- More than 500 experts -- including public sector transportation leaders, private sector innovators and community representatives from a diverse array of organizations -- gathered in Chicago on October 17-19 for the 2016 National Shared Mobility Summit.
The only national conference focused exclusively on shared mobility, this year's summit featured provoking keynotes, in-depth panel discussions, interactive tours, the largest shared mobility expo in North America and more. Following is a brief overview of the three action-packed days that were #SUMC16. Thanks again to all those who contributed their time, energy and ideas to make this year's summit the best one yet!
Also, if you were able to join us, please take a moment to complete this short survey to share some feedback on your experience. Presentations from conference speakers and a full gallery of event photos will be available shortly.
- Big Issues: Despite the wide variety of material covered at the summit, many panels, sessions and conversations seemed to come back to the biggest challenges facing cities today -- such as climate change, accessibility, land use, and poverty and economic development -- and focus on ways that shared mobility and public transit can be used to help address them.
- Making a Federal Case: The federal government has begun to play a more active role in the shared mobility industry. At the summit, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Associate Administrator Vincent Valdes gave a morning keynote on day one that covered the winning projects from the agency's Mobility On Demand Sandbox program and talked about the agency's plans for the future. On day two, Gwo-Wei Torng, director of the FTA's Office of Mobility Innovation, moderated a panel featuring finalists from the USDOT's recent Smart Cities Challenge.
- Avoiding an Autonomous Dystopia: Several sessions at the summit touched on the imminent arrival of autonomous vehicles, and what cities can do to ensure that self-driving fleets reduce congestion, cut emissions and support (not undermine) public transit. In her keynote presentation on day one, Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase framed this process as our era's most pressing concern.
- In general, Robin's keynote had people talking -- and the #SUMC hashtag trending on Twitter.