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Setback for Uber in French EU court case.

Setback for Uber in French EU court case.

France has been a tough market for Uber and, although a final ruling on this issue is still to come, the prospects for Uber in the country don’t look promising at this point.

Uber Technologies Inc. suffered another setback in the European Union after an adviser to the bloc’s top court backed a French law that led to sanctions for top managers in the country. EU nations “may prohibit and punish the illegal exercise of a transport activity such as UberPop without having to notify the” European Commission of the draft law, Maciej Szpunar, an advocate general at the EU Court of Justice, said in a non-binding opinion delivered on Tuesday.

Szpunar rejected Uber’s claims that the rules were invalid because France didn’t notify the EU in advance about the measures, saying in this case such a notification was “unnecessary.”

The legal wrangling adds to the turmoil at Uber, which last month led to the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick. Szpunar already dealt a blow to the troubled company’s fight with authorities in May, saying in a separate case that Uber is more than just an app, and should also be categorized as a transport service, regulated in a similar way to regular taxis.

In Tuesday’s case, the EU court is being asked to give guidance on the legality of changes made to a 2014 French law, which Uber says is targeting apps such as UberPop. The controversial service, no longer offered in the country, let unlicensed drivers use their own car to pick up riders for low fees. The French court asked whether the nation’s failure to flag the rule changes to the EU, a technical requirement for many laws, made it invalid.

In Szpunar’s view, Uber should be considered a transport service. But even if it wasn’t, he still thinks the French law at issue didn’t have to be notified to the EU, because it affects digital services “only in an incidental manner” and “is not directed at regulating” such services specifically, he said. While EU countries control their own transport regulations, they must tell the European Commission about changes to legislation covering digital services. Uber said the rules were a new “technical regulation” that relates to a digital service and as such, the EU should have been notified.

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  • Setback for Uber in France after advice from EU top court.
New US subsidiary for Innogy.

New US subsidiary for Innogy.

Innogy has established a new subsidiary, which is to enter the e-mobility market in the USA. The new company, trading under the name of innogy e-mobility US LLC, will be based in Los Angeles and serve the US market as a provider of technology and services. Business activities will focus on California and other US states that have stipulated zero-emission requirements for new vehicles (Zero Emission Vehicle). Cameron Funk is to manage innogy e-mobility US LLC as its first CEO. His previous role was Director of Business Development for ABM Industries Inc.

Peter Terium, CEO of innogy SE: “We are firm believers in the future of electric mobility. For this reason, innogy is working constantly to drive forward the expansion of clean, climate-friendly mobility. In Germany, we are already the leader in terms of number of charging points. Now we want to continue this success in the U.S. For there too, electric mobility and climate protection are a mega-topic for many states and big cities – and we have the innovative solutions for tomorrow’s traffic.”

Martin Herrmann, COO Retail of innogy SE: “I am delighted that in Cameron Funk we have gained a pioneer in the American e-mobility industry. With his outstanding body of work, network in the industry and comprehensive experience, he will be leading our business in the US market.”

As one of the founding members of the EVCA (Electric Vehicle Charging Association), Cameron Funk has contributed to the progress of electric mobility in the USA. He is very experienced in developing EV Charging programs for major OEM Auto Makers including an extensive public infrastructure EV Charging background. Funk: “I am excited to be given this opportunity to help shape innogy’s entry into the e-mobility market in the USA as a representative of one of the top players in Europe. We have the right products and an excellent, highly motivated team, which will enable us to build a successful future in the USA.”

innogy e-mobility US LLC operates as a technology and service provider in the field of e-mobility. The new company is a wholly owned subsidiary of innogy SE. The company’s portfolio spans the whole length of the value chain, from the production, marketing, supply and construction of charging solutions right up to the operation of charging infrastructure based on its in-house software. innogy also markets a range of additional services in connection with e-vehicle electricity.

Over the course of other collaborations, innogy has already set foot in the US market for e-mobility. Now, with BTCpower, innogy has gained a hardware partner for high-speed charging systems, which have been upgraded with an increased range of functions thanks to the innovative IT system from Germany.

  • Innogy set up a US subsidiary
Worth a look: 44 Corporations working on autonomous vehicles

Worth a look: 44 Corporations working on autonomous vehicles

Beyond trendy names like Tesla and Alphabet chasing self-driving cars, a host of auto brands and other tech heavyweights are also investing heavily in autonomous R&D, CB Insights found.

