Shifting the system — using new mobility as a tool for community goals
As city populations continue to grow, city governments must manage ever-increasing demands, consider trade-offs between differing values, and achieve their goals with limited capacity and funds.
While managing land use, transportation, economic development, air quality, environmental sustainability, equity and health through distinct departments may be necessary and even beneficial (as many cities creating new departments of transportation are noting), the issues themselves are not disparate. In fact, most city values require coordination and collaboration between and amongst various stakeholders across internal departments and external groups. Traditionally, such collaboration has proven challenging for a variety of reasons, including differing mission statements, misaligned timelines and variations in processes. But increasingly, new mobility options are presenting an opportunity and a catalyst for cities to collaborate, internally and externally, and integrate silos in various areas.
Just one year ago, electric scooters were a fringe concept, seen as a fad by many. Their proliferation and popularity demonstrates a reality that seems simple, but has been difficult to digest in the transportation world. Mobility options are popping up and evolving faster than the public sector can accommodate. But new mobility options, such as electric scooters, dockless bikeshares, micro-transit and driverless vehicles, also present a perfect catalyst for communities to re-examine their systems and align their values.
Just how can that happen? How can communities prepare for an uncertain future and ensure the ever-changing mobility landscape promotes positive outcomes for their residents and visitors? Determining objectives, engaging with public and private partners, conducting scenario planning and establishing evaluation frameworks and metrics have helped some cities align their goals with new mobility options.
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