NRDC Signs on to Shared Mobility Principles

The rapid pace of technology-driven innovation in shared transportation presents tremendous opportunities, as well as risks.

The impending advent of self-driving vehicles, for example, will have a profound impact on livelihoods, congestion and urban land use. At the same time, city streets are a finite and scarce resource. Doubling down on the pollution and inequitable access of the status quo isn’t an option.

How can we ensure that this next phase of transportation evolution produces better environmental and social outcomes?

NRDC joined other leaders in sustainable transportation in issuing 10 Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities to help guide urban decision-makers and stakeholders.

Leading city and transport NGOs stand behind these fundamental principles, including ZipCar founder Robin Chase, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), Rocky Mountain Institute, Shared-Use Mobility Center, and WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

The consortium urges cities, businesses and NGOs to support and apply the principles and engage with the group on how to improve them. Execution will require the efforts of all stakeholders, with a special role for proactive and outcome-oriented governments to provide locally appropriate decisions using all the tools over which they have jurisdiction.

The principles:

  1. We plan our cities and their mobility together. The way our cities are built determines mobility needs and how they can be met. Development, urban design and public spaces, building and zoning regulations, parking requirements, and other land use policies shall incentivize compact, accessible, livable, and sustainable cities.
  2. We prioritize people over vehicles. The mobility of people and not vehicles shall be in the center of transportation planning and decision-making. Cities shall prioritize walking, cycling, public transport and other efficient shared mobility, as well as their interconnectivity. Cities shall discourage the use of cars, single-passenger taxis, and other oversized vehicles transporting one person.
  3. We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs, and land. Transportation and land use planning and policies should minimize the street and parking space used per person and maximize the use of each vehicle. We discourage overbuilding and oversized vehicles and infrastructure, as well as the oversupply of parking.
  4. We engage with stakeholders. Residents, workers, businesses, and other stakeholders may feel direct impacts on their lives, their investments and their economic livelihoods by the unfolding transition to shared, zero-emission, and ultimately autonomous vehicles. We commit to actively engage these groups in the decision-making process and support them as we move through this transition.
  5. We promote equity. Physical, digital, and financial access to shared transport services are valuable public goods and need thoughtful design to ensure use is possible and affordable by all ages, genders, incomes, and abilities.
  6. We lead the transition towards a zero-emission future and renewable energy. Public transportation and shared-use fleets will accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles. Electric vehicles shall ultimately be powered by renewable energy to maximize climate and air quality benefits.
  7. We support fair user fees across all modes. Every vehicle and mode should pay their fair share for road use, congestion, pollution, and use of curb space. The fair share shall take the operating, maintenance and social costs into account.
  8. We aim for public benefits via open data. The data infrastructure underpinning shared transport services must enable interoperability, competition and innovation, while ensuring privacy, security, and accountability.
  9. We work towards integration and seamless connectivity. All transportation services should be integrated and thoughtfully planned across operators, geographies, and complementary modes. Seamless trips should be facilitated via physical connections, interoperable payments, and combined information. Every opportunity should be taken to enhance connectivity of people and vehicles to wireless networks.
  10. We support that autonomous vehicles (AVs) in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets. Due to the transformational potential of autonomous vehicle technology, it is critical that all AVs are part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission. Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximize public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals, and actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles, parking, and congestion, in line with broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas.

We hope you’ll join us in our effort to guide this rapidly changing technology in ways that will help clean the air, improve health and enhance people’s lives.  

About the Authors

Carter Rubin

Mobility & Climate Advocate, Urban Solutions

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