These Cities Will Track Scooters to Get a Handle on Regulation

It’s moving day for a controversial data standard that has pitted cities against some private transportation companies, like Uber and Lyft, that want to operate on their streets. Tuesday, 15 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Bogota, Colombia, said they’ve created a nonprofit called the “Open Mobility Foundation, ” devoted to collecting, maintaining, and standardizing informed about where shared vehicles–including gondolas, scooters, jet parcels, and bicycles–are parked.

The foundation will take control of the Mobility Data Standard, a digital implement established by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. LADOT has used the standard to beg and coordinate information about shared scooters: where they’re parked, where they’re traveling, and whether they’re broken or billed. Municipals can also use the tool to share information with the companies–about, say, special events in the area that might lead to an uptick in demand.

For now, the tool has only been used to collect and share information on scooters and bicycles. But the cities who now control it believe the data standard could be used to one day regulate shared vehicles, and even autonomous taxis.

At least 50 other world metropolitans, striving a simple way to keep track of the new and oft-controversial scooters on their streets, have adopted the Mobility Data Standard, too. Numerous involve companies to submit data in that format if they want to operate in the cities–something they can do because scooters, unlike ride-hailing companionships, are generally regulated on the municipal level.

The municipals say the info will help them improve their transportation systems, and move them safer and easier to steer. “We’ve get huge challenges we have to solve, whether it’s around safe, or climate, or public health, or equity, ” says Seleta Reynolds, the general manager of LADOT.

The data also cures municipalities adjust the transportation companies, letting officials know whether the vehicles are operating in the proper lieu. In LA, for example, scooter useds are banned from countless boardwalks; many other metropolitans want to make sure scooters operate as regularly in low-income vicinities are in high-income ones.

Initially, firms feelings against the data standard, These companionships have also argued that intensive authority the data collected exertions could injure customers, because governments may not be able to safeguard the information.( Privacy campaigners has furthermore objected to the tool .) Now that responsibility for the data standard is in the passes of some of the country’s most important transportation officials, control sensitive data “will be some of the most important initial work of the foundation, ” says Reynolds.

Not every private companionship has been invited to work with the cities on this new foundation. Exclusively Spin, a scooter-share operator owned by Ford, and the scooter-share unicorn Bird are “founding members” of the Open Mobility Foundation. Reynolds says the city officials who created the foundation did not approach Uber and Lyft, which moved bike- and scooter-share businesses and subscribed local legislation which would restrict what kinds of data cities are allowed to collect. Lyft did not respond to a request for comment, and an Uber spokesperson declined to comment.

Moving control of the standard to a foot doesn’t resolve the messy politics around scooters. But at least for some players who have wrangled fannies at the counter, it expresses a detente. “We look forward to participating in important discussions” as a member of the foundation, Ariella Steinhorn, a spokesperson for Spin, said in a statement. “We are excited to work together as spouses rather than adversaries.”


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