Private companies working in auto tech are attracting record levels of deals and funding, with autonomous driving startups leading the charge. Besides early-stage startups, VCs, and other investors, large companies are also eagerly chasing a slice of the self-driving pie.

Using CB Insights’ investment, acquisition, and partnership data, we identified 44 companies developing roadgoing self-driving vehicles. They are a diverse group of players, ranging from automotive industry stalwarts to leading technology brands and telecommunications companies.

This list is organized alphabetically and focuses on larger corporate players in the space (as opposed to earlier-stage startups). Companies working on industrial autonomous vehicles were not included in this analysis.

A few of the companies or brands listed below belong to the same parent organization, but are detailed separately if they are operating distinct autonomous development programs. Some companies are also grouped together by key partnerships or alliances; given the complex web of relationships between these players, other collaborations are also noted in each profile.

Find the complete list here:

  • The number of companies involved with autonomous driving is growing fast.
Inside Uber’s unsettling alliance with some of New York’s shadiest car dealers

Inside Uber’s unsettling alliance with some of New York’s shadiest car dealers

Geovanie Rosario signed the lease because it was easy. Tower Auto Mall came recommended by Uber, as one of four dealers the ride-hailing company partnered with in New York City to offer “flexible and affordable” rentals and lease-to-own contracts to drivers. Rosario went to see Tower one morning in May 2016 and started driving a black Lincoln MKS, New York City’s standard car-service vehicle, a week later. His contract included a $3,000 service fee and weekly payments of $495 for 159 weeks, or just over three years. Tower would take the payments directly out of his Uber earnings every Monday.

Rosario had quit his position as an assistant manager at Rent-A-Center, a job with benefits and a 401(k), to drive for Uber in March 2015. Rent-A-Center paid $12.25 an hour, and, based on Uber’s ads, he figured he could double that by becoming a driver. He had tried a couple of car rental options and, by the time he went to Tower, felt confident he could make enough to come out ahead.

But a month into his lease Rosario fell ill with pneumonia. He tried to keep driving, worried his payments would pile up, but he couldn’t control his cough. With no health insurance, it was hard to get treated, and what little money he did make went straight to his lease. It was late June when Rosario felt well enough to start working full-time again. By then he was $1,800 in debt. When he tried to start up the Lincoln, its alarm sounded.

“That’s when I realized they’d turned the car off,” Rosario said. He called Tower to ask why the dealer had remotely deactivated his vehicle. “They said, ‘You have to make a payment.’”

Uber upended the global, $100 billion taxi market, achieving a valuation of nearly $70 billion, with an app that hails a car at the touch of a button. But the company still struggles to recruit and retain the more than 1.5 million drivers worldwide who make that business possible.

The auto dealers Uber partners with target people with poor credit who otherwise might not be able to buy a car or get a loan.

It has attracted them with hefty signup bonuses and the promise of good pay, then cut rates and increased its own commission. It has advertised “being your own boss” but glossed over the fact that independent contractors don’t get benefits or a guaranteed minimum wage. Uber has been sued repeatedly by drivers who allege they were misclassified as contractors rather than employees. It settled with the US Federal Trade Commission earlier this year for misleading drivers about their potential earnings. It paid back tens of millions of dollars to drivers in New York City in May after admitting it for years shortchanged them on wages.

In recent months, Uber’s treatment of drivers has been almost completely forgotten amid a series of internal scandals. The company has lost nearly a dozen top executives so far this year, including founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct. It fired more than 20 employees as the result of a harassment probe in early June. Kalanick stepped down on June 20 after five major shareholders demanded his immediate resignation. He has retained a seat on Uber’s board of directors.

As it desperately tries to right itself, Uber has turned to its drivers, long a source of its harshest criticism. The same day Kalanick resigned, the company launched a campaign to improve the driver experience, titled “180 Days of Change.” But some of its past practices towards those drivers might be difficult to untangle.

Read more:

  • Uber has turned its attention to drivers again – but not in the right way.
Experience the future of mobility in the Mobility Lab – opened in Karlsruhe

Experience the future of mobility in the Mobility Lab – opened in Karlsruhe

Design the future and try it out today: In cooperation with the City of Karlsruhe, PTV Group has established a Mobility Lab, which was officially opened on 22 June 2017. Here, various traffic planning and model solutions will be linked to one another and to other solutions in order to try out new ideas and approaches as well as their effects on cities and regions everywhere in the world.

