The Week in Mobility — 19 February 2021
More buses = greater economic opportunity
A small radius on a dating app will present a limited number of potential suitors. Owing to that radius being local, those suitors may well be less than ideal — not exactly sharing your penchant for “Settlers of Catan” and a good cheese board. Extend that radius further and statistically it will present a broader array of more eligible matches owing to the greater volume of people it encompasses. However, if meeting one of the matches in person required travelling 90 minutes on 3 different buses, the logistical faff could be enough to quell or even quash any romantic flames in those early heady days. Without moving or forking out for a car both of which could be infeasible, this is an irritation.
Extend this issue to accessing jobs and it transcends irritation and a logistical nightmare, becoming a severe barrier to economic opportunity. More frequent and direct transit not only allows individuals to access more jobs, but employers to access a greater and more diverse talent pool and businesses to cater to more customers. Throw into the mix spatial agglomeration, in which the productivity of a community benefits from clustering of activities around transportation hubs, and the effect is exponential.
In Atlanta, increasing the availability of public transit by 40% could increase an individual’s access to jobs within 30 minutes by a factor of 10. This video is well worth the 2 mins 20 seconds to see just how walking distance to public transit can promote equity whilst decreasing emissions.
For public transit the cascading effect of benefits to society are a clear way to justify and fight for its existence. For private organisations this can prove a little trickier. Being a facilitator to opportunity, particularly for those that need it most, will not often prove you to be highly profitable. This is frequently the trouble facing micromobility and active transport providers. Bird can lose $293 per scooter. Last March Blue Bikes, despite having 66,000 riders in two years, was forced to cease operations in New Orleans, leaving many residents without transportation. However, in January the New Orleans City Council unanimously agreed to not only the return of Blue Bikes but a cooperative agreement with the organisation running as a non-profit. This means Blue Bikes will be continuously reinvesting in provision of bikes in the local area.
Micromobility and public transit can both serve communities, increase access to opportunity, reduce emissions and reduce emissions. Could funding and governing them collectively be the key to equitable multimodal transport?
Kicking Off in Coventry
Home to the UK’s most stressful ring road and a distressing volume of concrete, Coventry is the unassuming automotive hero of the hour. Resident Jaguar Land Rover pledged to make Jaguar an EV only brand by 2025 and “reimagine’’ future luxury via its Land Rover marque. Meanwhile Coventry Airport has been put forward for the location of a huge Gigafactory that would create 4,000 local jobs. Israeli electric mobility startup Ree Automotive, pledged $92 Million for a new “Engineering Centre of Excellence” in nearby Nuneaton. It’s perhaps not surprising given the West Midlands long and tumultuous automotive history coupled with mobility proponent local Mayor, Andy Street. Street has long been focusing on improving accessibility, congestion and health for citizens as means to increase access to jobs and training opportunities in a resilient and sustainable way. Later this year, in partnership with Hyundai, Coventry will open the world’s first urban vertiport in an effort to reaffirm the West Midlands role in pioneering future mobility.
Elsewhere in the industry
- Uber Drivers are classified as workers rules UK Supreme Court — The Guardian
- Ford pledges to be an all electric brand by 2030 — BBC News
- Rivian is looking for a European plant — electrive
- Tesla is having quality issues in China — Nikkei
- Lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Corp plan to go public via a SPAC — Reuters
- Smarthop, an AI route optimisation app for interstate truckers raises $12 Million — Tech Crunch
- Super handy EV Fleet and EV chargepoint tracker — https://www.stable.auto/dashboard
- Kerb management platform Coord launches annual challenge to tackle variable pricing and automated booking — Cities Today
- Proterra is providing Volta Trucks with batteries — Ars Technica
- From 2025, Dutch municipalities will introduce zero emission zones for urban logistics — City Logistics
- Governor Murphy announces $100 Million for clean transportation projects in New Jersey — NJ.Gov
- EV Tax Credits are renewed and extended — CNET
- The FTA (Federal Transit Administration) announced $180 Million in grants for Low or No Emission Grant Program, it will focus on environmental justice and workforce development- transportation.gov
Worthy of your time
- If Rush Hour Dies does Mass Transit Die with it? — 10 Min Read — Slate
Spotify has been granted a patent that uses “speech recognition to determine users’ emotional state, gender, age or accent- attributes that can then be used to recommend content”. I am curious to know the interventional oe reinforcement recommendations the app might proffer. A hangry rage? Here’s some Enya. Taking too long to get ready? Carly Simon coming right up. Grab your headphones and listen to the accidental self-made live soundtrack to your life.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Imogen Pierce, Head of City Engagement and Integration