Happy Monday, and depending on where you are… happy Thanksgiving, happy Columbus Day, or Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day! Holiday or no, the world of mobility pushes boldly ahead, with major announcements from the likes of Hyperloop, Amazon / Rivian, and our own 2020 LA New Mobility Challenge. We’re also intrigued by a plan for high speed rail in British Columbia, transit troubles in Honolulu, and Waymo opening up for public access in Arizona. Read on for all the details…
Hyperloops in the holler: Virgin Hyperloop One is headed to Appalachia, as it announces plans to construct a $500M certification center in West Virginia. Seventeen other states vied for the prized project, which will focus on testing, developing, and validating the high-speed transport technology.
An Amazonian unveiling: meet the new Rivian van, designed specifically for Amazon’s logistics needs. While Bezos and company have remained mum on the details of this electric delivery vehicle, expect to see 10,000 of them on the streets by early 2022, and a whopping 100,000 by 2030. We like – a lot.
Calling all mobility startups! The 2020 LA New Mobility Challenge is officially open for applications, with a focus on transporting people and goods in urban environments. Dot.LA has all the details on the fourth edition of CoMotion and partners’ annual challenge.
An HSR for the Great White North? Local advocates have proposed a new high speed rail system, meant to link Vancouver, BC with regional towns and ski areas. While cost estimates are high, the group is projecting 100,000 daily riders. Going from killer dim sum in Gastown to fresh powder at Whistler in half an hour? Count us in, eh!
This is what democracy looks like: LA Metro to provide ballot drop-off boxes at 19 transit stations across LA County. “The health of our democracy depends on our participation, and we have to do everything possible to empower Americans to exercise their fundamental rights,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti.
Trouble in P3-aradise: Honolulu’s nascent rail system has been dogged by cost overruns, and now its last segment may be stuck in limbo. The city of Honolulu announces its withdrawal from the public-private-partnership after bids came in way over budget; all eyes are on what the local transit agency (HART) will do next.
Getting transit systems back to health: a new guide from the Partnership for Healthy Cities, an initiative of Vital Strategies and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is designed to help cities reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within urban mass transit systems.
A real public-private win-win: privately-owned railroad Brightline and public commuter rail system SunRail are in discussions about sharing planned tracks headed to Orlando Airport and Disney World. Sounds like a nice new option for Florida commuters…
Extra express: Chengdu inaugurates Metro Line 18. This new express line, surprisingly rare for sprawling Chinese cities, opens exactly 10 years after China’s big western metropolis opened its first subway line. Can we get some of that infrastructure investment stateside?
Talk about a pick-me-up! Ford reveals a new electric range extender that conveniently installs into the bed of its forthcoming EV F-150. Eliminating range anxiety on work trucks? We’re all for ever-more compelling reasons to go electric!
Xos-um news: it’s a big week for e-truck maker Xos, as it announces a major tie up with legacy truck manufacturer Hino, which will help the startup with production of its all-electric Xos ET-One. On top of that, the company appoints Elemental Excelerator’s Danielle J. Harris to the board, bringing considerable public and private mobility experience to the LA-based company.
Big air: Los Angeles’ electric aviation pioneer Ampaire marks a major milestone, as its all-electric aircraft logs the longest flight for a commercial-grade airplane powered by electric propulsion. Its six-seater Cessna flew over 340 miles, from Greater LA to the SF Bay Area. Onwards and upwards, Ampaire!
Way mo’ for Waymo: Alphabet’s self-driving subsidiary is opening its Waymo One service up to the general public. Now over 600 square miles of greater Phoenix will be served by 100% driverless robotaxis. Ever wanted to get from Scottsdale to Mesa without a pesky human getting in the way? Well now’s your chance!
That just about sums up 2020 in a nutshell… In Northern California, as the pandemic and wildfires raged on, autonomous car safety drivers were faced with a tough choice: pandemic or pollution?
