The Mobility Hub

Your weekly guide to the latest in shared mobility

SUMC News and Announcements

 

Funding for transit
(Now that’s worthy of top billing)

President Biden presented the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on January 20. It was signed into law on March 11 and $30.5 billion was allocated for public transportation. But the needs are far greater than this.

Several new Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding programs from ARPA have been announced in the last few days—and we hope this is only the beginning.

American Rescue Plan Additional Assistance FY 2021
For: Costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, and sanitization combating the spread of pathogens on transit systems, and debt service payments incurred to maintain operations and avoid layoffs and furloughs.
Deadline: November 8, 2021

Route Planning Restoration Program
For: Planning designed to increase ridership and reduce travel times, while maintaining or expanding the total level of vehicle revenue miles of service provided in the planning period; or make service adjustments to increase the quality or frequency of service provided to low-income riders and disadvantaged neighborhoods or communities.
Deadline: November 15, 2021

Did you visit the Mobility Innovation Collaborative website?

The Mobility Innovation Collaborative website launched last week! Visit the website to learn more about the Mobility Innovation Collaborative and the transportation organizations working on innovative mobility projects funded by FTA’s AIM and IMI Grants.

Mobility Justice

A highway corridor in Charleston, SC displaces about 100 homes and businesses in a Black and Brown community. Sadly, this isn’t in reference to the 1969-built freeway in North Charleston, but another proposed in 2021 that brings the same destruction. When will cities learn?

Residents in Gum Springs and Fairfax County, VA are facing similar injustices due to a proposed road widening that would double Richmond Highway to 13 lanes, creating dangerous conditions for those walking or biking. In the spirit of a protest against highway expansion nearly 54 years earlier in the region, protestors marched down the road with a casket.

Minneapolis, on the other hand, just celebrated the reopening of a pedestrian bridge by featuring local art, music, theatre performances, and community outreach (in partnership with MNDOT) to celebrate the reconnection of Mexican and Black communities divided by the construction of Interstate 35W in the ’50s.

Ridehailing/Carsharing/Carpooling 

Uber drivers are now considered employees in The Netherlands according to a recent ruling by The Court of Amsterdam, which sets requirements for pay and benefits for the ridehailing company. Uber is appealing the decision and “has no plans to employ drivers” in the country.

Texas-based carpooling app Hitch is setting up shop in Polk County, FL to expand its presence in the state and “fill those empty seats” with discounted rides between 50 – 350 miles for up to three passengers.

Meanwhile, the higher price Kenyan women have to pay just for safety and security when hailing a ride is looking like just another “pink tax”.

Lastly Waymo, the autonomous vehicle unit owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc., is expanding in San Francisco—by subleasing office space from Uber. (The companies previously shared space in a courtroom over AV-tech secrets. They settled in 2018.) As for Waymo, it’s been offering fully driverless taxi rides in AZ for about a year.

Bikesharing & Micromobility

Incorporating the sun, bikes, and a sustainable mission driven by data, the 6,000-mile SunPedal Ride is trekking across the US (even making a recent stop in Chicago) with a solar-powered e-bike and help from mobility analytics company StreetLight Data to show the power of emission-free transportation and how far it can go—and they’re already 1,500 miles in!

Mobility management company Blue Systems will lead the new dockless scooter pilot in the Bronx, in partnership with NYC DOT, that could bring up to 6,000 scooters by operators Bird, Lime and Veo in its second phase.

Transit

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s almost markup time for the transportation and infrastructure title of the Build Back Better act, meaning almost $20.15 billion could be coming in 2022 for passenger rail and transit funding, higher education mobility research, local surface transportation priorities, and affordable housing access.

The East Village Transit Center in Kansas City is giving “blessings” to residents in the form of community services as RideKC, the local library, Metropolitan Community College and the Full Employment Council create monthly events for the community while showcasing the new resources available in the Transit Center.

How do you change what people think about public transport?  A new McKinsey study of 25 cities’ transport systems finds that expanding networks and infrastructure to keep travel options available and affordable, dedicated public-transit lanes and digitalization to increase efficiency and convenience, sustainable investment and policy, and better communication is needed to increase positive perception—and ridership.

Technology

A new study found that the rare metals used in electric vehicles and wind power require extraction that emits relatively large amounts of carbon dioxide—up to 29% of the emission reductions achieved through these clean technologies. The solution: resource efficiency and recycling.

Toledo, Ohio’s TARTA is about to get some much-needed technology upgrades after the transit system received $3 million in federal and state grant funds, some of which will go to implementing digital information screens, automatic passenger counting sensors and systems, and Enterprise Asset Management software.

Looking at our neighbors up north, Whitby, Ontario wants to make mobility history with plans for the longest driverless shuttle route in North America that will cover 6 kilometers (~3.7 miles) and integrate with public transit and smart city systems.

Sustainability

We live in a car-centric country where transportation is the #1 cause of carbon emissions—but we don’t have to. We need to fight for politicians and policies that create safer streets for bikes and pedestrians, support mixed-use development over single-family zoning, and that de-incentivize driving.

Speaking of politicians, IL Governor JB Pritzker signed historic legislation that gives the state the nation’s leading climate action plan—that aims for a carbon-free electric grid and phasing out coal and natural gas power plants by 2045, and includes $700 million for a nuclear plant subsidy.

“We can’t outrun or hide from climate change,” Pritzker said. “There is no time to lose. But what we can and must do, is fight to stop and even reverse the damage that’s been done to our climate.”

On this note, after a one-year pandemic delay, the UN Change Conference (COP26) could be the world’s “best last chance” to get a grip on the climate crisis as leaders are coming together in Glasgow, Scotland this November to discuss individual nations’ emissions goals and carbon-cutting plans. Aye.

Project Funding Opportunities

RFP: Emergency Management Plan Template for Michigan Rural Public Transit Agencies
Michigan Department of Transportation
Deadline: September 27

RFP: Community Mobility Read-to-Launch Grants
National Center for Mobility Management
Deadline: October 15

Invitation for Bid: Purple Line Bus Rapid Transit Construction Project
Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo)
Deadline: October 28
Email Dave Adamson at dadamson@indygo.net

RFP: Micro Transit Program
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Cleveland, OH
Responses Due: October 29

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