From real-time solutions for traffic and transport planning to new, need-based mobility services (Mobility as a Service). A mobility laboratory that brings together international researchers, planners, decision-takers, operators and service providers.

With the Mobility Lab, the company would like to make a contribution to developing Karlsruhe into a smart city. Using the example of Karlsruhe, future-oriented solutions can also be revealed for other cities. Thus, the PTV Mobility Lab should bring together various developers and users of tools and models in order to link PTV software programs with one another and combine them with other products. In the process, the Mobility Lab offers a development and presentation environment that can also be used by other service providers and for other users. Therefore, it is also suitable for real-time applications from other cities where local public transport has also been incorporated into traffic management.

The heart of the Mobility Lab is the Karlsruhe traffic management system based on PTV Optima software. In this system, based on a down-to-the-hour transport model of the city of Karlsruhe, the PTV online detector data is provided with the traffic planning software. It comes from the city traffic control system from Siemens. In addition, data is provided by various commercial data suppliers such as Here, INRIX, MotionLogic and TomTom. Thanks to the linking of these models and data in the real-time traffic management system PTV Optima, there are a multitude of functionalities for transport planners.

Thus, for example, the traffic situation on the entire road network – even in places for which there is no measurement data – can be calculated and estimated (propagation). PTV Optima also allows planners to prepare short-term predictions of the traffic situation on the entire network in 15-minute intervals for up to 60 minutes in advance. Here, foreseeable incidents such as construction sites or events, as well as non-foreseeable incidents such as accidents can be taken into account to predict the traffic situation.

Another important aspect are action scenarios that can be developed in the Mobility Lab to react to the various incidents – by changing the service offerings, for example, or adjusting signal programs for traffic lights at intersections or coordinating them so that there is a “green wave.” The action scenarios also include the switching of variable message signs and the influencing of traffic demand through messages on the radio, Internet or in navigation systems. In addition, the effects of various action scenarios can be simulated online in order to select the best course of action. This last step, that is, the development, selection and implementation of measures in the city of Karlsruhe, is actually the responsibility of its specialist departments and institutions (Traffic Department in the Civil Engineering Office). Here, PTV offers its support and the Mobility Lab.

At the official opening of the Mobility Lab on 22 June, PTV not only showed its guests the traffic management system for Karlsruhe with its short-term predictions and scenario assessment. Applications from other cities and new services in the course of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) were also presented. Another highlight: a solution for integrated and interactive city planning created by combining PTV Visum and the Urban Strategy tool from the Dutch research institution TNO. Based on changes in the network or the area network, this solution allows noise and pollutant emissions from traffic to be calculated online, including their dispersal and their effects on the city’s population.

  • On June 22 PTV opened its Mobility Lab: the whole city of Karlsruhe.
How cheap will self-driving taxi services really be?

How cheap will self-driving taxi services really be?

Dobromir Montauk is a builder of high-performing computer & human systems. In his blog ‘Car-volution’ he examines the cost of the self driving taxi:

I put this analysis together in March 2016 after many discussions with my father and friends about when self-driving cars were going to drastically change society. While most of them now agree it’s inevitable many still argue it’s 20 or even 40 years out (using the average age of U.S. cars as the primary variable).

My key insight is that electric vehicles + self-driving tech might create economic conditions where consumers abandon the vehicles already sitting in their driveways. This could drastically speed up adoption — my model says 5 years after self-driving tech is city-safe.

This also means that all the models for electric car adoption are wrong since it will not be driven by consumer purchasing/price-sensitivity but rather by amortized fleet cost. Disclaimer: I’ve invested in Tesla because of this belief and am long on Google hoping that they’ve finally got their shit together with Waymo. The Uber lawsuit is a good sign they care :

I am publishing this now because I ran into a deep analysis from RethinkX that finally gets it right. My numbers are simpler to digest although their model is more complete. Everything below is my own work and put down before reading that analysis.

Let’s start with a standard ICE and give it optimistic specs: 30 MPG, lifetime of 250,000 miles, for $40,000. Our per-mile cost comes out to:

  • Vehicle: 16c
  • Gas @ $2.50/gallon: 8.3c
  • Insurance: 4c (my Metromile insurance is 3.2c/mile + $20/month)
  • Tires: 1c ($600/60K miles is doable)
  • Oil: 0.5c ($50 oil change every 10K miles)
  • Other maintenance: 4c ($10K seems reasonable for a vehicle worth $40K)
  • Taxes/fees: irrelevant (CA has about $100/year, and for 10K miles/year that’s 1c/mile — and these vehicles will be driving a lot more!)

