Harvard University study to curb congestion

Major global cities may be able to cut down on the ever worsening blight of traffic congestion after the Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation studied the possibility of applying a toll for ride sharing platforms.

The Reforming Mobility Management: Rethinking the Regulatory Framework paper suggests that cities to adopt a “light touch” regulatory regime for ridesharing that employs congestion pricing to create a market-based usage model to wring maximum efficiency from congested urban roadways and curbsides.

The report argues that cities must learn from the heavy, top-down approach of traditional regulatory mechanisms such as taxi medallions, but should rather focus on establishing systems that use locational data and fees to guide company and traveller behaviour.

Lead researcher Stephen Goldsmith argued that cities need to radically rethink their regulatory approaches to transportation providers.

“Cities must embrace a new role of planner, coordinator, and facilitator of a distributed system of integrated providers,” Mr Goldsmith writes in his report.

“Cities must take an active role in the creation of rules to consistently manage the new market.”

Stephen Smyth, Co-founder and CEO of cloud-based digital mapping platform Coord, told Cities Today that coordinating the stakeholders required to build suitable platforms may not be straightforward, but stressed that “cities [that aren’t moving] towards dynamic kerbside pricing risk not being able to pay to repair potholes [and] street lamps”.

Citing research by Professor Rebecca Lewis of the University of Oregon, Smyth said cities already face the risk of losing as much as 81% of their transport through autonomous vehicles and electrification.

The full paper can be found here

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