- A new collaborative, the New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO), has formed to help cities navigate the changing urban mobility space while addressing the environmental effects of transportation. "The urgency of climate change means we have to reduce CO2 emissions and... simultaneously we have a huge number of new urban mobility service providers that are completely disrupting what's happening on city streets," Robin Chase, executive chair of the NUMO Steering Committee and Zipcar Co-Founder, told Smart Cities Dive.
- Chase said NUMO intends to set itself apart from other alliances in three main ways: focusing on tech-enabled disruption in city centers, such as shared bikes and scooters; working through its allies to foster synergy rather than spearhead efforts; and ensuring that public engagement is an integral part of policy conversations.
- NUMO is hosted by the World Resources Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and is guided by the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, which is used by more than 170 companies and governments. NUMO has received a $6 million seed grant from philanthropist and businessman Stephen M. Ross.
NUMO's overarching goal is to help stakeholders find ways to make cars less dominant fixtures in urban spaces and bring together the many players in the rapidly changing mobility space.
NUMO's leaders believe not all voices currently are being heard or brought into collaborations in the mobility space. In a lot of transportation conversations happening right now, "it's all about what motorists want and what rabid, young bicycle riders want. Those are the two extremes that are framing conversations," Chase told Smart Cities Dive. "But there is, in fact, a much larger group of people who have a stake in the game and an interest in the outcome. We want to bring those voices into the picture and create a new normal... and get to where we're trying to go as fast as possible."
The emergence of alternative mobility options such as dockless bike-share and motorized scooters has been "challenging to existing regulations and they are forcing a reexamination and rethinking of the status quo," Chase said. NUMO wishes to facilitate collaboration and conversations on such solutions shaping the mobility space and help cities adopt and create regulations for the best options, while also encouraging research and development on new solutions.
"NUMO's intent is to be a multi-stakeholder convener of entities who are in agreement that this is where we need to go. And how can we do it more efficiently, do it more collaboratively and with as few mistakes as possible," Chase said.
The group will have a large focus on equity and advancing solutions for a variety of groups that face mobility challenges, from parents with children in strollers to those who can't afford current options.
"We really need to rethink our cities and this [alliance] will give us the ability to do that. It's forcing us to rethink things and giving us the tools and types of services in which we can make those changes," Chase said. "My passion is transportation. It is our gateway to any opportunity. It's the glue of our lives."