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Connected Urban Growth: Public-Private Collaborations for Transforming Urban Mobility

New mobility services could improve the lives of all urban inhabitants. This first ever global survey finds that applying three types of new mobility services – electric, on-demand minibuses, subsidized shared rides, and trip-planning and ticketing apps – can make public transport more affordable, accessible and sustainable, if integrated properly.

Key Findings

Executive Summary

Innovative, technologically sophisticated operators of ride-hailing networks, car- and bicycle-sharing systems, mobile trip-planning and ticketing apps, and other new mobility services are winning users in cities around the world. Their reception suggests that city dwellers need transport options that are more convenient and flexible than those offered by traditional private transport companies and public transit agencies. Public transit is a vital element of efficient urban transportation systems: the use of public transportation has grown steadily since 2001, with developing countries showing the fastest growth. However, many public transit systems face challenges such as rising costs, ageing assets, and rapidly increasing ridership. While private transportation services have given passengers appealing options in many cities, these services can also exacerbate problems related to safety, environmental quality, and other issues. As new mobility services proliferate, cities will have opportunities to influence their roles so they not only improve convenience for passengers but also create wider economic and environmental benefits for all city residents. One approach, which some 70 cities worldwide have taken, is to form partnerships that allow cities to use the distinctive features of new mobility services to improve their transportation systems overall. Evaluating the possibilities associated with this approach requires an understanding of the development of new mobility services in cities around the world, the partnerships that have been formed to date, and the economic and environmental implications of complementing public transit with new mobility models.

In the consumer experience category, 70% of start-ups specialize in the analysis and provision of information about public transport, an enterprise that has been greatly aided by the trend of governments providing open access to their data on transit system operations. The remainder of consumer experience start-ups offer services that allow the planning and ticketing of urban journeys that use multiple modes of transport. Finally, start-ups in the data-driven decision-making category analyse data from multiple parts of urban transit systems to help transportation agencies make better choices about management, planning, and operations. Perhaps because new mobility services are diverse and novel, there is not yet an obvious formula for how cities can maximize the benefits of these services while mitigating their societal costs, such as worsening traffic congestion or added air pollution. But it is clear that the arrangements that cities establish between their transit agencies and the providers of new mobility services will be critically important.

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