Soon, if you need a ride to the airport or just around town, you’ll have another decision to make. Do you hop in a cab? Request an Uber? Or perhaps….you take a self-driving taxi.
What just a few years ago seemed like futuristic technology right out of a sci-fi movie will be here before you know it.
Ford became the latest large auto manufacturer to unveil its plans for autonomous driving services.
Last week, the company revealed that it will start offering commercial self-driving taxis and delivery services in Washington, D.C. and other yet to be named cities by as early as 2021 – a mere 3 years away. Testing is slated to begin next year.
Uber has a new plan to lock customers into its transportation ecosystem while also expanding the list of services it offers ahead of an expected public offering in 2019. It’s called Ride Pass, and it’s Uber’s attempt at an Amazon Prime-style subscription service.
With the Nov. 6 midterm elections less than a week away, cities and transportation companies are pitching in to help voters hit the polls.
One study by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found that 29% of young Americans surveyed said transportation was a reason that they did not vote in the 2016 election, while 15% said the lack of transportation to their polling place was a “major factor” for not voting. That number rises to 38% for young people of color, who said a lack of transportation played a role for not voting.
To try and combat accessibility woes and drive turnout, cities and businesses are offering discounts and free rides to the polls. Here are some of the highlights:
UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has named the next rounds of winning cities in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Winning cities, of which half have now been selected, will be awarded with resources and technical support to help achieve ambitious climate goals.
Mayor Bloomberg joined Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto in West End Overlook Park on October 21 to announce Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C. as the latest of winning cities. Just last week, in Los Angeles on October 17, Bloomberg joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) President Rhea Suh at the Griffith Park Observatory in recognizing Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and Portland as the second set of selected cities for the Climate Challenge. These cities join Seattle and Atlanta, which were announced in September.
“The response to our Climate Challenge was overwhelming,” said Bloomberg. “Cities all across the country put forward thoughtful and innovative proposals. Selecting the ones with the most ambitious goals – and the most realistic plans for reaching them – was not easy. With Washington asleep at the wheel, cities need to step up in the fight against climate change – and these cities are leading the way,” added Bloomberg.
The District is designating curbside space for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft at locations across the city — an effort to reduce the number of vehicles that stop to pick up and drop off passengers in bike lanes, crosswalks and travel lanes.
The District Department of Transportation is adding the pickup and drop-off zones at five entertainment hot spots where visitors are dependent on the services to get around. Those sites are the nightlife hub of 14th and U streets, the National Zoo and Georgetown in Northwest, the Wharf waterfront development in Southwest and Union Market in Northeast.
The 24-hour-a-day zones will also be used for commercial loading, officials said. They are expected to go live later this year, following a public comment period and the installation of signs.