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April 9, 2024

Can digital innovations in transportation also be equitable?

I recently conducted a policy review on innovations in transportation: everything from micromobility to electrification of bus fleets. In partnership with Dr. Ata Khan, we published anĀ Expert Insight (No. 52) for Montreal’s Institute for Research on Public Policy. In the paper, we discuss how digital technologies have the potential to really change the way that transit is run, making it easier for people in low-density areas to connect to route-based transit, providing people more live data to assist in their trips, and providing on-demand options for groups such as seniors. But we really have to think about the equity implications of all of these approaches: do people have smart phones? Will they be able to use apps to pay for transit? Do our cities have reliable broadband internet to support users who do not have unlimited data on their phones? Where will e-scooters be parked? What communities have easy access to these options?

Thanks to Dr. Khan’s expertise we do a thorough investigation of these questions, and present recommendations for communities, planners, transportation agencies, and others who want to integrate new technologies into their systems. My primary role was to think through the limitations and opportunities for local governments and users with specific needs or challenges. I think the end result is quite interesting! Check it out here: The New Mobility Era: Leveraging Digital Technologies for More Equitable, Efficient, and Effective Public Transit.

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