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The Regulatory Framework Cities Need for a New Age of Mobility (OPINION)

The Regulatory Framework Cities Need for a New Age of Mobility (OPINION)

Yesterday's reporting and compliance mechanisms aren't dynamic enough. Today's evolving transportation marketplace calls for nuanced, citizen-centric control driven by actionable real-time data.

Governing.com
STEPHEN GOLDSMITH, ASH CENTER, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL  
MARCH 24, 2020  

As more and more digitally enabled services begin doing business in cities, public officials whose job is to regulate them struggle to apply outdated rules with obsolete processes and find themselves hemmed in by antiquated regulatory frameworks. This is particularly apparent when it comes to regulating mobility. Twentieth-century laws and their enforcement mechanisms are insufficiently dynamic, too siloed, lacking in administrative discretion, data-deprived, and neither citizen-centric nor inclusive of public feedback.

Atlanta recently took on the effort of modernizing its regulatory response, creating an Office of Mobility Planning as a good first step toward meaningfully responding to new transportation offerings that increasingly compete with pedestrians and cars for space. But Atlanta, like other cities, finds itself caught between competing issues. Eighty-two percent of its residents think the current fleet of more than 6,200 electric scooters should be an option, for example, yet at the same time the city suffers from high numbers of scooter accidents, and companies are withdrawing from the market due to impoundment and storage-fee practices. In January, Lime announced its departure from Atlanta while owing the city almost $70,000 in fees from illegally parked scooters the city had seized.

For the short term, Atlanta will extend scooter permits while it works on fair rules to govern them. But while new mobility offices such as Atlanta's are likely to produce better rules, comprehensive reform requires something rather elusive: actionable, integrated, real-time data... FULL ARTICLE

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