Uber, Lyft and others pledge to improve urban transportation

With the rise of ride-sharing, alternative fuels and ongoing developments in autonomous vehicle technology, transportation is in the midst of a rather drastic transformation, and how we get around in the not too distant future is likely to be very different than how we get around today. But with so many companies working towards a new transportation future, things could get a little messy. To address that concern, over a dozen companies have now committed to 10 Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, a pledge initiated by Zipcar cofounder Robin Chase.

Among the signatories are Lyft, LimeBike, Uber, Zipcar, Ofo, Mobike and Ola and the Shared Mobility Principles website says, “The future of mobility in cities is multimodal and integrated. When vehicles are used, they should be right-sized, shared, and zero emission.” The principles include some expected goals like promoting equity, engaging with stakeholders and transitioning towards renewable energy. But others paint a collaborative picture that may come as a bit of a surprise. The tenth principle, for example, states, “We support that autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets. Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximize public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals, and actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles, parking, and congestion, in line with broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas.”

During a press call yesterday, Joseph Okpaku, Lyft’s vice president of government relations said, “We definitely do envision a future where the vast majority of autonomous vehicle rides will be done as part of a shared network. We think that’s the best way to realize all of the benefits that an autonomous future can bring in terms of rebuilding our cities.” Other principles include goals involving open data, fair user fees, prioritizing people over vehicles and planning cities and transportation alongside each other.

“Transportation is really a gateway to opportunity and cities really have to be places where you want to live, work, and play,” said Chase. “These companies have taken an incredibly bold step by supporting these principles.”