How Cities Can Ensure Fair, Affordable Transit Amid a Glut of Emerging Transportation Technologies
Being an urban transportation planner these days is no walk (or e-scooter ride) in the park. A well-intentioned city official will strive to allocate street space to benefit the most people—especially those of limited means—but the rapid pace of technological change makes things ever more complicated. Indeed, it's hard for even the savviest of experts to anticipate which new modes of transportation will succeed and which are merely fads. And urbanites enthused about a new service will be left stranded if it is suddenly discontinued.
A case in point: Remember when dockless pedal bikes burst on the scene, and commentators framed companies like Ofo and LimeBike as either the saviorsor destroyers of urban life? You probably do; it was only 18 months ago.
Today those dockless bikes have all but disappeared from American streets. Ofo retreated from the United States and donated its bike fleet to non-profits, while LimeBike pivoted toward e-scooters and rebranded itself as Lime. The era of dockless bikes turned out to be little more than a blip—yet city officials spent countless hours trying to manage it.