Guest Blog by Kathleen Osher
Executive Director, Transit Alliance
We at Transit Alliance are excited about shared use mobility and how new choices like car and bike sharing can empower and connect people. We are in a moment of disruption for transportation as an industry, and shared use mobility is at the leading edge of a fundamental change. The exciting opportunity for us is that we are keenly aware and focused on how people fit into this equation, because we have spent the past decade centering the conversation on people.
In 2006 I had the idea to begin a transit education program in Metro Denver and I began planning what would become Transit Alliance’s cornerstone, the Citizens’ Academy. In the discussion I heard around transit, I noticed that the way we talked about transportation was very much limited to corridors, infrastructure, and efficiency. What was missing in this conversation was people, and how our mode choice can help to connect or disconnect us from the people and places around us. I wanted to build an educational program where we could make the association between transit and the positive effects it can have on people when there is intentionality in design and execution around new transit infrastructure. Transit Alliance now boasts over 720 graduates of the Academy.
I believe that the success of the Academy is because we connect with the human side of transportation and our definition of transit encompasses more than just trains and buses. The Academy was never intended to have a static list of topics and speakers, but I would not have imagined the way the curriculum has evolved. We host sessions about our expanding light rail network and transit-oriented development, but we now include classes on shared-use mobility with a carshare panel and bikeshare presentation. And now, Transit Alliance is helping bring Live.Ride.Share to Denver so that we can bring this education to an even wider audience!
We are excited to sponsor, plan for, and attend Live.Ride.Share, because this summit introduces the idea of a mobility marketplace to this region for the first time. While in some ways it may feel like the conversation dominated nationally by technology, this is an opportunity for our region to have a genuine dialogue about what this means for our citizens. We have always made people the main topic of discussion in our Citizens’ Academy, and for this summit we are motivated by the question of how shared-use mobility can benefit people.
Some questions we’re looking forward to discussing:
- How can new shared-use mobility choices serve all people across socioeconomic groups and outside of the downtown area?
- What is the relationship between shared-use mobility and increasing safety and accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists?
- What can citizens do to ensure that our communities thrive during this mobility revolution?