June Tech Updates

  • Author: Kevin Chambers
  • Date: June 29, 2023

Personal AVs as a "False Early Dream," federal funds for electric buses are released, Uber brings car-sharing to the US, and one town invests in "communal Teslas." These are just a few of the many stories about mobility and technology assembled for mobility managers.


Spare, Uber Partner to Enhance Public Transit Services, Metro Magazine
Spare and Uber are unveiling a partnership that integrates Spare's cloud-based on-demand transit platform with Uber's extensive driver network. The collaboration empowers transit agencies to enhance microtransit and paratransit services using Uber's network.

Uber is taking its car-sharing service to North America by Kirsten Korosec, TechCrunch
"The ride-hailing and delivery app company launched a car-sharing service in Australia last year after acquiring local startup Car Next Door. The service, which lets users rent out their vehicles, has since been rebranded Uber Carshare."

Autonomous Vehicles

17 fatalities, 736 crashes: The shocking toll of Tesla’s Autopilot by Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy B. Merrill, The Washington Post
"Tesla’s driver-assistance system, known as Autopilot, has been involved in far more crashes than previously reported"

Is The Personal Self-Driving Car For City Streets A False Early Dream? by Brad Templeton, Forbes
"In spite of [the] perceived dream, [the general personal robocar] is not what the industry is building, or what it is going to release for some time." This is an excellent primer into the niches and nuances of automated vehicle development.

Robotaxis are here. It’s time to decide what to do about them by Benjamin Schneiderarchive, MIT Technology Review
The public and its elected representatives need to play a more active role in shaping the future of this new technology.

Vehicle Electrification

In the Race to Electrification, the Humble Bus Is in the Lead by Kyle Stock, Bloomberg
"All over the world, buses are quickly and quietly going electric. By 2032, about half of the world’s buses will be entirely battery-powered, as will almost three out of four buses sold"

Here come the electric buses by Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge
The US Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration is sending out $1.7 billion from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 46 states and territories to fund the acquisition of 1,700 buses — over half of which will be zero-emission models.

‘Low No’ is a Blow to the Electric Bus Transition, Advocates Say by John Besche, Streetsblog USA
A federal grant program aimed at speeding the transition to zero-emissions transit is being undermined by allocations for low-polluting vehicles, an advocacy group warns.

Major U.S. cities leading in transit electrification by David Cox, Mass Transit
"A review of capital improvement plans identified the projects which include fleet electrification, charging infrastructure, parking spaces and modifying existing lanes for EVs."

Federal Fleet Electrification: A Big Opportunity For All by Stacy Noblet, Forbes
"One of the next big frontiers for vehicle electrification is the U.S. federal fleet. The White House set an ambitious goal to electrify the fleet in an Executive Order requiring 100% electric vehicle (EV) acquisitions by 2035."

Batteries on wheels: California to mandate bidirectional charging on EVs from 2027 by Daniel Bleakley, The Driven
"California has introduced a bill that would require all EVs to have bidirectional charging from 2027. The bill would cover all light-duty motor vehicles as well as school buses."

The underbelly of electric vehicles by Aaron Steckelberg, Hannah Dormido, Ruby Mellen, Steven Rich and Cate Brown, The Washington Post
"While electric vehicles are essential to reducing carbon emissions, their production can exact a significant human and environmental cost." Notably absent from this analysis is any comparison with the human and environmental cost of gas-powered  vehicles.

Mobility as a Service and New Mobility

E-Bikes Are Putting a Dent in Denver's Vehicle Miles Traveled by Skip Descant, Government Technology
"Electric bicycles in Denver are replacing an estimated 100,000 vehicle miles per week, and are doing their part to position transportation policy toward expanding infrastructure and other opportunities for micromobility."

Yolo County to Launch 'beeLine' Microtransit in August by Gerardo Zavala, GovTech
"City Manager Ken Hiatt noted that the costs of an on-demand bus service are significantly more expensive per ride than traditional fixed-route bus services. 'When we started out on this process, we thought we could take the money that's currently going to fixed routes and we'll just put it to micro transit and it'll be a more efficient, more convenient service and it'll probably cost less,' Hiatt said. 'Well, that doesn't always prove out.'"

Opinion: Why We Should Stop Using the Word ‘Micromobility’ by Sarah Risser, Streetsblog USA
"SUVs, pick-up trucks, and passenger cars should not be the benchmark by which we judge the size of other forms of transit, and the term ‘micromobility’ encourages us to believe that they are."

There’s No Uber or Lyft. There Is a Communal Tesla by Patricia Leigh Brown, The New York Times
"An innovative E.V. ride-sharing program is bringing low-cost clean transportation to an agricultural town in California’s Central Valley. Others are following suit. [...] Born of a lack of public transit, a concern for the environment and stubborn resolve, the program was masterminded by the Latino Equity Advocacy & Policy Institute, a nonprofit founded by Rey León, Huron’s mayor."


Automating the first and last mile? Reframing the ‘challenges’ of everyday mobilities by Meike Brodersen, Sarah Pink & Vaike Fors, Mobilities
"In this article, we interrogate the utility of conceptualising the ‘first and last mile’ (FLM) as a ‘challenge’ to be addressed through automated and integrated mobility services."

Electric Vehicle Charging: Strategies and Programs by TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program
"NCHRP Synthesis 605: Electric Vehicle Charging: Strategies and Programs, from TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program, documents current strategies and practices in use by state DOTs to facilitate and coordinate the provision and operation of EV charging facilities. The synthesis also includes DOTs’ current plans to address the future maturity of EV charging, such as preparation for medium- and heavy-duty electrification."

Other News and Opinion Involving Transit and Technology

USDOT launches live, online library of ITS best practice by Tom Stone, TrafficTechnologyToday.com
"The USDOT’s ITS Joint Program Office (JPO) has launched the Smart Community Resource Center (SCRC) – a compilation of resources that can be used by practitioners to advance ITS and smart community transportation projects and programs."

Government Has a Policy-Over-People Problem, Civic Tech Leader Argues by Natalie Alms, Route Fifty
"She wants civil service reform, particularly around hiring, said [Code for America founder Jennifer] Pahlka. She also writes about the outsourcing of technology in government, arguing that 'you need to own the code, and you need to be able to change it to meet your needs.'”


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 (kashner@ctaa.org).

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