Fifteen leading technology and transportation companies announced the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, a voluntary set of rules and principles meant to help steer the future of transportation towards solutions that address equity, environmental, and social concerns.
The initial signatories—Uber and Lyft, as well as BlaBlaCar, Citymapper, Didi, Keolis, LimeBike, Mobike, Motivate, Ofo, Ola, Scoot Networks, Via, and Zipcar—account for 77 million passenger trips per day and inform the travel decisions of 10 million people each day, according to a statement released by the World Resources Institute, the organization which facilitated the agreement.
The non-binding principles are general ideas. But they suggest a vision of a multimodal, more sustainable solution to urban mobility, especially if companies truly live up to these principles, and collaborated closely with cities to make them a reality.
Principles such as prioritizing people over vehicles, supporting the shared and efficient use of “vehicles, lanes, curbed, and land,” and pushing towards open data and fair user fees would, if followed, fulfill many wishlists for urban transit advocates. The group also pledged to “lead the transition towards a zero-emission future and renewable energy.”
City transit officials would be especially happy if Uber and Lyft, which haven’t been completely forthcoming about sharing transit information, would do more than “aim for public benefits via open data” and truly share data. During a press call yesterday, 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.”
Representatives from both ride-hailing companies also said they support the use of congestion pricing to ease traffic.
Here are some of the key pledges:
2. WE PRIORITIZE PEOPLE OVER VEHICLES.
The mobility of people and not vehicles shall be in the center of transportation planning and decision-making. Cities shall prioritize walking, cycling, public transport and other efficient shared mobility, as well as their interconnectivity. Cities shall discourage the use of cars, single-passenger taxis, and other oversized vehicles transporting one person.
3. WE SUPPORT THE SHARED AND EFFICIENT USE OF VEHICLES, LANES, CURBS, AND LAND.
Transportation and land use planning and policies should minimize the street and parking space used per person and maximize the use of each vehicle. We discourage overbuilding and oversized vehicles and infrastructure, as well as the oversupply of parking.
10. WE SUPPORT THAT AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES (AVS) IN DENSE URBAN AREAS SHOULD BE OPERATED ONLY IN SHARED FLEETS.
Due to the transformational potential of autonomous vehicle technology, it is critical that all AVs are part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission. Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximize public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals, and actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles, parking, and congestion, in line with broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas.
And importantly, this one:
8. WE AIM FOR PUBLIC BENEFITS VIA OPEN DATA.
The data infrastructure underpinning shared transport services must enable interoperability, competition and innovation, while ensuring privacy, security, and accountability.
The requirement to provide data should not be voluntary, subject to a non-binding pledge. It should be a condition of an operating licence for using public owned, financed and regulated roads.
Data is power. Whoever has it, controls it and profits from it must be regulated by the public. If private companies can keep data proprietorial, they will soon come to control the transportation system – and hence the operations, design and purpose of our cities.