15 mobility companies sign joint pledge to promote livable cities
- Fifteen of the world's leading mobility companies today signed the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, which aim to provide a uniform vision for making cities more livable through aligned mobility priorities.
- By signing off on the 10 principles, the companies pledge to plan cities and 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 toward a zero-emissions future and renewable energy; support fair user fees across all modes; aim for public benefits via open data; work toward integration and seamless connectivity; and support that autonomous vehicles (AV) in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.
- The principles, developed by ZipCar co-founder Robin Chase, were signed by BlaBlaCar, Citymapper, Didi, Keolis, LimeBike, Lyft, Mobike, Motivate, Ofo, Ola, Scoot Networks, Transit, Uber and Via.
This pledge is a significant advancement for global mobility, as 15 major companies — despite competing for market share — have agreed to pursue initiatives that will put people first. During a conference call to outline the shared mobility principles announcement, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, said, "[The] ideas being promoted aren't about what will happen to cities in the future. They're about what's happening in cities today. The future is upon us." Peduto went on to tout various mobility initiatives, including Uber's autonomous vehicle pilot, that have positioned Pittsburgh to increase equity and decrease its environmental impact.
The 10 principles did raise a few questions though, starting with principle three, which states companies will "support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs and land." When asked how dockless bike-share will play into this principle — especially as dockless services face criticism for their bikes littering city streets and curbs — Mobike Vice President Chris Martin said cities must work to supply the demand of bike-share but not exceed it.
"Cities are used to seeing [streets] covered in cars," he explained, suggesting that as personal vehicle ownership declines, shared vehicles and bike services will take the place of cars.
Principle 10, which says the companies will "support that AVs in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets," also raised some curiosities from call participants. Some expressed concerns that this principle would diminish public transit systems, though Chase countered this concern by underlining the need for fair user fees.
"It definitely could cannibalize public transportation," however if more single-passenger cars on the roads were faced with congestion pricing, it would force commuters to choose AV ride-share or public transportation over driving personal vehicles, she explained.
Open data was another topic of interest in the proposals, and call participants were curious about how ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft would adapt to data sharing while maintaining customer privacy. Lyft Vice President of Government Relations Joe Okpaku said ride-share companies need to figure out how to share data with partners and cities in a way that is "protecting the very legitimate privacy interests of our consumers and making sure that their personal PII data and their travel history data is not falling into the wrong hands."
"I think that part of the commitment for all of the people on this call and all of the people who have committed to these principles is to try to figure out ways to thread that needle going forward," Okpaku explained. Uber has begun to thread that needle in Cincinnati, where the company is testing increased data sharing in an effort to boost data transparency across the board.
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