The Future of Transportation is Now: Seattle Plans Ahead for New Mobility Innovations

SDOT has proudly released the New Mobility Playbook, a forward-thinking guide for Seattle and other cities across the nation in preparing for future innovation in transportation technology. When it comes to autonomous vehicles, for example—or dare we mention it, flying robot vehicles—how does a city embrace new technologies without changing the way we live, or compromising our regulations and quality of life?

Tough question, right? Well, the New Mobility Playbook offers sound strategies for future innovations. The Playbook features five core “plays” that structure the approach to new technologies and spur inventive and effective solutions:

  • Play 1: Ensure new mobility delivers a fair and just transportation system for all
  • Play 2: Enable safer, more active, and people-first uses of the public right-of-way
  • Play 3: Reorganize and retool SDOT to manage innovation and data
  • Play 4: Build new information and data infrastructure so new services can “plug and play”
  • Play 5: Anticipate, adapt to, and leverage innovative and disruptive transportation technologies

If you recall, during the turn of the 20th century… well, maybe you don’t recall. But anyway, picture it – early 1900’s, automobiles and airplanes were the new thing.

Seneca Street in 1911. Photo from the Museum of History and Industry.

Rapidly growing cities in the U.S. were challenged by the first motor vehicle. But the innovation kept coming – by 1910, the first mass produced double-decker bus began service and eventually, motor buses would replace horse-drawn, steam, or trolley buses that were already in service in many cities around the world. City planners were forced to design cities around the needs and demands that came with the advent of motor vehicles.

Needless to say, we compromised our green space, and several other life quality factors to make way for technology. As transportation becomes increasingly shared, active, self-driving, electric, and data-driven, Seattle is planning ahead to ensure that innovation contributes to a safe, equitable, sustainable city with a transportation system that serves everyone.

According to Stonly Baptiste, partner at Urban US Ventures, “Seattle shares all-too-common transportation challenges, but innovators will benefit from reading this report and understanding the city’s unique priorities and vision for the future of mobility.”

We encourage you to check it out the Playbook for yourself, and be sure to leave feedback on any of the plays. We’d love to get your input!