Well, it was unavoidable. Coronavirus has completely dominated the news cycle, spreading throughout the media faster than any human-to-human transmission. With that in mind, take a deep breath, keep those hands squeaky-clean, and catch up on the latest COVID-19 impacts. For starters, transit ridership is plummeting, with declines of 18.5% in NYC, 35% in San Francisco, and a tiny 1.5% in London. On the more positive side, Citi Bike ridership has jumped a whopping 50+% as people search for a crowd-free way to commute. Given that a new study just showed the average American wastes 99 hours a year in traffic, we’re curious what this impromptu shift to mass telecommuting will mean for the commute patterns of the future.
First planes, now trains feel the pain: Amtrak has seen bookings drop 50% and cancellations climb 300% as coronavirus fears mount. With ridership and revenue down across all routes, employees may soon be pushed to take unpaid time off.
Social distancing: following similar moves made by Postmates and Instacart in the U.S., European on-demand food delivery companies like Deliveroo and Glovo are adding contactless delivery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cancellations continue: COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the auto industry. Following the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show, the New York Auto Show just announced the event has been postponed to late August. Will Detroit’s NAIAS, scheduled for June 5-20, be next?
Subway’s seen better days: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, NYC’s MTA has seen subway ridership drop a whopping 18.5%—which amounts to about 1 million fewer riders compared to the same time last year. On top of that, the economic impact of COVID-19 could force the cash-strapped MTA to cut service. Across the country, SF’s BART ridership is already down 35% in just one month, as numbers have continued to rapidly drop these past ten days. Across the pond, it looks like Londoners are keeping a classic stiff upper lip, as ridership is only down 1.5%.
So much wasted time: in the latest edition of its annual study, INRIX found the average American wasted 99 hours a year in traffic. Boston ranked as the most traffic-choked city, with the average driver losing 149 hours to traffic. Sounds like a pretty compelling case for congestion pricing…
Flood the world with crude: with oil prices down $30 a barrel since the beginning of the year, and few signs of relief on the horizon, analysts are worried about negative impacts to the burgeoning EV and shared mobility markets. Here’s hoping consumers won’t go running back to SUVs…
New H2: One issue holding back the widespread adoption of hydrogen vehicles is the vast amount of energy it takes to produce their fuel, and the high cost of the process. Now scientists have found a new way to make H2—one that’s 25x more efficient—using rust and light.
Hope you weren’t holding your breath: despite a rumored 2021 US release for BMW’s first long-range EV, it turns out the iX3 will only be sold in Europe and China. While an electric BMW with a 273-mile range sounds nice, the last thing we need are more SUVs hitting the streets.
Director’s departure: as Tesla hit a big milestone—over one million EVs produced to date—the company lost manufacturing director Jatinder “Jat” Dhillon. Dhillon resigned after seven years with the California automaker, with a career that included helping Tesla begin in-house seat manufacturing and massively increasing production on the popular Model 3.
Mobility Moment: check out our own Jonah Bliss and Have A Go’s Terenig Topjian taking on the latest (and not-so-greatest) Vision Zero numbers and how cities both help and hinder scooter operators. A special thanks to our partner Velvioo.
Shifting gears: Citing the long road to getting self-driving cars on the streets, Mercedes-Benz is pivoting its autonomous aspirations, moving its focus away from personal AVs and instead focusing on autonomous trucks and feature-rich EVs.
Hovering healthcare: California-based drone delivery company Matternet has revealed an autonomous platform as part of its burgeoning peer-to-peer drone logistics network. The new system’s stations would sit outside hospitals and medical facilities, allowing healthcare workers to easily utilize drone delivery for medicine, samples, and supplies—all without having to become a drone pilot. In times of pandemic, quicker travel times for integral supplies and contactless delivery is all the more important.
Equity issues: As in many cities, New Yorkers are beginning to avoid the subway as pandemic fears rise. According to data released by the MTA, ridership declines have been much more pronounced in richer areas of the city, while poorer riders have been stuck taking their regular trains and hoping for the best.
Scooter double standards: a comparison with cars shows the enormous double standard that sharing scooters and bikes face when it comes to parking, infrastructure, road conditions, liability, and city fees, even as a recent study from Cornell University shows that the primary offenders blocking right-of-way are automobiles, not scooters.
Micromobility M&A: Mexican and Chilean venture capital firm Mountain Nazca snapped up the Latin American micromobility leader Grow Mobility (joint venture of bike sharing Yellow and scooter sharing Grin) while Last Mile Holdings (previously OjO) acquired the 10-year micromobility sharing veteran Gotcha Mobility. Looks like consolidation and fleet diversification is the move to watch for.
Blue Duck goes to the movies: Blue Duck Scooters has become the first e-scooter operator to partner with a movie studio. The Ranch Studios in the New Orleans area will host a flock of Blue Duck scooters on its filmmaking lot, allowing cast and crew to travel quickly, and quietly, when standard golf carts aren’t available.
The other electrification: while previously shrugging off two wheel electrification, Honda India will now begin testing an e-moped while Suzuki, the last of the Japanese “Big Four” to go electric, will follow suit. Both companies are testing their wheels in the highly competitive Indian market.
Citi Spike: Citi Bike ridership is up a whopping 50% compared to the same time last year. The spike is at least partially due to city officials’ advice to avoid transit or bike to work as a coronavirus measure, also partly due to better weather, and partly thanks to more CitiBike availability and the return of its popular ebikes.
Cities Today, highlighting that European cities are failing to shift people away from cars and towards public transit.
Curbed, reminding us that expanding highways and building more roads actually makes traffic worse.
CityLab, offering up some common sense tips on how to avoid coronavirus while living in a major city.
NewCities, sharing a perspective on mobility in the age of coronavirus.
SmartCitiesDive, briefing us on a civic group that’s calling on Congress to rethink the $305B transport bill.
The Economist, detailing how foot traffic has fallen sharply in cities with big coronavirus outbreaks.
Streetsblog USA, explaining how pop culture stigmatizes public transit.
Startups & Corporate
Full-stack Software Engineer | Transfix | New York
UI/UX Designer | ONN Bikes | Bengaluru
Full-Time Customer Advocate Field Operations | Carvana | Chicago
Community Partnerships Manager | Spin | Chicago
Sr. Business Development Manager | Postmates | San Francisco
Full-stack engineer | Continuum Industries | Edinburgh
Senior SOC Diagnostics Engineer | Cruise | San Francisco
Civic & Nonprofit
Transportation Engineer/Traffic Engineer | County of El Dorado Transportation | Placerville, CA
Business Systems Analyst I | Portland Bureau of Transportation | Portland, OR
Electric Vehicles Researcher | International Council on Clean Transportation | San Francisco, CA
Have a job listing that’s perfect for the CoMotion community? Please send it to Jim Manning.
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