Hello friends, we hope this finds you all in good health. As more and more of the world is sheltering in place in response to coronavirus, we’re seeing big disruptions to all forms of mobility. On the public sector side, there’s been a serious decline in mass transit ridership as people are forced to stay home. As for the private sector, we’ve seen shared mobility services suspended, while automotive production is trending towards its worst year in decades. Read on to see the scope of the pandemic as it relates to mobility (as well as a few non-COVID related stories — see if you can spot them!)
Episode 58. John Rossant sits down with Parag Khanna, international relations guru and best-selling author, to get his view from Singapore. After John & NewCities’ Greg Lindsay discuss the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the world of mobility, Parag shares why he believes this current era is ushering in an Asian century, although not necessarily a Chinese one, and how even the coronavirus outbreak can’t stop that sea change. Listen here.
Flying cars are no longer the future… they’re much closer than you think. Take a look at our latest Mobility Perspective from Beth Kigel of infrastructure design giant HNTB to find out exactly how close we are to eVTOLs plying our skies. Read it here.
Corona closures: as Europe fast becomes the new epicenter of the pandemic, automakers like Ford, Daimler and VW are beginning to shut down production across the EU. With Asian manufacturing already down, the global automotive sector is bracing for its worst year in decades.
Campaign commitments: transit and sustainability was a big topic at the Democratic debate, with both candidates pledging to end fracking, while Biden laid out big commitments to high-speed rail, light rail, and EVs.
Pools paused: Uber and Lyft are suspending pooled rides in an effort to combat coronavirus in the US and Canada. Necessary move, we say.
Keep that distance: Following the lead of its American competitors, Indian ridesharing giant Ola is suspending pooled rides on the subcontinent.
Car company closures: Michigan’s Big Three automakers (GM, Ford, FCA) are shutting their factories to protect workers, as COVID-19 continues its economic disruption. Fortunately, Detroit may have learned some things in the last recession, as the group looks to have enough cash on hand to weather the storm. For a while, at least.
LatAm delivers: As COVID-19 forces people indoors, app-based food delivery has seen a surge in demand across the globe. Colombia-based Rappi, operating in nine Latin American countries, has already seen a 28% jump in pharmaceutical orders alone.
Helping health: In the wake of coronavirus, DoorDash is acting fast: it’s shipping 1 million sets of hand sanitizer and gloves to drivers and couriers, providing financial assistance to any COVID-19 stricken drivers, and the app now defaults to contactless delivery. Way to go.
No profit doesn’t mean no cash: Uber shares rocketed up 44% the morning of March 19th after CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced the rideshare giant had more than enough cash to ride out the pandemic. With about $10 billion of liquidity, Uber is in a better position than most to ride out the slump spreading across all forms of mobility… for some time at least.
Mass transit’s mass exodus: As coronavirus spreads, public transit ridership in global cities declines. Take a look at which cities and systems are being hit the hardest in this roundup of ridership decline data. Tough times for our friends at the MBTA…
Mobility Moment: Check out our latest (quarantined) edition of the Mobility Moment, where Jonah Bliss and Have A Go’s Terenig Topjian talk pandemic-related transit declines and how some cities are repurposing car lanes for bicycles. Thanks to Velvioo.
Even self-drivers aren’t safe: in response to COVID-19, Waymo suspended Waymo One, its AV service with human safety drivers. However, its fully driverless cars continued to provide rides for pre-approved commuters in the Phoenix area (while being sanitized several times a day). Days later, the service hiatus was expanded to all of Waymo driverless vehicles, even the fully autonomous ones. This virus moves fast…
eVTOL enters Europe: Chinese drone maker eHang has obtained operational permits in Norway and Spain. eHang’s two-seat UAV will be a welcome addition over European skies as both countries work towards lowered emissions and decreased traffic congestion.
Starsky shutters: After a $20M Series B funding round fell through, autonomous trucking startup Starsky Robotics has shut down. Even though it was first to hit several significant AV-trucking milestones, the company’s intense (and impressive) focus on putting safety first didn’t translate to investor excitement.
Shared mobility shrinks: Lime is the latest company to feel the squeeze as shared mobility takes a hit due to coronavirus. The e-scooter company has pulled its fleets from LA, Washington, Italy, Spain, and France, in an effort to help people “stay put and stay safe.”
Banished bike ban: It took a global pandemic, but NYC finally allowed e-bikes to hit the streets. The move was made to support food delivery across the Big Apple as more residents are sheltering in place. Here’s hoping this gets the city to permanently rethink the ban!
Scooter shutdown: Seated e-scooter provider Wheels is the latest operator to suspend operations, pausing until the end of March. Despite micromobility providing a socially distanced form of mobility, Wheels made the decision to protect its field team.
Emergency COVID19 infrastructure: Bogota, Colombia has created emergency bike lane networks almost overnight to help with social distancing for people relying on transit. Other cities like Mexico City and New York may follow suit.
Help in the age of Corona: BOLT scooters is offering to help organizations in several U.S. states deliver essentials like medicine and food as a safer alternative to public transit. While operators like Bird and Lime are pausing service, Spin is continuing to provide (regularly disinfected) scooters, as an alternate — socially distanced — means of transportation.
Can’t we all get along? Ride Report raises $10 million from Unusual Ventures to continue facilitating a better relationship between the public sector and private micromobility industry, expanding in emerging markets, and scaling their team.
Sniffing scooters: Bird and Plume Labs team up to measure and map out air pollution in Paris, gathering 300,000 data points in just two weeks.
Just add electrons: Madison’s BCycle-operated bike share network saw a doubling of ridership last year after switching its fleet to e-bikes.
I will survive! Contrary to failed bike-sharing startups, Singapore-based Beam shows that it can survive, and even grow, thanks to more data-driven and user-oriented strategies.
SmartCitiesDive, with a report that shows how micromobility could replace 51% of Chicago car trips.
Vice, looking into why Uber drivers in NYC are sleeping in their cars.
Vox, suggesting that America’s mass transit agencies will need a bailout too.
The Economist, spotlighting how foot traffic has fallen sharply in cities with big coronavirus outbreaks.
CityLab, examining how free transit could actually be safer for riders and drivers during these pandemic times.
The Verge, revealing the NYC subway’s new tap-to-pay system has a hidden cost… rider data.
Startups & Corporate
Customer Advocate Field Operations | Carvana | Miami, FL
Constellation Operations and Automation Engineer | SpaceX | Redmond, WA
Buyer II (Electromechanical) – User Terminal Supply Chain | SpaceX | Hawthorne, CA
Director, Brand Strategy | Spin | San Francisco
Head of Growth Marketing | Lyft | San Francisco / Campbell, CA
Solution Consultant | Instacart | Cincinnati, OH
Sr. Software Engineer – Data Infrastructure | Plus.ai | Silicon Valley
Civic & Nonprofit
Transportation Planner | City of Sunnyvale | Sunnyvale, CA
Heavy Duty Vehicles Associate Researcher |
International Council on Clean Transportation | Washington, DC
Transportation Engineer / Traffic Engineer | County of El Dorado | Placerville, CA
Have a job listing that’s perfect for the CoMotion community? Please send it to Jim Manning.
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