October Technology Updates

  • Author: Kevin Chambers
  • Date: October 21, 2020

COVID-19 & Transit

🦠 & 🚍

How well are we ensuring that contactless fare payment is accessible and equitable? by Carol Schweiger, Intelligent Transport. A review of how fare payment has changed with COVID-19 at several US transit agencies.

Safe post-pandemic transport solutions will be driven by data by Stephanie Leonard, Engineering and Technology
“Commuters’ unwillingness to travel in close contact with strangers in the wake of Covid-19 is likely to boost uptake of autonomous ‘mobility as a service’ systems like electric robo-taxis that were once the stuff of science fiction.” Stephanie Leonard is head of government and regulatory affairs at TomTom.

Public transit riders are helping one another avoid crowds by Transit (App)
“Riders in 35 cities (with more on the way) are using Transit’s new in-app crowding feature: it lets them self-report crowding levels on their bus and train.”

Google Maps adds an overlay of COVID-19 case trends by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge
“The trends are an important way to assess the risk of different activities”

TNCs/Ride Sourcing Companies

The best ridesharing apps for 2020 by Kailla Coomes and Andre Revilla, Digital Trends
I can’t vouch for these being the best, but this is a good list of the current players out there, in rough order of size. 
 
To Compete With Uber And Lyft, Taxis Make The Switch To Upfront Pricing, Liane Yvkoff, Forbes
This is being rolled out by app provider Curb.
 
Uber is officially getting into the office carpooling business by Lila MacLellan, Quartz at Work
“The company is reviving shared rides, but only for people who work together.”
 

E-Fare

MOD Fare Integration: A Case Study in the Los Angeles and Puget Sound Regions by Alice Grossman and Romic Aevaz,
Eno Center for Transportation

Fares in the time of COVID-19: finding the ticket to recovery by Brandon Policicchio, Intelligent Transport
Brandon Policicchio, Chief Customer Officer at Greater Dayton RTA, details how the transit agency has managed ridership declines throughout the pandemic and how it is looking to mobile ticketing to secure its future.

 

Autonomous Vehicles

U.S. transit and transportation agencies announce completion of first-ever automated bus specification, Mass Transit
“The specification combines the APTA’s white book for standard bus specification with the new full-size bus automated driving system requirements developed by AECOM.”

Case Study: Autonomous Vehicles for Equity: Linden LEAP Shuttle, Columbus, OH by The
Shared-Use Mobility Center

We Need to Pump the Brakes on Driverless Cars by Sam Abuelsamid, OneZero
“For some reason, the United States has decided that it’s okay to submit the public to a large-scale experiment that no one consented to or was even informed of.”

China’s cities will soon be crawling with self-driving robotaxis by Larry Mullin, Fast Company
“The Chinese government’s investments in autonomous cars and 5G are supporting a series of new pilot programs in densely populated Chinese metropolises—a bid to stay competitive with the U.S.”

Hailing a self-driving taxi when blind. Learn how Waymo answers that challenge at Sight Tech Global by Ned Desmond
“We are delighted to announce that Waymo’s work on accessibility will be featured at Sight Tech Global, which is a virtual event (December 2-3) focused on how AI-related technologies will influence assistive technology and accessibility in the years ahead. Attendance is free and registration is open.”

Synthesis of State-Level Planning and Strategic Actions on Automated Vehicles: Lessons and Policy Guidance for California by Stephen Wong and Susan Shaheen, PhD, Institute of Transportation Studies
An up-to-date survey of what’s happening with state-level regulation and policy regarding AVs

Experts Stress Public Trust in AV Tech as E-Commerce Rises by Eleanor Lamb, Transport Topics

Driverless shuttle launches in downtown Tampa by Caitlin Johnston, Tampa Bay Times
“The Beep autonomous vehicle will launch to the public Monday, giving many people in Tampa Bay their first chance to catch a ride in a driverless vehicle.”

JTA Receives First Olli 2.0 Autonomous Shuttle in the U.S. by Inside Unmanned Systems
“Olli 2.0 is Local Motor’s first electric, autonomous, 3D-printed shuttle to be built in the United States.”

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: A Case for Driverless Shuttles by Trevor Pawl, Machine Design
Slower-moving autonomous shuttles and light-rail trains could boost public acceptance of self-driving vehicles.”

Vehicle Electrification

Proterra, which makes big honkin’ battery systems and electric buses, raises $200 million by Jonathan Shieber, Tech Crunch
I think the buses will honk more than the battery systems. Regardless, this appears to be good news for the availability of electric buses.

Amazon unveils its new electric delivery vans built by Rivian by Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge
“The delivery giant aims to have 10,000 vehicles on the road by 2022.” It’s exciting to see an EV fleet getting built out on this kind of fairly immediate timeline.

Tesla unveils battery cells aimed at raising electric cars’ range and power by Noi Mahoney, Freight Waves
“CEO Elon Musk said during Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting and battery day event in Fremont, California, the new battery will also help reduce production costs and allow the company to sell electric vehicles for around $25,000, the same price range as gasoline-powered cars.”

Electric Vehicle Demand Will Spark Lithium Mining Reinvention by Grace I Kay, Bloomberg
“[Standard Lithium] CEO sees electric auto demand driving lithium shortage by 2025”

Mobility as a Service and New Mobility

EC pledges legal framework for MaaS by Adam Hill, ITS International
Revision of various regulations and directives could serve as enabler for new services”

Lime looks to transition into a broader Mobility-as-a-Service platform, Intelligent Transport
“Lime Platform will launch with seated scooter company Wheels as its first integration, as Lime looks ahead to micromobility-as-a-service.”

Why public transport must now provide real-time data sharing, Traffic Technology Today
“Vinod Bijlani, AI and IoT practice leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Singapore, looks at why real-time data sharing is critical to building efficient public transportation systems of the future”

Technology in Transit Operations

Want to wait less at the bus stop? Beware real-time updates by Jeff Grabmeier, Ohio State News
“Smartphone apps that tell commuters when a bus will arrive at a stop don’t result in less time waiting than reliance on an official bus route schedule, a new study suggests. In fact, people who followed the suggestions of transit apps to time their arrival for when the bus pulls up to the stop were likely to miss the bus about three-fourths of the time, results showed.”

Other Transit Technology in the News

Innovative Transit Projects Get Infusion of Federal Cash by Skip Descant, Government Technology
“Twenty-five transit projects from around the country received some $14 million in innovation grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration, growing projects like digital fare integration and trip-planning.”

How transit data can drive urban recovery by Stephanie Kanowitz, GCN
“A resolution, approved unanimously by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June, homes in on local governments’ rights to use transportation data because that information can be crucial to ensuring that low-income communities get equitable access to jobs, food and other necessities. The resolution is also a direct response to federal and state legislative efforts preempting commercial data sharing with cities.”

Report: Better Data Can Drive Equity in Suburban Transit by Skip Descant, Government Technology
New analysis by the Urban Institute explores the transit challenges for working poor living in suburbs in four U.S. metros. The data study forms the basis for new conversations around transportation equity.”

Elon Musk’s Las Vegas Loop might only carry a fraction of the passengers it promised by Mark Harris, Tech Crunch
“The system might only be able to transport 1,200 people an hour — around a quarter of its promised capacity.”

Only 60 per cent of transit agencies have a cybersecurity preparedness plan by SmartCitiesWorld
“Research carried out by the Mineta Transportation Institute also found that less than half of agencies reported auditing their cybersecurity programme at least once a year.”

 

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).