Navigating the Strange New World of Mobility

The past four years have seen more change in the way people move around Seattle than the previous 50 years combined. Car share services, carpool matching apps, ridehailing apps, and free-floating bike share are now vital ways to travel around Seattle. This mobility revolution, coupled with our nation-leading growth in transit ridership, is resulting in a robust mobility marketplace with expanded transportation choices that reduce transportation costs and reliance on car ownership.

 

Ebikes hit the Seattle rideshare market earlier this year.

But as more transportation innovations are available to the public, transportation agencies like the Seattle Department of Transportation are faced with complex challenges. Whether it is how to ingest and crunch data from new mobility services, manage changing demands on our curb space, integrate new services with public transit, or ensure these services are available and useful to cost-burdened and historically marginalized communities, city transportation agencies across the nation are grappling with this strange new world of mobility.

Smart Cities

Enter the Transportation for America (T4America) Smart Cities Collaborative. T4America announced today that Seattle will represent one of 22 cities participating in a yearlong collaborative convening to explore how emerging technologies and new mobility options can improve urban transportation and cooperatively tackle the challenges related to implementing smart mobility policies and projects. We are excited to participate with our partner, King County Metro, as we work collaboratively to improve mobility and access in Seattle.

When it comes to accommodating and managing transportation innovation, cities are learning on the fly. SDOT and its national peers are banding together, sharing ideas and lessons learned to solve our common challenges. As our transportation systems are revolutionized with more high quality transit and new on-demand transportation services, cities like Seattle are equipping themselves with the tools needed to anticipate even more dramatic changes on the horizon, like driverless cars, drones, and more.

Transportation choices = new mobility.

More importantly, a platform like the Smart Cities Collaborative allows SDOT to prepare for the future of transportation, while focusing our core on making streets safe for all users, building a fast and reliable transit system, and establishing a bike network suitable for all ages and abilities.