- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city has created the Urban Movement Labs, a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership (P3) to accelerate innovation in mobility.
- In a speech at the CoMotion LA conference, Garcetti said the labs will look to expand new mobility solutions, offer job training and workforce development for local residents and provide a proving ground with four different environments to test solutions. He said the aim is to "develop, test and build transportation solutions" to help the city reduce its reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, and also to find new mobility options that can translate to other cities around the world.
- Partners on the project include the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), Los Angeles World Airports, the Port of Los Angeles, Avis Budget Group, the L.A. Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Lyft, Verizon and Waymo.
Los Angeles has a strong reputation for its reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, which has contributed to its crippling congestion and poor air quality, but city leaders are trying to turn that around and give its residents other options. That includes welcoming ride-hailing and dockless bikes and scooters, and embracing microtransit through programs with Via, RideCo and Transdev to transport people to and from transit stops.
Garcetti said a major priority of the Urban Movement Labs will be to build on and encourage new mobility solutions to help LA residents get around easier.
"I'll admit it: we're selfish," he said in his speech. "We're sick of the traffic, and we want your ideas to be implemented right here where we live as quickly as possible... We know that finding ways to get to yes instead of no really adds to the strength of our city."
The Urban Movement Labs will have four types of test area: a closed campus; a semi-closed campus like a college; a low-density urban area; and a high-density downtown area. Such proving grounds are key for testing innovations like autonomous vehicles (AVs). And as cities face the challenges of tackling the effects of climate change and cutting transportation emissions, cooperation will be key, according to Garcetti.
"It is about you," he said. "We want to be a place to test new transportation technology so we can help accelerate it in your town, in your country as well. We care about the commute that you're stuck in, because we're facing the greatest challenge of our lives with climate change as well."