Cities around the country are cracking down on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, conducting sting operations and sending cease and desist letters, but that doesn’t seem to be slowing down the meteoric rise of shared transportation. The Shared-Use Mobility Center launched yesterday at a policy summit for shared-use transportation in Washington, DC.
Here are a few takeaways.
Demographic changes are paving the way for a major transportation transformation. According to John Martin of the Southeastern Institute of Research, the habit of sharing our lives on Facebook has bled into a habit of sharing assets offline. Access is more important than ownership. Collaborative consumption is frugal, ecological, and in fashion.
Sharing technologies blur the lines between public and private. Notwithstanding the outright war on Uber and Lyft mentioned above, many sharing technologies are embraced — and even pioneered — by government. Gabe Klein said that when he was at DDOT and launching Capital Bikeshare, they wanted to make it look more like Zipcar than a government program. “People don’t care if it’s for-profit or nonprofit,” Klein said. “They don’t even care if it’s Uber or the bus. Particularly younger people.” And cities have helped pave the way for car-sharing, providing permanent parking spaces and waiving rental taxes that would have been prohibitive — an $8.00 tax on a $7.00 ride. RideScout, which opened in 69 cities this week, shows people all their transportation options — public, private, active and otherwise — on their phones. “It tells them: Is it cheaper? Is it faster? Is it better exercise?” said Klein.