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Four New APTA Reports: Shared Mobility, Investments and Partnerships, the FAST Act, the Knowledge Economy

APTA released four new reports during the Legislative Conference that demonstrate the growing importance of shared mobility technology such as Uber and Lyft to the future of public transportation, ways to build mutually beneficial partnerships with the private sector, the role of available public transit to the success of “innovation districts” where business and industry can share information and experiment and an overview of provisions of the FAST Act.

Shared Mobility
Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit, released by APTA and its partners at a March 15 media event in the Capitol Visitor Center (see related story), examines the relationship between ridesourcing services and public transportation in seven cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. The long-term impact of shared mobility on the future of APTA and the public transportation industry is also the subject of President & CEO Michael Melaniphy’s remarks in this issue.

Key findings follow:

* The more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars and spend less on transportation overall;

* Shared modes complement public transit, enhancing urban mobility;

* Shared modes will continue to grow in significance, and public entities should engage with them to ensure that benefits are widely and equitably shared; and

* The public sector and private mobility operators are eager to collaborate to improve paratransit using emerging approaches and technology.

Investments and Partnerships
“In order to keep up with the pace of change, some transit agencies have decided to enlist the support of private sector partners to promote efficiencies and customer responsiveness,” states the report, Open for Business: The Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation.

The report provides numerous examples of the interplay between public transit and the private sector. Partnerships between transportation network companies such as Uber, Lyft and Bridj and public transit agencies benefit both partners by allowing passengers to travel without a private car, while smartphone technologies such as near field communications and radio-frequency identification assist with fare collection by allowing secure mobile transactions.

Other looks into the future include the use of open data to create third-party transit apps, increasingly clean vehicle fuels such as lithium batteries and the potential use of autonomous vehicle technology for buses.

APTA’s business members released the report at the Monday morning breakfast session, “The ‘Insider’ Perspective for the Transit Industry,” sponsored by the APTA Business Members Activity Fund.

The FAST Act
APTA also released a report on provisions of the FAST Act that breaks down the changes to the federal surface transportation programs included in the five-year authorization bill.

The report, subtitled “A Guide to Public Transportation and Rail-Related Provisions,” includes charts and tables that place the authorization levels in context over the life of the law, along with concise information on each program.

The Knowledge Economy
Public Transportation’s Role in the Knowledge Economy examines three innovation districts—Silicon Beach in Los Angeles County, the Austin (TX) Northwest Innovation District and Research Triangle Park, NC, demonstrating that “if the public transportation services envisioned in the innovation districts’ long-range plans are realized, businesses would move to such district and … their productivity would increase.”

The report shows how, as traffic congestion increases over time, public transportation might become the only option to access these districts. Thirty years from now, according to officials and planners who specialize in economic development in the districts studied, public transportation projects included in the districts’ long-term plans would provide access for an estimated 2.4 million workers who otherwise would not be able to get to work.

All four reports are available at the APTA website.
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