US Transportation and tech companies sign “Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities”
03 Feb 2018
A new set of ''mobility principles'' signed on Thursday by 15 firms, could allow transportation and tech companies a much bigger piece of the urban transportation business.
The companies that agreed to the 10-part "Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities," include Uber, Lyft and LimeBike. The principles aim to "prioritize people over vehicles, lower emissions, promote equity and encourage data sharing, among other goals."
However, the 10th and final item on the document, along with the rest of the principles, would set the stage for self-driving vehicles in cities to be operated only by such companies.
"We support that autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets," the principle reads.
According to the document, shared fleets would benefit the commuting public with more affordable access and would "maximise public safety," among other things.
They would also compete directly with Tesla's plans for launching its own fleet of autonomous vehicles that would also allow private owners to share their cars in the fleet when they are not in use. It would also include carmakers who are increasingly adding autonomous features.
The principles were articulated last October by Robin Chase, a co-founder of Zipcar, along with a group of city and transportation organisations including the Shared-Use Mobility Center, a Chicago non-profit, which envisages a future of transportation that is more efficient, according to Sharon Feigon, the centre's executive director.
Meanwhile the ride-sharing business continues to grow in Chicago, with the number of registered vehicles used for companies like Uber and Lyft quadrupling in three years, according to figures provided by the city via a public records request from The Chicago Tribune newspaper.
But the growth has led to concerns among both transportation experts and professional drivers that the services offered by companies like Uber and Lyft, while convenient, may be adding to congestion on Chicago streets while cutting into public transit use.
''Uber and Lyft have not delivered what they said they would - fewer cars, less traffic and more mobility,'' said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, which advocates for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit use, The Chicago Tribune reported. ''They're convenient and people like them, but it appears that they're creating more cars and more traffic in the downtown area if not elsewhere. That's not a sustainable trajectory.''