August 2019 Technology Updates

  • Author: Kevin Chambers
  • Date: August 13, 2019

A Time of Reckoning

In the Podcast Playlist

From the Autonocast, "Three Case Studies For The Autonomous 'Trough Of Disillusionment'", wherein the hosts talk frankly about AV makers Cruise, Tesla, and Navya. All three are facing the consequences of big promises unkept.

The playlist is hosted on the ListenNotes service. From the playlist page located here, you can listen to the episodes directly from your browser or click “subscribe” button to add it to your podcasting app.

Acquisition Roundup

First Transit Names Robert James Vice President Technology and Innovation by Virtual-Strategy Magazine

This is the first formal CTO/CIO position at First Transit

Hit by Big Loss, Bird Seeks $300M in New Funds By Cory Weinberg and Amir Efrati, The Information

Toyota commits $600m in new JV with China's DiDi by Autocar Professional

Ford acquires two tech companies to accelerate development by Ian Thibodeau, The Detroit News

Betting Like SoftBank Drives Toyota’s Value Up by $19 Billion by Jie Ma, Bloomberg

TNC Reality Checks

Your next Lyft ride may cost a little more by Faiz Siddiqui, The Washington Post

...because Lyft needs to become profitable at some point.

Uber Posts $5.2 Billion Loss and Slowest Ever Growth Rate by Kate Conger, The New York Times

Uber Wants to Sell You Train Tickets. And Be Your Bus Service, Too.  by Kate Conger, The New York Times

The Innisfil experiment: the town that replaced public transit with Uber by Leyland Cecco, The Guardian

A 2-year check-up on the Innisfil experiment. The service is popular enough to cost much more than the town budgeted, and more than the transit alternative would have cost.

Are Uber and Lyft the Future of Transit? Not So Fast by Aaron Short, StreetsBlog

"Cities that turn to technology companies to save their transit systems are bound to be disappointed by the outcome."

Uber and Lyft finally admit they’re making traffic congestion worse in cities by Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

Uber and Lyft commission their own study of their impacts on congestion, and which essentially match the assertions of their critics.

What can Uber, Lyft data tell cities about transit deserts? by Jason Plautz, Smart Cities Dive

Research indicating that TNCs may be filling the first/last mile gap in outer boroughs of New York City.

Antitrust regulators are using the wrong tools to break up Big Tech by Tim O'Reilly, Quartz

This focuses on Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple, but the problems and the potential solutions apply just as well to Uber and Lyft.

Fleet Electrification

Electric Buses Continue Expansion In Los Angeles & Seoul by Jennifer Sensiba, CleanTechnica

Beyond The Bus: Proterra Repackages Its Electric Transit Tech To Power Heavy-Duty Commercial Vehicles by Alan Ohnsman, Forbes

Autonomous Vehicles

More reality checks here too

Driverless Cars Are Taking Longer Than We Expected. Here’s Why. by Clyde Haberman, The New York Times

AV promises have now been around long enough to earn a "retro report" by The New York Times.

Despite High Hopes, Self-Driving Cars Are ‘Way in the Future’ by Neal E. Boudette, The New York Times

For years, automakers wildly overpromised on self-driving cars and electric vehicles—what now? by Jeffrey Rothfeder, Fast Company

Tesla floats fully self-driving cars as soon as this year. Many are worried about what that will unleash. by Faiz Siddiqui, The Washington Post

U.S. Congress seeks to jump start stalled self-driving car bill by David Shepardson, Reuters

How Jaywalking Could Jam Up the Era of Self-Driving Cars by Eric A. Taub, The New York Times

Gov't report: Smart cars could aggravate jams, by Amiram Barkat, Globes (Israel)

The Reasons Why Millennials Aren't As Car Crazed As Baby Boomers, And How Self-Driving Cars Fit In by Dr. Lance Eliot, Forbes

Even if AVs will take a very long time to come to fruition, the forces driving the research and development are likely to continue unabated.

Mobility as a Service and New Mobility

Why Carmakers Want You to Stop Buying Cars, Someday by Keith Naughton and David Welch, Bloomberg Businessweek

Mobility study shows extent of technology's impact on transportation, SmartCitiesWorld

U.S. Libraries Launch Bike-Sharing Programs by Wilson Chapman, U.S. News & World Report

A surprising (to me, at least) source of bike-sharing: libraries

Worldwide Urban Mobility Trends by Keolis

A very interesting global overview of new mobility trends

COMMENT: Future mobility—an urban legend outside of the city? by Freddie Holmes, Automotive World

On the need for a rural version of MaaS

Google Maps now displays bike-sharing locations in 24 cities by Georgina Torbet, Engadget

There's an app for that: Transit agencies tackle MaaS platform development by Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive

Toward a mobility operating system by Scott Corwin, Anant Dinamani, Derek M. Pankratz, Deloitte Insights

A very expansive vision indeed

COTA with confidence: New program hopes to help cognitively disabled community take the bus in central Ohio, by Jerrod Mogan, The Columbus Dispatch


So Long, Swiping. The ‘Tap-and-Go’ Subway Is Here. by Emma G. Fitzsimmons, The New York Times

Transit Managers Punt Fare Integration, Roger Rudick, StreetsBlog SF

Facebook Cryptocurrency Plans Have a Problem: Facebook’s Reputation by Mike Isaac and Nathaniel Popper, The New York Times

Technology, Generally

A couple "smart cities" articles that apply very well to transit technology as well.

Why open standards are fundamental to deploying data for smart city services by Kary Främling, SmartCitiesWorld

How to prioritize people over tech when planning smart cities by Kira Barrett (interviewing John Harlow), Smart Cities Dive

If there’s a particular topic you’d like to see explored at the intersection of technology and mobility management, you can send me an email at technologist [at] nc4mm [dot] org. Likewise, please email me if you come upon news that you think would fit in well here.

Hero photo of electric bus by Ryanmirjanic, Wikipedia


We’d love to hear from you!

Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Sage Kashner (

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