San Francisco’s emerging mobility report calls for greater public-private cooperation

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The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) has released a draft Emerging Mobility Evaluation Report, the region’s first comprehensive study of the new and rapidly evolving multimodal transportation options that are becoming available to citizens.

Covering everything from ride hail services to autonomous vehicles (AVs) and microtransit to scooter sharing, the report outlines the range of services operating in San Francisco and evaluates how these services align with the city’s Guiding Principles, which outline long-range transportation goals around a healthy environment, livability, safety, and world-class infrastructure.

The Principles also include a focus on equity, affordability, financial impacts and other metrics. Among the report’s key findings are that companies that share data and partner with the city authorities on pilots are better at helping meet San Francisco’s transportation goals. The report also underscores the need for the city to establish a consistent process to set up pilots and issue permits for emerging mobility providers, perform more research, and enact stronger rules.

Working with other public agencies, the emerging mobility sector and community stakeholders, the SFCTA developed a methodology for evaluating how the emerging mobility services in San Francisco are helping or hindering the city’s efforts to meet its transportation goals. Based on that evaluation, the Transportation Authority has developed numerous recommendations and next steps that would allow the city to:

• Partner – Proactively partner with emerging mobility providers;

• Measure – Collect emerging mobility data and conduct research;

• Regulate – Regulate and recover costs;

• Bridge – Bridge mobility and access gaps;

• Prioritize – Support and prioritize public transit;

• Enforce – Enforce safe streets;

• Price – Manage congestion at curbs and on city roadways.

“With more private mobility businesses operating on our streets, the city must make sure we’re balancing competing interests for maximum public benefit,” said Aaron Peskin, chair of the SFCTA and District 3 supervisor. “That means developing clear congestion management regulations that prioritize public safety and accessibility, as well as continuing to invest in a robust multimodal public transportation system for everyone.”

Tilly Chang, executive director of the SFCTA, noted, “This report provides an open and transparent assessment of the new mobility sector and how it is performing in San Francisco, relative to the city’s Transit First, Vision Zero, climate, and equity goals. As we can see, while there is great demand for these new services, there are important gaps in data and performance that must be bridged by research, regulation, and partnerships, to protect the investments we have made in our public infrastructure, and to extend the benefits of technology to all.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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