Race to Build Our Future Cities
The number of cars on the roads has reached a huge total and the number is only going up. A great number of cars are being added because of the race to build future cities. Part of that achievement is autonomous cars and the ever-growing ride-sharing services. If things keep going at this pace, pretty soon it will be faster to walk from one place to another rather than driving and being stuck in the traffic.
To overcome this problem, 15 leading technology and transportation companies announced the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities. This is a voluntary set of rules and principles meant to help steer the future of transportation towards solutions that address equity, environmental, and social concerns. These companies include Zipcar, Uber, Lyft, LimeBike, Ofo, BlaBlaCar, Citymapper, Didi, Keolis, Mobike, Motivate, Scoot Networks, Transit, Ola, and Via. According to the World Resources Institute which facilitated the agreement, these companies account for 77 million passenger trips per day.
The Shared Mobility Principles Are:
- Plan our cities and their mobility together.
- Prioritize people over vehicles.
- Support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs, and land.
- Engage with stakeholders.
- Promote equity.
- Lead the transition towards a zero-emission future and renewable energy.
- Support fair user fees across all modes.
- Aim for public benefits via open data.
- Work towards integration and seamless connectivity.
- Support those autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.
The general idea behind these principles is to do all the things that make future cities accessible to everyone. It should not matter how they get around. The private cars should not be taking up all the space on the roads and in the parking structures in the vision shared by these companies.
The fact these companies benefit from private cars disappearing from the roads is one of the reasons behind this agreement.
“We think working together, there’s a chance to unlock enormous amounts of value, and move the shared mobility pot into a bigger share overall,” says Andrew Salzberg, Head of Transportation Policy and Research at Uber.
This is one of the reasons big automakers whose business lies in selling individual cars are not on the list.
Susan Shaheen, who studies innovation and adoption of new technologies at UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, isn’t surprised by the early sign-ups.
“A lot of these companies were founded around the principle of providing people choices that didn’t exist, and enable people to not have to buy or rely on a car.”
”For most cities, urban planners, legislators and residents, there is a cacophony of advice,” said Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar and a WRI Board Director. “Our goal is to align cities, the private sector and civil society around a shared vision to ensure we harness the good and avoid the bad of new business models and technologies.”
The agreement is a good step. If it continues to hold it will be very beneficial for the community but there needs to be a governing body that enforces these principles as nobody is bound by these and any company might opt out of it if it doesn’t go in its favor. We will have to wait and see how this plays out and what effect it has.