CoMotion Los Angeles was billed as “The Global Laboratory of Future Mobility.” This lofty, aspirational idea turned out to be more than just a toothless marketing tagline, as the organizers of CoMotion and the city of Los Angeles are both putting their resources to work making the new world of mobility a reality. Minutes into the introductory keynote speech of the event, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Urban Movement Labs, a public-private partnership aimed at solving real-world problems in the area of mobility. Further, the city has committed to working with private enterprises to actually get solutions on the proverbial roads as opposed to just talking about doing so.
This notion of getting solutions on the road is one that we, here at TransLoc, can really get behind. We can’t agree with Mayor Garcetti and the Urban Movement Labs’ calls for pilot programs enough: we need to offer municipalities and their respective agencies the freedom and opportunity to try things out in a safe, community-centric fashion. As Arielle Fleisher, Transportation Policy Director at SPUR recently wrote, “Rather than looking down on pilots, we should embrace experimentation as a chance to learn and to improve transportation outcomes.” Hopefully the second largest American city embracing this attitude will cause a bit of a trickle-down effect of a willingness to take risks and work with the public as opposed to maintaining the status quo.
The mission and execution of CoMotion LA really shined around this idea: the way things have been done in the past – especially in the world of mobility – won’t get us the future we all want and need. The truth is, the amazing technology displayed at the event – from autonomous shared shuttles to fully-electric small-form-factor vehicles to e-scooters that pilot themselves – won’t get us this future either. In order to really effectuate the changes that are necessary and improve things like equity and mobility access for all, people need to have the courage and willingness to be more like Los Angeles city officials and put their reputation and resources where their communities actually are. Events like CoMotion allow private companies like TransLoc and Ford Mobility* to find these open-minded, success-driven, community-focused municipal representatives with whom to tackle the biggest problems facing our cities today. If you’re one of those people or if you simply live in a place where your elected officials could use a dose of this perspective, please reach-out to us: we can’t solve the challenges of mobility alone, and after CoMotion, we have a few more friends to call-on to help you.
*On March 1, 2022, global technology company Modaxo acquired TransLoc from Ford Motor Company. TransLoc is no longer affiliated with Ford or any Ford properties.