November 2019 Technology Updates

  • Author: Kevin Chambers
  • Date: November 12, 2019

New In the Podcast Playlist

On the City of the Future podcast: "Hear Horace Dediu talk micro-mobility; Bibiana McHugh tell the stories of GTFS and OpenTrip Planner; Sampo Hietanen explain Mobility as a Service (MaaS); and Sidewalk Labs' Corinna Li imagine what mobility could be like in the city of the future." For a link-rich transcript of this episode, visit

On The Disruptors podcast: Jarrett Walker on why "Elon Musk’s Wrong, Driverless Cars Make Things Worse and Buses are the Future of Transportation"

The playlist is hosted on the ListenNotes service. From the playlist page located here, you can listen to the episodes directly from your browser or click the “subscribe” button to add it to your podcasting app.

Acquisition and Investment Roundup

BP Invests in City Transportation App Whim by Ron Bousso, Reuters

Just $11 million, but a noteworthy move from an oil and gas company.

TNCs/Ride Sourcing Companies

Are ride-hailing regulations going national? by Chris Teale, Smart Cities Dive

At least incrementally, yes they are.

Ride-hailing tax squeaking through by Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF

And here's an example: Proposition D in San Francisco, "which would fund public transit via an extra fee on trips with ride-hailing apps."

Inequality Is Slowing Cities to a Crawl by Angie Schmitt, The Atlantic

"As big cities face a mobility crisis, tech companies are selling wealthy urbanites on the fantasy of escaping it."

Fleet Electrification

6 US regions leading the way on electric buses by Jason Plautz, Smart Cities Dive

That would be Seneca South Carolina; Chicago; Seattle, Albuquerque, Twin Rivers California, and Cambridge Massachusetts, according to this report by United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and Environment America.

Electric revolution: As EV demand increases, can utilities and cities keep up? by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

As the hopes for EVs grows, utilities have a lot of work to do.

527 km on a single charge for the Iveco e-Way in controlled conditions by Sustainable Bus

Autonomous Vehicles

Consumers want to maintain control of AVs: survey by Jason Plautz, Smart Cities Dive

"What we’ve been finding is the biggest hurdle to adoption for consumers of automated vehicles is understanding and trusting the technology."

Uber’s Self-Driving Car Didn’t Know Pedestrians Could Jaywalk by Aaron Marshall, Wired

"[The car] never guessed Herzberg was on foot for a simple, galling reason: Uber didn’t tell its car to look for pedestrians outside of crosswalks. 'The system design did not include a consideration for jaywalking pedestrians,' the NTSB’s Vehicle Automation Report reads." This demonstrates a key fact about AVs specifically and artificial intelligence generally: that they can only be as intelligent as the training they receive and the test environments they are exposed to.

Pedestrian in self-driving Uber crash probably would have lived if braking feature hadn’t been shut off, NTSB documents show by Michael Laris, Washington Post

Another read of the exact same event.

Mobility as a Service and New Mobility

How can automakers make money from mobility? by Freddie Holmes, Automotive World

Ford and other incumbents are puzzling out how to make a MaaS  profitable. "Settle in for a bumpy ride" as they try to get that sorted.

‘Walled Gardens’ vs. Open Mobility: The Battle Begins by David Zipper, CityLab

An analysis of Lyft's step back from open data and the larger tension between two visions of mobility platform economics.

LADOT to suspend Uber scooters, bikes as data-sharing lawsuit looms by Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive

An escalation in the mobility data wars.

Microtransit could reduce city traffic up to 30%, report says by Cailin Crowe, Smart Cities Dive

The report is "part of a joint research program between [Via] and [Boston Consulting Group]" and looks at services across four different area, all provided by Via.

Audi suspends air taxi plans, rethinks partnership with Airbus by Christiaan Hetzner, Automotive News

Flying cars, delayed again!

IRU calls for improved awareness of MaaS benefits and risks by Intelligent Transport

A call to action from the International Road Transport Union to "urgently address the open regulatory questions around MaaS" with regard to system openness, conflicts of interest, and transparency around how MaaS operators are selected.


Open Transport Initiative launches New Standard for Transport and Mobility Interoperability

This standard focuses on integrated mobility payment: "The publication of a draft Open Standard for Transport Account Interoperability by the Open Transport initiative, a team of transport and technology specialists who saw the need for transport accounts to work together."

Technology, Generally

The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us by Rose Eveleth, Vox

I can personally vouch for the fact that the myths presented in this article are significant barriers to transit agencies finding the most effective technology solutions.


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Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Sage Kashner (

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