Self-driving suburbs: Following Waymo’s move in Arizona, Voyage’s CEO Oliver Cameron is also optimistic that widely deployed robotaxis are only one or two years away. While they may not be ready to cruise the hectic streets of Hong Kong or Chicago, he predicts they’re just about ready for prime time in places like retirement communities and low density suburbs.
Terrifying, just terrifying! Hyundai reveals development plans for an autonomous “walking car,” set to cruise all sorts of terrain with “dog-like legs” that would allow it to traverse uneven rocks and even scale five-foot walls. Maybe this one was best kept in the sci-fi outtakes bin…
Paris by air: Choose Paris Region announces a new RFP for companies looking to “Reinvent Air Mobility” in the greater Paris metropolis. Ready to soar over the Champs Elysee? Apply today!
Great strides: European cities are making significant progress in cycling infrastructure and adoption during the global pandemic. Combined, the continent has invested more than €1 billion to build out urban bike networks, creating approximately 2,300 kms of new lanes. Some experts say even more is still needed.
Roll to the Polls: the North American Bikeshare Association announces Roll to the Polls, an effort to offer free or lower-cost mobility to polling stations on America’s election day, to help even more US citizens exercise their right to vote. Yes, please.
Uncovering latent demand: As car traffic plummets, many cities are seeing some of their most significant growth in bike riding by women. Consider this further evidence that pre-pandemic low ridership numbers were more about rider comfort and safety than lack of perceived bike convenience. Notably in New York, the number of female riders in July jumped a whopping 147%.
Traffic-proofing medical response: because doctors in Paris are often stuck in the city’s notorious car traffic, French electric bicycle retailer Ecox and consulting agency Wunderman Thompson team up to design and launch Emergency Bikes, an electric e-cargo bike “designed by and for doctors” to help them beat the traffic.
Swap while you shop: during a 6 week trial, a local shop in Finland saw increased foot traffic and sales thanks to a newly installed Tier scooter battery swapping station. The company wants to replicate this success with 400 stations in London and help local businesses generate an additional £6.7m.
Growing pains for e-bikes: Electric bike sales are booming, but now upstart brands like VanMoof and Rad Power are facing an unforeseen problem: how do they service all those novice customers and deal with new bike maintenance issues?
Bloomberg CityLab, analyzing the odds of transit referendums passing in the pandemic era.
Pedestrian Observations, breaking down what size cities are best suited for HSR.
Business Insider with a lurid tail of spying, corruption, and suicide, involving VW and its suppliers.
Job Trends in partnership with New Mobility Careers.
Planes, trains, and automobiles (and boats!) make appearances in this week’s job trends. Let’s dive in…
• Fresh off its big media blitz a couple weeks ago, Lucid Motors is highlighting a new role focused on building out its retail experience.
• Hyundai’s UAM group is continuing to ramp up, big-time as it adds new openings across the org. Hyundai continues its approach of building the whole company in parallel; new jobs range from supply chain to aerial acoustics to the head of flight technology.
• SPIN continues to spin up new roles, with a focus this past week on policy roles across a number of major metropolitan markets. It looks like Holly Gordon and Brian Kyuhoon No decided the team needed more reach as SPIN’s operations get rolling.
• Superpedestrian adds a couple job reqs to its Operations team. But when we looked further, we realized the company’s claims about its scooter longevity are about to be put to the test in a big way: they have ops openings in ten different markets.
• Don’t assume urban mobility requires wheels or wings; hulls work perfectly well, too, as two new engineering roles at Pure Watercraft illustrate.
• And if you’re hoping to help a major airport negotiate the incredible challenges facing aerial mobility today, Austin International is hiring on its government affairs team.
• If you prefer to say more grounded, LA Metro is looking for a Director of Wayside Systems for its train operations.
• Lastly, have you ever found yourself saying “Man, ga toch Bricken”? If so, this might be the job for you.
Have a job listing that’s perfect for the CoMotion community? Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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