That comes out to 33.8c/mile, which is lower than the 54c/mile than the IRS per-mile rate. So our estimate is probably generous to ICEs.

Electric vehicles have a much higher up-front cost because of their batteries and much lower maintenance cost because of the lack of moving parts. Most importantly, they will last a lot longer!

Tesla provides an infinite mile battery + drive warranty for 8 years — standard. Other maintenance is trivial and could probably be done for ½ of what Tesla charges, so say $500/50K miles. If we can get 1,000,000 miles out of the vehicle that gives us the following cost breakdown:

  • Vehicle: 10c ($100K Tesla for 1M miles)
  • Electricity: 4.5c
  • Insurance: 4c
  • Tires: 1c
  • Other maintenance: 1c

That gives us 20.5c/mile.

Add in the the self-driving magic:

  • Insurance should drop dramatically — say, 1c/mile. No more accidents!
  • A Tesla can do 350 miles/day on a single charge. So it can charge during the cheapest possible time: at night. PG&E has special rates with <$0.12/kWh which shaves another .5c.

Now we’re down to 17c/mile. Today, Uber is charging 85c/mile in POOL (+ other fees). It would cost me >$40 to go 30 miles from my home in Redwood City to Twitter HQ or about $1.25/mile total. This clearly isn’t worth it when I can take Caltrain for $3.40 with a pass ($5 without).

With a self-driving, electric vehicle, Uber could charge me $0.20/mile, make a profit, and I’d pay $6 to commute in a private Tesla while I watch Netflix. Damn. What about the already-paid-for car in my garage? Without the 16c depreciation cost (we all forget the sunk-costs fallacy!) I’m “feeling” 17.8c/mile (my estimate) or up to 38c/mile (IRS estimate) driving it. So wait: just getting into that self-driving Tesla that showed up is cheaper than getting into my own car. Holy shit.

My prediction: the moment I can hail that robocar the market for second vehicles evaporates. Primary vehicles will survive longer because of consumer inertia/robocars won’t work for all purposes (road-trips, hauling furniture in your truck, etc), although my guess is mileage will drop even on primary vehicles (why pay for parking or skip that martini?). The U.S. has about ~2 cars/household and 255M cars so >100M cars will suddenly be abandoned. I think the limiting factor will be how quickly can robocars be rolled out.

This will have to happen in a market-at-a-time, Uber-style, because consumers want their vehicle quickly once they request it. So some cities/areas will “flip” before others. How long to convert the entire U.S.?

Tesla won’t need to build 100M cars of course: utilization will be much, much higher. Today, we can estimate a normal vehicle gets about 15,000 miles/year or about 40 miles/day. Our robocar could probably replace 10 vehicles: 18 hours at 25mph, or 400 miles seems reasonable. This may even be a low estimate since carpooling (much improved with everyone using robocars!) could replace 2–3 vehicles per trip. If we use 10x that means we’ll need 10M cars, distributed across the U.S.

Read more:

Is the ‘Transport Revolution’ on its way to Denmark?

Is the ‘Transport Revolution’ on its way to Denmark?

A Finnish company is ready to invest millions in a smarter transport, but wants political leadership. The government is now opening the doors for development. Copenhagen has all the prerequisites for becoming a global showcase for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) technology, which is believed to revolutionize our transportation habits. This is what follows from the forward-looking Finnish service, MaaS Global, declaring itself ready to invest millions of euros in spreading the service in the capital.

“Copenhagen will be one of the most prominent places to get started – it has the potential to become a showcase for the whole world to change mobility. The area is big enough and isolated, transportation is good and the population is open to innovation. We are more than ready to open an office, but we have nothing unless we have the confidence and openness of the partners – transport providers and politicians, “says Sampo Hietanen, Managing Director of MaaS Global.

“Copenhagen will be possible for us to enter into this year. But it’s all about the will of the actors, and I’m not pushing them because we are experiencing very high demand at the moment. But cities and governments should take ownership of the vision, because the transport market will be disrupted (revolutionized, ed.), Whether they want it or not. The question is how it gets disrupted; It’s time to make the rules of the game and it requires political leadership, “says Sampo Hietanen, one of the fathers of MaaS Technology, who was in a conference on sustainable innovation at the British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark on Wednesday.

