Recap: 2019 ACT Emerging Mobility Summit

Recap: 2019 ACT Emerging Mobility Summit

Event highlights innovative solutions for a better work commute

Private mobility solutions such as WeDriveU’s Corporate Shuttles and University Shuttles were a hot topic at this year’s Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) Emerging Mobility Summit in Austin, Texas. According to ACT, the event drew 150 attendees “to explore the future of mobility and what opportunities and challenges lie ahead” – from reducing traffic congestion to easing parking demand.

ACT designed the event to highlight how the private and public sector is harnessing emerging mobility solutions to eliminate transportation challenges, champion research and launch transportation pilot programs, including commuter shuttles for workplaces and campuses.

Home to WeDriveU partners like Movability Austin and several local customers, Austin was an ideal venue for the EMS. We see Central Texas as one of the nation’s frontrunners in engaging employers in lasting and sustainable changes through programs like the “Mobility Challenge.” Read about Austin employers leading a better commute for employees in our post on the Best Workplaces for Commuters breakfast with Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

Summit Highlights

Here are thoughts from WeDriveU’s Gillian Zoss (GZ), VP, Business Development, and David Zyck (DZ), Customer Success Manager:

What’s your #1 takeaway from the Summit?

GZ: People from all different industries, companies and organizations are realizing that there is this incredible need for mobility awareness, and the time is now to start implementing solutions that are available for people of all walks of life and in all areas.

What transportation challenges were attendees charged-up about solving?

GZ: There were a lot of conversations around how people can engage with local authorities to encourage different types of solutions for mobility. For example, implementing bike share programs, ADA-transit services, HOV lanes, and alternative commute hours were all topics that directed a lot of questions to lawmakers and council members.

Your favorite sessions/speakers?

DZ: I enjoyed the welcome address from Dr. Randy Machemehl (Nasser I. Al-Rashid Centennial Professor in Transportation Engineering at University of Texas at Austin). As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Austin doesn’t have the infrastructure to keep up and traffic congestion is a hot topic. Professor Machemehl devised an interesting idea to combat rush hour congestion by segmenting the commute into different time windows. I found this to be an interesting in theory, though tough to implement.

GZ: Day 2 speakers Shannon Brown and Jennifer Dill on inequality in bike and ride sharing.

What idea inspired you the most? 

DZ: Austin has fully embraced micro-mobility. While other cities slowly phase in or place extensive regulations on e-bikes and scooters, Austin has been vendor agnostic. As you might expect, scooters and bikes line the downtown streets everywhere. However, the surplus supply is well received by strong adoption, especially with millennials.

GZ: Understanding that not knowing how to use a sharing program/or lack of education can be a huge barrier to people trying an alternative method. [Note: Shared private employer shuttles are a new approach and something WeDriveU has implemented for several clients.]

WeDriveU Future of Private Shuttles ACT Emerging Mobility Summit

What are highlights from WeDriveU’s roundtable on the Future of Private Shuttles (pictured above)?

GZ: Our table drew a cross-section of commuting advocates including employers and regional partners who see private shuttles as a great solution to address traffic congestion and parking challenges. They see shuttles as a way to drive awareness for all the alternative ways to commute to work, such as public transit, bike sharing and carpool.

It was interesting to hear how private transportation is going to continue to become more popular. Much like healthcare benefits, commuter transportation is going to be something new employees will expect as a benefit.

Other highlights from roundtables?

DZ: Commutifi led an interesting discussion. They provide commuters with tailor-made commute recommendations and then aggregate the data for employers to understand how they can provide transportation. PS: Thanks to their team for WeDriveU’s shout-out during the sessions!

For more, see ACT’s Day 1 recap.

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