On May 11th, 2018, the National Renewable Energy Laboritory in coordination with the University Transportation Research Center and New York Institute of Technology, hosted a series of roundtable workshops to discuss “Exploring the Long-Term Impacts of Shared, Connected, Automated and E-Mobility Systems Transformations”.

Included in the discussions were experts from major private firms leading the charge to automation such as Uber, Via and U-Haul and stakeholders including individuals representing Department of Transportation from states such as New York, Ohio, and Colorado. UITP sat in the first panel with Uber, Via and U-Haul to discuss “Shared Mobility, Public-Private (Micro)Transit, & Increased Occupancy: Past, Present, Future” where each stakeholder spoke to the challenges of ensuring automation has a net positive impact to society. During the event, Uber reaffirmed its stance that any automotive vehicles will be fully electric, U-Haul spoke of the importance of an electric fleet and Via highlighted its successes in Singapore amongst other cities in providing digital age technologies to improve public transportation. 

At the event, UITP reaffirmed the essential need to invest in public transportation, especially in staff and human capital to ensure public transit agencies are capable of understanding the data they collect and managing the need to both provide transit that dynamically adjusts service based on data and as a guardian of customer’s data. In addition, UITP highlighted the opportunity for public agencies to partner with private companies to improve customer service and how the industry is currently being revolutionized, both bus systems and rail transit by automation. Significant challenges UITP North America highlighted at the event includes keeping talented data analysts and human capiacty in North America to lead the revolution considering the tightening visa situation and hardening immigration policies and ensuring the hype for automation doesn’t lead to a disinvestment in public transportation that could potentially make American cities less competitive in an increasingly competitive global landscape.

You can read more about it here