Shared Active Transportation Systems

Posted on August 2, 2018

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Right Now w/ Zach Navin (Linkedin/Twitter)

What I’m doing – Writing Thank You’s

What I’m listening to –  Lizzie McGuire Comes on at 4:00 pm (Nostalgic Spotify playlist)

What I’m watching – It’s summer, go outside.

What I’m reading – Undaunted Courage- Stephen E. Ambrose

“We’re witnessing the biggest revolution in transportation since the dawn of the Jet Age. From Car ride-sharing to bike-sharing to autonomous and electric vehicles of all kinds, and explosion of innovation stands to transform the cities in which we live, improve the environment, and help us get from point A to point B”.

– Travis VanderZanden

CEO & Founder of Bird Company

According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), over the past decade, Shared Active Transportation systems have become a common sight on North American public streets and right-of-way, with 35 million bike share trips taken on 100,000 bike share bikes in 2017. Many of the most intensely-used systems were created through public-private partnerships, or otherwise heavily overseen by local governments. In the past year, however, an increasing number of new providers have begun operating on city streets without strong oversight by local entities, making it difficult to quantify the benefits and impact of these new services.

This has of course created quite the problem in cities across the nation. Just two weeks ago Bird scooters were dropped off in Milwaukee, WI. Surprisingly I first found out about this new ride share venture when I saw that the City was suing the company for operating illegally within city limits. Seems like something the company might try to promote a little more considering @SummerFest, “The World’s Largest Music Festival” was in town and driving a vehicle is the last thing anyone wants to do.

After seeing everyone blow up on @twitter I decided to do a little digging to see what the issue was because I needed to stand by my local government colleagues if they were in the right. It seems that Bird is operating illegally because the City requires such contraptions to be registered, along with a few other licensing issues. The case goes to federal court this week so I’ll have my answer soon enough. Several municipalities have run into issues with shared active transportation companies. It bothers me that there hasn’t been more cooperation. Municipalities want to see these companies come to town but they want them to do it with proper oversight. A city of any size is going to have information that can only help these shared active transportation companies such as; the best locations to place their equipment or ways to get the community involved. They can also work towards some of the goals mentioned by the NACTO.

“In addition to policy areas where all cities should be in alignment, the NACTO Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation detail where cities and policy makers should evaluate conditions at a local level, including parking options—from lock-to requirements to dedicated street space for Shared Active Transportation—and community engagement programs. The guidelines identify incentive-based permitting mechanisms that cities are using to encourage companies to provide service that meets their mobility and equity goals.”

These companies are faced paced companies trying to claim ground as fast as they can but they need to realize the importance of doing it right. I hope they succeed. Because let’s face it, they’re convenient and a blast!


P.S.A… As this poor fella learned, scooters and pot holes do not mix.

Maybe municipalities can use some revenue from these to address potholes?!

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