Happy Labor Day to our American readers (and to our friends in Canada, we hope you have a lovely Labour Day as well!) Because it’s a holiday, we’ll keep things short and sweet; last week saw aerospace and battery tech companies alike raise hundreds of millions of dollars, fare free transit continue to gain momentum, Amazon closing in on drone-powered delivery, and LAX-bound pilots spy a jetpack. If you’re not outside grilling some holiday hotdogs, read on for more.
Global Leaders in Urban Wellbeing to Meet Sep. 15-17.
Cities around the world are increasingly facing challenges of public health, economic development, social inequality, and transit – all now exacerbated by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. This second edition of the Wellbeing Cities Forum, organized by CoMotion’s sister non-profit institution NewCities Foundation, will connect NewCities’ expansive network of local and international mayors, city leaders, corporate executives, and experts from non profits and academia, all committed to advancing urban wellbeing. The Forum will also connect and recognize the 2020 Wellbeing Cities Award laureates, with leaders of the five winning cities presenting their initiatives in the distinct categories: integrating nature and biodiversity; planning for better urban health; building a vibrant urban economy; supporting cohesive communities; and prioritizing wellbeing.
Giddy up meets surf’s up! A number of Texan ride-hailing startups are making their way to the Golden State, bringing along their hard-won expertise from Austin’s 2016 battle with Uber and Lyft, as California and the TNCs continue to duke it out over AB5.
Lithium or gold? VW-backed battery tech startup QuantumScape plans to go public (via SPAC, of course.) The San Jose-based company will raise capital to commercialize its solid-state pure lithium batteries, which claim to increase EV energy density by over 50%.
Surf’s up: Santa Monica-based Surf Air secures a $200 million investment, as the subscription jet company pushes forward with plans to offer a zero-emissions “mass market” service, and an eventual IPO.
LA lights the way: Los Angeles may not be known for its pedestrian realm, but its iconic streetlights are well appreciated in architecture and design circles (as anyone that has ever seen Chris Burden’s sculpture outside of the county art museum can attest!) Now, after a year-long competition, the city reveals its first new design in ages, with an emphasis on returning lamp posts to a human scale. Kudos to our friend who made this project possible, LA City’s Chief Design Officer, Christopher Hawthorne.
54,000: that’s how many electric trucks analysts are now predicting will be sold in the U.S. by 2025, as new models from Tesla, eCascadia, and Xos hit the roads. Given that there are currently only about 2,000 deployed today, that’s some impressive green growth. And that doesn’t even take into account a surge in hydrogen fuel cell models…
September means a lot of things: kids going back to (virtual) school, Labor Day, Oktoberfest, etc. But equally important is that it’s everyone’s favorite occasion: National Rail Safety Month! So be sure to look both ways before crossing the tracks, and never run to catch that train…
What a jolt: given that it’s Monday morning and maybe you haven’t had your coffee yet… *wake up* by taking a look at these wild photos of BMW’s new concept electric motorcycle. We’ve never seen anything quite like this futuristic ride!
Brave new world: as delivery apps rewrite the rules of commerce, clever workers are figuring out how to game the algorithm. Case in point: Amazon delivery drivers are hanging smartphones outside of popular Chicago shopping destinations, to trick the dispatching app into thinking they’re the closest driver available.
A van with a plan: school kids may be used to getting in busses and vans to take school trips, but that’s currently out of the question, given the pandemic. Now, a clever school transport operator in Orange County, CA has retrofitted its vans to instead drive mobile internet hot spots to neighborhoods where children lack reliable broadband internet. We like this a lot.
More chargers headed your way: California’s assembly passes AB841, a new bill that should lead to tens of thousands of additional EV chargers being deployed across the state. Legislators were able to work with ChargePoint and the Electric Vehicle Charging Association to reach a compromise on training requirements, and the bill now awaits Governor Newsom’s signature.
Beats traffic! Multiple airline pilots spotted a rogue “guy in a jetpack” as they made their final landing approaches at LAX. As fun as that may sound, we strongly recommend you don’t try that at home…
Are fair fares in the air? It looks like the concept of free transit is already spreading across SoCal. Fresh off LA Metro’s plan to study the concept, Metrolink, the region’s commuter rail system, has gone ahead and implemented it on a limited basis. Meanwhile, Paris is also experimenting with free transit for youth.
Was someone driving that car? Next time you suspect you spy an autonomous vehicle beside you, you can check the NHTSA’s newly released tool that tracks autonomous vehicle deployment across the country.
Drone zone for Bezos’ boxes: Amazon moves closer to offering drone-powered delivery, as the FAA offers Part 135 certification to the ecommerce giant. The company’s electric hexagonal drones can carry up to five pounds, and are intended to drop packages at customers’ doorsteps.
Speaking of delivery drones: the Federal Aviation Authority is working to be ahead of the curve for this burgeoning delivery system. The FAA awards the Nevada Institute for Autonomous System $1.8 million to study and test virtual unmanned traffic management technology.
Mo’ ped, less money: Berlin’s Unu seated scooter finally begins shipping to customers. Using a business model popularized by electric kickscooter brands, the €2,799 Vespa-style vehicle is also leasable, at an affordable €69 per month price. SoCal-based Anza also announces a low cost model, available at a ridiculously reasonable price of $1,200.
Match made in heaven: carefully differentiating between “subway-complementing and subway-substituting trips,” a new study of Beijing’s transit system demonstrates how dockless bike sharing boosts transit ridership by around 8% and reduces car traffic by 4%.
The Tesla approach: just as charging networks make EVs viable, so too is the case with micromobility. E-bike powertrain maker Bosch is looking to expand its charging network beyond niche vacation spots to larger urban areas to “pave the way for e-bike mobility in the future.”
They’re back baby! U.S.-based Lime is back in Brazil and Chile with new sanitation protocols after nearly 4 months out of commission, giving South Americans a healthy mobility option during the pandemic.
Bloomberg CityLab, exploring if the pandemic is saving the old school drive-in movie theater.
Pacific San Diego, analyzing how the pandemic has affected local traffic, and what it means for the San Diego region’s transport plans.
The Real Deal, gaming out how the MTA’s meltdown could spell trouble for Manhattan real estate.
Smart Cities Dive, looking at next steps, now that governments across the U.S. have declared racism a public health crisis.
Bloomberg CityLab, making the case that after the pandemic subsides, life should not go back to “normal.”
Startups & Corporate
Mobility Partnerships Manager | Populus | San Francisco, CA
Expansion Principal | Via | New York, NY
Hub Manager | Didi Chuxing | Australia
Civic & Nonprofit
Project Manager II | SFMTA | San Francisco, CA
Risk Assessment Officer | TTC | Toronto, Canada
Marketing Coordinator | Capital Metro | Austin, TX
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