November Technology Updates

  • Author: Kevin Chambers
  • Date: November 24, 2020

COVID-19 & Transit

Studies Show Riding Transit During Pandemic Is Pretty Safe by Kea Wilson, StreetsBlog USA
“Despite an early panic that sent ridership plummeting and kept it low, public transportation has proved to be one of the most COVID-safe places to be outside the home.”

Tech rides to transit’s rescue by Annie McDonough, City and State NY
The [MTA accelerator program] Transit Tech Lab picks eight finalist companies to address pandemic challenges.

TNCs/Ride Sourcing Companies

CA’s Prop 22 passage could bring further challenges to ride-hail regulations by Chris Teale, Smart Cities Dive
Voters approved the initiative with 58% of the vote, according to unofficial tallies. Labor advocates warn it will undermine drivers, but it could embolden companies towards similar efforts elsewhere.

Uber and Lyft Just Bought a Law in California by Alissa Walker, Curbed
“Prop 22 sets a frightening precedent for labor law by reclassifying gig-economy drivers as a new category of workers — not freelancers, not employees, but something in between.”

Where Does Lyft Go After Its Huge Win in California? by Intelligencer Staff, New York Magazine

Not minding the gap: Does ride-hailing serve transit deserts? by Jesus M. Barajasa and Anne Brown
Highlights: Ride-hailing is not likely being used to fill gaps in transit service in Chicago, lower clustering of ride-hailing trips in neighborhoods of color, inequities decline when controlling for neighborhood and socioeconomic status, ride-hail trips are most associated with high median household income, and transit and ride-hailing may complement each other at select times.


Cashless mobile ticketing fare system rolled out in San Joaquin County by SmartCitiesWorld
Cashless mobile ticketing is integrated into the Vamos mobility app to help make journeys safer, easier and simpler across transit agencies serving San Joaquin County.

Capital Metro pilots fare-capping service on transit app by Tom Phillips, Transit Ticketing Today
Passengers on a low income using Capital Metro bus and rail services in the US city of Austin, Texas, can now apply to join a pilot scheme for a fare-capping service integrated with the transport operator’s CapMetro transit app.

Autonomous Vehicles

Uber in talks to sell its ATG self-driving unit to Aurora – source by Krystal Hu, Reuters
“Uber Technologies Inc is in talks to sell its autonomous driving unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), to self-driving car startup Aurora, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.”

Tesla is putting ‘self-driving’ in the hands of drivers amid criticism the tech is not ready by Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post
Even iPhones have lidar now, but not the cars Tesla hopes to one day make autonomous.

Yellowstone National Park is getting autonomous visitor shuttles by Catherine Sbeglia, RCR Wireless News
“Florida-based autonomous Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) provider Beep announced plans to deploy fully electric autonomous shuttles at Yellowstone National Park. The program, conducted in partnership with the National Parks Service (NPS), will launch in May 2021, just in time for the summer visitor rush. The pilot will test multi-passenger, electric automated vehicle platforms as an eco-friendly form of alternative visitor transportation.”

Planning the transition to autonomous driving: A policy pathway towards urban liveability by Elisabetta Vitale Brovarone, Jacopo Scudellari, and Luca Staricco
Highlights: To prevent undesired impacts, public administrations must govern the transition to AVs; the superblock model can help to steer the transition to AVs towards urban liveability; and immediate action, farsighted planning and cooperation of various sectors are needed.

Vehicle Electrification

President-Elect Biden Wants Zero-Emission Public Transit for Cities With 100,000+ People by Rob Stumpf, The Drive
“Electric cars and urban mobility are on track to being rewritten.”

CapMetro demonstrates interoperability with its electric fleet by Mass Transit
“CapMetro [of Austin Texas] accomplished this milestone by working closely with manufacturers and after months of testing, measuring, reprogramming and validation.”

Ford CEO on launching electric work vans: ‘This is a big deal for us’ by Tyler Clifford, CNBC

Tesla’s Battery Supply Problem by Real Engineering
A dive into the challenges — that are not limited to Tesla — of supplying a world’s demand for batteries.

The DOE and DOT Collaborate to Improve Public Transportation Efficiency and Effectiveness Using Data and Technology
“Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced project selections for $130 million in advanced vehicle technologies research across the United States. Included in the announcement were three transit-centric projects co-funded between DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA).”

Tel Aviv pilots ‘electric road’ in attempt to charge public busses on the fly by Cities Today
“Tel Aviv has launched a pilot project using under-road electric infrastructure to charge public buses. Vehicles are charged dynamically as they travel along the route.”

Mobility as a Service and New Mobility

Are shared vehicles shared by all? by Jennifer Dill, Ph.D.
Research into whether car-, bike- and scooter-sharing systems are equitably accessible. “The bottom line? No, not really, but there is potential.”

First takes first step into MaaS by Ben Spencer, ITS International
“Transportation group First Transit has entered its first partnership with a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provider.” Moovit is the provider for First Transit’s new Jaunt app.

The Shared Use Mobility Center has released a Micromobility Policy Atlas that describes the policy and regulatory environment for micromobility across 26 countries.

How Mobility as a Service Impacts Public Transport Business Models
A discussion paper by Corinne Mulley and John Nelson of the University of Sydney

Mobility as a Service: A New Ambition for Public Transport Authorities
A discussion paper by Yves Crozet, Institute of Political Studies, Lyon

New Routes to Equity: The Future of Transportation in the Black Community by Regan F. Patterson, Ph.D., Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
Recommendations include integrating shared mobility services with public transportation and integrating public transit fare payment methods with shared mobility services.

Research into Technology for Transit Operations

Transit IDEA Project 93: An Open Platform for Transit Agencies to Improve the Quality of Their Real-Time Data by Drew Dara-Abrams, Ph.D.
“This project applies the open-source and open-data community models to the challenges of creating and improving GTFS Realtime data.”

NCHRP Web-Only Document 282: Framework for Managing Data from Emerging Transportation Technologies to Support Decision-Making by Kelley Klaver Pecheux, Benjamin B. Pecheux, and Gene Ledbetter
“[This framework] is designed to walk an agency through the process of developing the knowledge, environment, projects, and buy-in to move incrementally and iteratively from a traditional data management approach to establishing data management policies, procedures, technologies, and practices that fully meet the modern data management needs of an agency.

TCRP Research Report 223 Pre-Publication Draft: Guidebook and Research Plan to Help Communities Improve Transportation to Health Care Services
Many descriptions of how technology is being used to improve medical transportation.

Using data and technology to integrate mobility modes in low-income cities by Dana Yanocha, Jacob Mason, and Jonas Hagen
“The review finds that, enabled by technology and data advances, [low- and lower middle-income cities] could leapfrog the high car use and inefficient urban freight systems typical of higher income cities to more integrated, efficient, multimodal transport systems.”



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 (

Skip to toolbar