New Toolkit Helps Cities Bolster Shared-Use Mobility Programs and Policies

Photo credit: Thomanication via Foter.com / CC BY-ND.

Toolkits — whether informational or terrestrial — are helpful things to have handy. That's why the Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) recently released an interactive one full of goodies that will help cities move their bike-, car-, and whatever other mobility-sharing programs forward. Together with 27 cities across North America, SUMC developed tools to assist municipal governments in their pursuits to bolster public transit and vehicle sharing in order to lighten both the physical and environmental impacts in urban areas.

The tools in the kit include:

  • Shared Mobility Benefits Calculator: Allows cities to model the impacts of various shared mobility growth scenarios. Cities can use the online calculator to quickly assess potential decreases in greenhouse gas emissions, reductions in vehicle miles traveled, cost savings and other benefits from implementing transportation improvements.
  • Shared Mobility Policy Database: Contains more than 700 of the most important shared mobility policies, studies, and strategic plans in North America. The database also provides best practices, case studies and analysis to help local governments craft an effective regulatory approach to ridesourcing, bikesharing, carsharing and other shared transportation services.
  • Interactive Shared Mobility Mapping and Opportunity Analysis Tool: Pinpoints shared mobility vehicle locations in more than 50 North American cities to help local governments understand the state and scope of shared mobility infrastructure in their regions. The tool also incorporates other information, such as census data and transit quality, to help cities better understand where greater service is needed and what shared modes the market can support.

One of the findings of SUMC's research — which became one of the components of the toolkit — was that lower income neighborhoods often have the key ingredients for a shared mobility program: high population density, walkable infrastructure, and public transit access. And yet, those neighborhoods generally lack any bike- or car-sharing opportunities. Further still, SUMC dug into the disparity even deeper and found that, among those disadvantaged areas, the non-minority neighborhoods had considerably more shared mobility access than the minority communities. Essentially, shared-use is lacking most where it's needed most.

Along with the toolkit, SUMC also crafted a report with policy and program recommendations, transportation trends, and growth scenarios for the 27 participating cities.

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