September 2022 Tech Updates

  • Author: Kevin Chambers
  • Date: September 30, 2022

MaaS Global has a cash crunch, the need for AV driving tests, rescuing the grid with EVs, and the debut of “minimobility”. These are just a few of the over 20 articles on transit technology aimed at mobility managers, brought to you by the National Center for Mobility Management.

TNCs

Lyft sued by drivers, passengers claiming company failing to protect users from assault by Kirsten Korosec, TechCrunch
“Lyft is facing a fresh batch of lawsuits from drivers and passengers who say they were sexually and physically assaulted during rides and accused the ride-hailing company of failing to protect its users.”

Lyft to freeze hiring through year-end on economic uncertainty, Crain’s New York Business
“Lyft Inc. said it will freeze hiring in the U.S. at least until next year, amid economic instability that’s rattled the ride-hail giant’s stock price.”

Autonomous Vehicles

Delivery robots aren’t quite ready to roll by Joann Muller, Axios
“Sidewalk delivery robots are cute and cool, but pilot tests in four U.S. cities found that it takes more than smart technology for a successful deployment. […] In Detroit, robots had a hard time making it across wide boulevards before the light turned red. In Pittsburgh, for example, robots had difficulty navigating rough sidewalks with overgrown bushes. Longer crossing times and accessible curbs would help everyone, not just robots, says Lilian Coral, director of Knight’s national strategy and technology innovation program.”

There’s no driving test for self-driving cars in the US — but there should be by David Zipper, The Verge
“Unlike their European peers, American car regulators do not require — or even offer — any kind of safety preapproval for a new car model or technology. Instead, car companies ‘self-certify’ that their vehicles comply with federal guidelines pertaining to everything from steering wheels to brake fluids. But no such rules address the driver assistance and autonomous technologies that are critical to the car’s future — and to the safety of everyone who walks, bikes, or drives. Facing no significant oversight, automakers like Tesla can legally deploy any advanced driver-assist system (ADAS) they like, regardless of how dangerous it may be.”

Drivers sue Tesla for alleged false advertising of Autopilot and FSD software by Rebecca Bellan, TechCrunch
“The complaint alleges that Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have been deceitfully advertising its ADAS tech as either fully functioning or close to being ‘solved’ since 2016, despite knowing full well that the capabilities of Autopilot and FSD don’t live up to the hype.”

Just make the cars go slower By Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge
“Automakers keep pitching a technological fix to our current traffic safety crisis when the real solution is much simpler”

Minnesota Closes Out One AV Shuttle Project, Opens Two More by Skip Descant, GovTech
“The autonomous transportation projects being lead by the Minnesota Department of Transportation are testing not the technology, but the use cases these new forms of mobility can serve.”

Self-driving cars’ benefits, perils outlined in new report by Dan Zukowski, Smart Cities Dive
“Self-driving cars have the potential to increase transportation equity and safety but need regulation at all levels of government to avoid worsening urban sprawl, climate change and public health, according to a research report published today by the Urban Institute.”

Vehicle Electrification

Is sustainable mining possible? The EV revolution depends on it. by Evan Halper, The Washington Post
“A proposal for a ‘sustainable mine’ in Minnesota has the backing of Tesla. But will it win over the community?”

Electric Vehicles Could Rescue the US Power Grid by Aarian Marshall and Matt Simon, WIRED
“California utilities are beginning to experiment with small-scale V2G. This summer, San Diego Gas & Electric launched a five-year pilot project with the V2G technology company Nuvve and a local school district to hook up eight school buses. The benefit is both the jumbo size of these batteries and how they’re used: Buses pick up and drop off kids on a reliable schedule, so they can sit idle and send energy back into the grid at predictable times.”

The $5.6B epicenter of Ford’s EV effort is now under construction by Jaclyn Trop, TechCrunch
“Ford broke ground Friday at its $5.6 billion BlueOval City complex in Tennessee, the epicenter for its future electric vehicles and a key milestone toward its goal to sell 2 million EVs annually by late 2026.”

Mobility as a Service and New Mobility

Pioneering MaaS Start-Up Seeks Buyer, New Investors as Cash Crunch Worsens by Dan Balaban, Mobility Payments
“Finland-based MaaS Global has solicited offers from major mobility companies as it pursues options to stay afloat.”

Bird becomes first micro-mobility partner to join the MaaS Alliance, Intelligent Transport
“As a member of the MaaS Alliance, Bird will help the membership promote and increase the public awareness of Mobility-as-a-Service by sharing its expertise in micro-mobility services.”

Micromobility equity goals are common, but follow-through is lacking: study by Charles Pekow, Smart Cities Dive
“Many shared mobility programs appeared to try to address equity issues, but few measured outcomes, according to a federally backed analysis of 239 programs.”

VTrans to fund on-demand ‘microtransit’ in 5 more communities by Ethan Weinstein, VTDigger 
“With the support of VTrans, on-demand microtransit programs will launch next year in five more communities across the state. ‘At the end of this two or three year pilot period, we would then have a pretty good idea as to where best microtransit fits the Vermont model,’ said Ross MacDonald, public transit program manager at the Vermont Agency of Transportation.”

Minimobility: The next big thing in urban mobility? by Alexander Grausam, Kersten Heineke, Benedikt Kloss, Timo Möller, and Darius Scurtu, McKinsey Center for Future Mobility
“Two-wheeled micromobility options, especially e-kickscooters and electric cargo bikes, have become very popular in cities. Three- and four-wheeled minimobility may be the next big thing.”

MaaS may be the future – but it can’t replace public transport “powered by” Via Transportation, Cities Today
“While technology linking services together may be useful in planning, the need for quality transit is undoubtedly the number one priority for cities. Without this, there is a danger that MaaS can simply be a superfluous distraction.”

Don’t let flying taxis be the next scooters, city planners warn by Michael Brady, Smart Cities Dive
“Air taxi services from private companies could be operating as soon as 2024, and they could wreak havoc on urban transportation systems if cities do not plan for them, transportation experts said last week during the ITS World Congress in Los Angeles.”

E-fare

TRB Webinar: New Transit Fare Policy—Capping and “Cashless” Collection October 26, 2022 by Amy Pettine and Candace Brakewood
“This webinar is based on TCRP Synthesis Report 163: Considering the Unbanked in Cashless Fare Payment at Point of Service for Bus/Demand-Response Services and TCRP Synthesis Report 160: Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts.

Free public transport in Europe: Is the social experiment working or is it just a gimmick? by Roselyne Min, EuroNews.next
“city authorities in Tallinn – which has been closely examining its own experiment in offering free transport since it was introduced over 9 years ago – are skeptical that the policy has done much to convince drivers to leave their vehicles at home.”

Research

TCRP Research Report 237: Fare-Free Transit Evaluation Framework by Mariel Kirschen, Amy Pettine
“The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program’s pre-publication draft of TCRP Research Report 237: Fare-Free Transit Evaluation Framework presents a framework that can be used by public transit practitioners to evaluate the potential benefits, costs, and trade-offs of implementing fare-free transit.”

Other News Involving Transit and Technology

Silicon Valley’s Push Into Transportation Has Been a Miserable Failure by Rhett Jones, Gizmodo
“The titans of tech brought plenty of disruption to our broken transportation system but delivered little in the way of innovation.” An interview with Paris Marx, author of  Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation.

Tech Companies Vie to Monetize the Curb and Reinvent Street Parking By Allison Nicole Smith, Bloomberg
“To impose order on — and extract revenue from — the crowded urban curbside, a host of private companies are jostling for market position.”

We’d love to hear from you!

Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Kirby Wilhelm (wilhelm@ctaa.org).

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