The public transport sector in Denmark has seen the potential in technology, but has so far been unsure of how far the market was moving forward. In the autumn of 2016 the public transport company Movia and Copenhagen Municipality asked potential service providers to inform them of their readiness and interest in a possible tender. Now Movia concludes that the market is flourishing, and therefore the idea of ​​a traditional supply is dropped.

“Together with other mobility providers, like DSB and taxi companies, we agree that MaaS is the way forward and we are now confident that the market is ready to deliver. The Finnish company is welcome – we will not keep anyone back – and we will invite the market to start developing solutions, together with us and other traffic providers,” says Anette Enemark, Movia Mobility Manager. Movia will also invest in launching pilot projects as soon as possible.

Read more (Danish original):ære-på-vej-til-Danmark

  • The Danish public transport company Movia is ready to start up MaaS-pilot projects.
Ridesharing used to supplement not replace personal vehicles, finds Strategy Analytics

Ridesharing used to supplement not replace personal vehicles, finds Strategy Analytics

With the rise of Uber and alternate transport options for consumers, OEMs are rightfully concerned about the impact the increased usage of these options will have on consumers’ interest in purchasing future vehicles.

A new report from the Automotive Connected Mobility (ACM) service at Strategy Analytics “Impact of Ride Sharing Frequency on Vehicle Purchase Intention“, has found that ridesharing usage may not negatively impact the future vehicle purchase intention of current vehicle owners.

Click here for report:

Key report findings include:

  • Ridesharing usage actually increased the likelihood that current vehicle
  • owners would purchase another vehicle within the next five years. This was true across the US, Europe, and China.
  • Frequent ridesharing users that also own their own vehicle had greater transportation needs than those that don’t. Ridesharing fills a niche that is convenient but will not supplant their personal vehicle.
  • Millennials that had no children and used ridesharing at least once a week were less likely to purchase another vehicle within the next five years than all respondents that had children.

“The question of how emerging transportation options like ridesharing and car-sharing will impact vehicle sales is a very complex one to answer. Issues of cost, convenience, usability, privacy, type of journey, and length of journey all impact transportation choices,” commented Chris Schreiner, report author and Director of Syndicated Research, UXIP. “Frequent ridesharing users do not seem likely to delay their next vehicle purchase, but it is still possible that they might choose a less expensive or lower class vehicle. Alternatively, they may choose to downsize their fleet from three vehicles to two.”

Added Kevin Nolan, VP UXIP, “However, it is prudent to note that external factors such as ridesharing competition reducing end user costs, expanded availability and autonomous taxis, all have the ability to negatively affect consumers’ future purchase decisions.”

• New report: “Ridesharing does not replace personal vehicles.”

Unregulated robot cars pose unprecedented risks and costs, consumer watchdog report warns

Unregulated robot cars pose unprecedented risks and costs, consumer watchdog report warns

Robot cars operating without mandatory safety, security, privacy and ethical standards will pose unprecedented risks to the American public, Consumer Watchdog warned in a report, Self-Driving Vehicles: The Threat to Consumers.

The report is being issued in conjunction with a day-long program, Driverless Cars: The Legal Landscape, sponsored by George Washington University Law School and a hearing by the Senate Commerce Committee, Paving the Way for Self-Driving Vehicles.

Harvey Rosenfield, Consumer Watchdog Founder, Joan Claybrook, Former Public Citizen President and Former NHTSA Administrator and John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director, submitted the report to the formal written record of the Commerce Committee hearing. All three are panelists in the GW Law program.

“No one disputes that the evolution of motor vehicle technology has the potential to prevent deaths, injuries and property damage. New technologies such as automatic emergency braking, lane keeping, collision warning, and assisted parking are already doing so, and indeed should be made standard equipment in all vehicles,” the report said. “The point is that the gradual automation of driving will introduce a new set of risks. These risks will necessarily be far broader than those posed by vehicles today – suggesting that the ramifications for liability and insurance will be significant. A fully autonomous robot-based transportation system will likely reduce the number of crashes caused by human error, but that does not tell us anything about the overall impact of a fully autonomous system.”

Read Self-Driving Vehicles: The Threat to Consumers here:

“Lost in the hyperbole over robot cars is a realistic assessment of the likely costs to both consumers and taxpayers particularly over the coming decades, when robot cars and human drivers will share a ‘hybrid highway,” the letter to the Senate Committee said.

