The car-centric culture that developed during the 20th century has well-documented negative impacts on communities, the economy, air quality, and climate. As part of our continued commitment to driving sustainable changes in the mobility landscape, RideAmigos has joined the Shared Mobility Action Network in support of its ambitious agenda for shared mobility in 2030.
The Shared Mobility Action Agenda is a project spearheaded by the Shared-Use Mobility Center. More than 50 high-profile businesses, public-sector organizations, and nonprofit groups have already pledged their participation. The primary objective is to advocate for dramatic, mass-scale improvements in access to sustainable and shared modes of transportation by 2030.
However, the Shared-Use Mobility Center and its partner organizations are not relying on passive approaches to achieve the agenda’s objectives. Instead, the Shared Mobility Action Agenda is built around seven tangible, action-oriented steps to realize its foundational goal.
Sustainable mobility has emerged as an increasingly high-profile public issue in recent years while also making inroads among policymakers. However, investments in shared mobility and other forms of sustainable transportation continue to lag behind. As a consequence, privately owned low-occupancy vehicles continue to persist as a default choice, to the detriment of both the environment and to the physical and mental health of those who rely on them.
The Shared Mobility Action Agenda seeks to make investments in sustainable infrastructure a compulsory component of all publicly funded transportation projects. Over time, such a policy would significantly expand sustainable transportation’s footprint and lead to dramatic improvements in its accessibility, practicality, and performance.
Many shared forms of mobility depend on information technologies, and especially on mobile technologies. A clear example can be seen in the dramatic rise in enterprise and organizational ridesharing programs since the dawn of the smartphone age.
Technology-driven information systems are critical tools for an inclusive, equitable, accessible, and high-functioning shared mobility network. The Shared Mobility Action Agenda advocates for strong, targeted investments in the technological and informational infrastructure needed to bring sustainable transportation solutions into the communities where they are most needed.
Incentives and Support Structures for Shared Mobility
It isn’t easy to get people to make the switch from the perceived convenience of their privately owned vehicles to more sustainable and shared alternatives. Policymakers typically use one of two general approaches to prompt commuters and citizens to make changes: “the stick” and “the carrot.”
Strategies built around “the stick” penalize people for choosing solo driving when alternatives are available. Examples include congestion fees, route tolls, and increased parking costs.
Conversely, approaches based on “the carrot” do the opposite by offering perks and rewards to those who voluntarily choose to ditch the solo drive. As a driver of long-term behavior change, transportation demand management experts generally consider “the carrot” to be the more effective of the two strategic paradigms.
To this end, the Shared Mobility Action Agenda seeks to create incentive programs and distribute access products that will connect households with sustainable transportation options. The underlying theory is that such efforts will reduce and remove the barriers that impede people from shifting modes, thus encouraging higher participation levels in shared and sustainable alternatives.
Metrics and Measurement Standards
A relative lack of standardized metrics for quantifying the community-based impacts of shared mobility programs is one of the main reasons why public investment in these programs continues to lag. In order to justify meaningful investments in sustainable transportation infrastructure, policymakers need to convince the public that investments and expenditures will generate positive returns. Such justifications cannot be made without metrics that specifically measure those returns.
The Shared Mobility Action Agenda seeks to create standards for statistically tracking the ways in which sustainable transportation investments make communities more inclusive. The project also seeks to scale up the use of these statistical metrics so that their positive impacts can be extended beyond the local level.
Reducing Lifecycle Carbon Emissions
On the topic of metrics and measurements, the project also seeks to establish standardized methods for quantifying the carbon emissions reductions achieved by shared mobility vehicles, programs, and technologies. The Shared-Use Mobility Center and its partners believe this will best be done by directly comparing shared modes with legacy modes. This will create “apples to apples” and “oranges to oranges” comparisons, which will more effectively illustrate shared mobility’s positive and quantifiable benefits.
Another positive application of this agenda item relates to its ability to track the emissions levels generated by shared modes and systems in a standardized manner. This, in turn, will facilitate the future development of initiatives and technologies that can further reduce their lifecycle carbon emissions.
Innovative Shared Mobility Funding Models
As with many policy issues, funding and financial feasibility play a major role in deciding which programs receive strong support and which do not. To reflect this reality, the Shared Mobility Action Agenda also seeks to identify and develop novel financing models for building and expanding access to sustainable transportation alternatives.
Expert observers note that many different stakeholders can play a meaningful role in the creation and operation of shared mobility networks. Examples include not only governments and employers, but also transportation authorities, transit operators, land developers, investors, and providers of information technology infrastructure, among others.
The Agenda seeks to find new ways to encourage collaboration among these and other actors, which will hopefully lead to sustained improvements in financing access and funding availability.
The seventh and final action item on the Agenda’s list covers institutional change. Without a foundational commitment to shared mobility and transportation equity at the institutional level, meaningful and long-lasting change cannot be realized.
For this reason, the Shared Mobility Action Agenda considers changing institutional perspectives and processes to be a critical key to the initiative’s success. The Agenda therefore seeks to engage public- and private-sector institutions as part of a broader program to make sustainable mobility alternatives an economically viable and affordable option for people of all income levels and socioeconomic brackets.
The Shared Mobility Action Agenda has instituted a timeline of 2030 for achieving these objectives. By making progress in each of the seven aforementioned areas, shared mobility has the potential to become:
- More available and reliable
- More accessible and equitable
- More economically and environmentally sustainable
The program’s general vision is to make shared and sustainable mobility options better and easier than driving a car.
RideAmigos Is One of More Than 50 Participants in the Shared Mobility Action Agenda for 2030
As of the date of this post’s publications, more than 50 high-profile public, private, and nonprofit organizations have made formal partnership commitments to the Shared Mobility Action Agenda. Members include:
- Mobility providers
- Rideshare companies
- Municipal governments like Grand Rapids, MI; Arlington, VA; Boston, MA; and Denver, CO
- Transit agencies
- Technology companies
- Planning firms
RideAmigos is proud to participate in the Agenda’s important work, which reflects our organization’s shared values and objectives. To learn more about the Shared Mobility Action Agenda, please visit the Shared-Use Mobility Center or visit the Agenda’s official website.
At RideAmigos, we are on a mission to change the way the world commutes, for good. Our commuter engagement apps combine innovative technology with proven principles of behavioral science to empower everyone to make smarter transportation choices. Large employers, universities, and government agencies use our powerful products to reduce congestion, parking demand, and environmental impact while creating healthier, happier communities. We have helped our clients take tens of millions of cars off the road and offset hundreds of millions of pounds of CO2 emissions. Connect with our experts here.