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Can the Sharing Economy be Leveraged in Disaster Relief? Lessons from California

September 12, 2019

aftereffects of a wildfire

Natural and man-made disasters and their emergency evacuations are more common than many people realize, and remain a common strategy to ensure safety. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most frequent causes of evacuations in the U.S. each year are fires and floods. Due to the heavy reliance on private vehicles in the U.S., evacuations using personally owned automobiles have historically been the focus of many emergency managers. However, this can be problematic for public transit dependent and carless households who may have transportation challenges in an emergency. The critical role of evacuation planning for carless households became a serious issue during Hurricane Katrina when evacuation plans did not adequately include a process for evacuating the estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people without reliable personal transportation. However, New Orleans is not alone. Research has found that one-third of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. do not have evacuation plans, and less than half of cities with evacuation plans mention carless or vulnerable populations.

Lessons learned from past experiences in emergency management include the need...

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Key Takeaways from 2019 U.S. Workshop: Mobility on Demand, Automation, and Equity

August 29, 2019

The market for personal mobility is changing rapidly due to shifting demographics and social trends, as well as technological advances such as: smartphones, information processing, and widespread data connectivity. Over the past year, we have been writing about Mobility on Demand (MOD): an innovative transportation concept evolving around connected travelers, where consumers can access mobility and goods delivery services on-demand by dispatching or using public transportation, shared mobility, courier services, urban air mobility, and other innovative and emerging technologies. MOD is based on the principle that transportation is a commodity where modes have economic values that are distinguishable in terms of cost, journey time, wait time, number of connections, convenience, and other attributes.

In January 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine co-hosted a workshop on: “Mobility on Demand — A Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Future” at the 98th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC. The workshop facilitated a dialogue among over 150 participants from...

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