The letter also expressed dismay at the Committee’s failure to include any representatives of consumer groups among the witnesses called to speak at the hearing.

“The witness panel includes a spokesman for auto manufacturers, a representative of a company developing robot car technology, and organization developing a test center for robot car technology. A spokesman for MADD has the laudable, but narrow, agenda of combating drunk driving.  This is an industry-dominated panel with no representatives of auto safety or consumer protection organizations,” the letter said.

Read the letter to the Senate Committee here:

To deal with the challenge posed by autonomous vehicle technology, Consumer Watchdog believes six principles must be adopted.  Outlined in the report and letter they are: Protect the civil justice system; Enact stronger state consumer protections against insurance company abuses; Enact auto safety standards; Stronger laws are needed to protect consumers’ privacy; Bar federal interference in state consumer protection laws; Respect democratic and human values.

“Congress must not succumb to the siren song of the autonomous car developers who are over promising what autonomous vehicle technology can do today.  We call on you to require the development of enforceable federal safety performance standards. Responsible regulation goes hand-in-hand with innovation. Voluntary “standards” in the auto industry have repeatedly been proven to be weak and insufficient.  Safety must come before the automakers’ bottom lines. Consumer Watchdog calls on you to enact the necessary regulations to protect the safety of our highways.”

  • Consumer Watchdogs warns for unregulated ‘robot cars’
ITF Corporate Partnership Board releases report on shaping the relationship between public transport and innovative mobility

ITF Corporate Partnership Board releases report on shaping the relationship between public transport and innovative mobility

The report ‘Shaping the relationship between public transport and innovative mobility’ investigates the convergence of public transport and innovative mobility solutions, such as ride services, car- and bicycle-sharing, app-enabled on-demand micro-bus services, and platforms that connect app-using travellers and drivers. It examines the role of public authorities in ensuring this convergence supports commercial innovation as well as public policy objectives and identifies principles to guide partnerships between innovative mobility services and public transport operators.

The report also explores where action may be needed to ensure that this convergence does not lead to reduced mobility options for those that have difficulty using existing transport modes, and in particular, how the needs of an ageing population may be met in an evolving mobility service landscape.

This study was organised under the auspices of the International Transport Forum’s Corporate Partnership Board (CPB). It is based on a workshop with commercial actors, public authorities and other experts that took place in November 2016, and interviews with various officials and experts as well as input from CPB member companies. Additionally, extensive desk research for this study was carried out by the International Transport Forum.

What the working group discovered: The rapid deployment of new types of mobility services has the potential to change the way in which urban mobility and access are delivered. This will have an impact on the nature of public transport. The convergence of public transport and ride services in particular provides an opportunity to deliver better mobility outcomes for a broader share of the population. At the same time it poses clear risks to the provision of equitable and sustainable mobility for all.

Ride services like those offered by Didi Chuxing, Grab, Lyft, Ola, Uber and other innovative mobility options – including app-based microtransit platforms like Chariot and car- and bicycle-sharing – account for a small share of trips in most urban areas. Nonetheless, they are starting to have an impact of trip-making behaviour where they are present and are starting to be seen as a potential complement for first and last mile connections. In low density regions difficult to service with public transport and areas where public transport is available but quality is perceived to be lacking, ride services may also come to be seen as an alternative.

Some public transport operators and authorities are already exploring partnerships with app-enabled mobility services. Most of these initiatives are taking place in the United States – partly because of the popularity of ride services there, partly because many urban areas there have difficulty providing attractive public transport. Many of the partnerships described in this report are pilot projects or promotional campaigns and at present there is no evidence for a permanent shift in public transport service delivery towards structural partnerships with ride services. Nonetheless, authorities and ride-service operators are using these pilots to test new ways of improving mobility outcomes where it is difficult to provide quality public transport.

Co-operation with ride services is unlikely to save poor-quality public transport, however. Providing first and last mile connections via ride services to poor quality (i.e. unreliable, crowded, slow, infrequent) public transport will not suffice to attract users to public transport; it certainly seems unlikely to entice car users to switch. Such co-operations may result in cost savings for public transport operators in certain contexts. But introducing ride services alone will not reverse a decline in ridership if the overall service offer does not result in improved outcomes for travellers.

