and four miles and based in “urban cores” or downtown areas — outside those spots, the apps are busiest at airports.
While the apps are certainly more prevalent, transit ridership is still going up in places like San Francisco, Seattle and Nashville.
What’s going on?
People who take the bus or drive aren’t changing their habits. Apps like Uber and Lyft are considered a complementary travel option that’s helpful for special occasions or when the bus is too slow and unreliable or sitting in traffic stuck in your car sounds unbearable. The apps are “one part of a transportation menu,” not the main mode of transit.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship between public transit and [ride-hailing apps],” Grisby said.
The study even offered some advice to transit agencies trying to work with app-based ride-hailing companies. Some of the suggestions look a lot like Chase’s shared mobility principles, especially the suggestion to work together on the first and last mile from people’s homes and workplaces and on routes where buses and subways don’t reach.
Now that companies like Uber and Lyft have signed up and are willingly working together, it’s about checking up on how well they follow through on these transit aspirations.
Read more: http://mashable.com/