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Mobility as a Symphony: Los Angeles Prepares for Transportation of the Future

LADOT is rehearsing now for the day it has to manage autonomous vehicles alongside delivery drones and air taxis.
May 25, 2018, 12pm PDT | Elana Eden
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Supannee Hickman

Like other cities, Los Angeles is working to get ahead of a seeming whack-a-mole of new transportation choices by integrating them into the model of mobility as a service. In an interview with The Planning Report, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds explains how the city's current initiatives—from open streets events and urban greening to Vision Zero and electrification—are laying the groundwork for the future of urban transportation.

"In my ideal vision of the future city, people have a symphony of transportation choices, such that driving alone is the choice of last resort," Reynolds explains. And in assuming the role of conductor, LADOT is partnering with a full orchestra of city departments like Cultural Affairs, Public Health, and City Planning, plus technology start-ups and more private players, to guide the distributed mobility market toward equity and social responsibility.

For instance, one of LADOT's major new initiatives is a public-private partnership, BlueLA, that provides an electric car-sharing service in low-income parts of the city. Launching the globally successful service in underserved communities before branching out across the city is an intentional strategy meant to "drive investment to neighborhoods that might not be the first in line to get these kinds of new services," Reynolds explains. She also elaborates on the city's multidisciplinary approach to its Vision Zero campaign, which tackles street improvements, art and culture, and vehicle design in an effort to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.

The bottom line for Reynolds: "Technologies like autonomous vehicles and dockless bikeshare can be part of the solution, but only if we—government, the public sector, and the public—intentionally guide and nudge them toward the future that we want."

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Published on Monday, May 14, 2018 in The Planning Report
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