The group recommends:

Focus on improving overall mobility outcomes, not just on lowering public transport costs

Replacing more expensive, less demand-responsive and less flexible public transport with less expensive, more demand-responsive and more flexible ride services (or other combinations of innovative mobility services) can free funds that public transport operators could allocate to improving service quality. Cost savings should not be the only motivation for seeking synergies between ride services and public transport. These synergies can be leveraged to provide improved outcomes for travellers while at the same time allowing public authorities to deliver on important public policy objectives such as improved equity, reduced congestion and improved environmental outcomes.

Set a vision for urban transport that includes full integration of innovative mobility options

Public policy is best served when it is framed within a coherent set of visions and goals. These should be incorporated into a publicly vetted plan that sets out how authorities intend to deliver on these goals despite fast-changing circumstances. This is the case with the public policy approach to innovative mobility services, automated driving and generally how digitally-driven changes may fundamentally challenge the concept of public transport. One good example of this type of plan is the city of Los Angeles’ “Urban Mobility Plan in a Digital Age” that re-orients the focus to Mobility as a Service.

Ensure partnerships between public transport and innovative mobility operators to improve mobility for all people, including those with disabilities

If innovative mobility services complement or replace accessible mainstream public transport, they will need to provide at least the same degree of spontaneity and flexibility to travel when the individual wants or needs. Where frequent accessible buses and on-street hail taxis are available, licensed ride services must not erode overall levels of accessible transport. App-based ride services can improve overall accessibility by better matching supply of accessible vehicles and demand – but only if the design of the service and of the partnership takes into account the specific needs of travellers with impairments.

Target low-performing or costly routes, and leverage government assets to guide convergence

Where public transport is expensive and service quality is low, replacing certain poorly-performing, expensive bus services may increase the overall attractiveness of public transport. By undertaking inventories of existing public transport routes to examine the potential for alternative service delivery models, public authorities and public transport operators can evaluate where synergies with innovative mobility services are strongest. Governments can also leverage assets they control to guide this convergence: Re-allocating parking space at public transport hubs, for instance, can improve the convenience of trips by public transport combined with rides-services; as can the creation of curb-side pick-up and drop-off zones.

Split regulatory oversight from operation of urban transport and adapt procurement practices

The governance of public transport will play an essential role in either facilitating or impeding the convergence of traditional and innovative mobility services, and of ride services in particular. Split responsibilities complicate the task of aligning outcomes. For instance the regulation of ride services may be in the hands of an authority in charge of taxi or for-hire services, while public transport regulation may fall under a completely different authority. Governance models that unify regulatory oversight and planning functions, define quality outcomes and performance objectives, and set contractual relationships to deliver these across a wide range of mobility operators may accelerate the integration of these into a co-ordinated ecosystem. Procurement rules for ride services and platform-based micro-transit services, however, will have to adapt to the specificities of these services. In particular, this will require a focus on outcomes (e.g. average wait times) versus strict service delivery (e.g. on-time performance).

Mitigate innovation risk for new services through pilots and portfolio management

Public authorities must ensure that public expenditure delivers value to citizens. This is understandable, but can also hamper their ability to engage in innovative arrangements where the value for the public is initially uncertain. Time-bound pilot projects contain this risk, and many jurisdictions in the United States have used these. Public agencies might also create public-private “innovation laboratories” that manage a portfolio of new projects to help identify interesting initiatives. National authorities can help as well, by creating dedicated programmes to help fund trials that have the potential for widespread replication. A good example is the US Federal Transit Agency’s “Mobility on Demand Sandbox” programme. Another option to avoid the risk of lock-in with single service providers is for public authorities to implement user-side subsidies rather than supplier-side subsidies.

Incentivise age- and disability-friendly interactions in partnerships between public transport and ride-service operators

Ageing has a major influence on disability trends. These, in turn, will have an impact on the ability of an ageing population to remain mobile and enjoy good access to services, opportunities and other people. Many older people are affected by impairments including loss of visual acuity, loss of hearing, short-term memory loss or difficulties in balancing. The design and delivery of partnerships between public transport and ride services must take this development into account so as not to exclude older people and those with disabilities. Public authorities should generally ensure that innovative services meet the needs of the population as a whole on an inclusive basis. Incentives for ride-services to deploy wheelchair-accessible vehicles, appropriate levels of training for drivers, call centres for bookings and questions for users with special needs and innovative contracts between operators and public authorities to improve para-transit services (like in Boston) are examples for how this can be achieved.

  • ITF-report: New relationship between public transport and innovative mobility.