Moving swiftly to define the shared-mobility future

  • 19-Dec-2017 04:52 UTC

In addition to data sharing with public agencies, a number of shared mobility service providers make data publicly available for download. Capital Bikeshare is one of the operators that provide some of the most expansive publicly available data. (image: Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

Public and private partnerships to standardize data, share data, and protect sensitive data are being formed to help understand—and at the same time define—shared-mobility’s potential to transform the transportation network.

Shared-mobility operators, for example, compile data such as the origin and destination of shared services, travel time, and trip duration. And many shared-mobility companies have agreed to share data with public agencies voluntarily or as part of regulatory mandate.

For example, as part of Washington, DC’s carsharing parking initiative adopted in 2005, carsharing operators seeking on-street parking are required to provide the DDOT (District Department of Transportation) with quarterly data to assess the impacts of their parking program. In 2012, City CarShare voluntarily shared data with the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) during the city’s SFpark pilot to assist planners and policymakers with the development of the carsharing parking policy.

In addition to this data sharing with public agencies, a number of shared-mobility service providers make data publicly available for download. Bay Area Bike Share, Capital Bikeshare, and Citi Bike are a few of the operators that provide some of the most expansive publicly available data.

Finally, data standardization is critical to ensuring compatibility for a variety of uses and platforms. More industry-wide standards, either through trade associations or government regulation, could aid in the development of clear and consistent data formats, data sharing protocols, and privacy protections to ensure open data, interoperability, and comparability across a wide array of platforms.

Cognizant of the need for continued, focused collaboration in all facets of shared-mobility development and among its various constituencies, SAE recently established a Shared and Digital Mobility Committee. This committee is exploring one of the segments the organization has classified as advanced technology areas (connected and automated vehicles, cybersecurity, and shared mobility).

According to SAE Director of Ground Vehicle Standards Jack Pokrzywa, the new Shared and Digital Mobility Committee activity is of interest because it involves three of those advanced technology elements: cyber, connected, and automated. Developing this new committee injects SAE into the future trends emerging at this moment in the shared-mobility sector. “It is really transformative of the transportation space,” he said. “We are seeing a lot of interest out there.”

An in-person kick-off meeting for the new Shared and Digital Mobility Committee was held in early November with approximately 80 individuals in attendance representing various companies such as Uber, Zipcar, Lyft, car2go, Catch-a-Car, the Shared-Use Mobility Center, and the Dept. of Transportation, as well as various OEMs.

The Shared and Digital Mobility Committee met for a second time in December. It worked to develop a preliminary draft of the terms and definition standard. Dr. Susan Shaheen from the University of California-Berkeley, who is leading academic efforts in shared mobility, volunteered to be the document sponsor. It was submitted to the committee for review and further work.

“We anticipate that the terms and definitions document will be a recommended practice technical report,” said Annie Chang, Project Manager, Technical Programs, Global Ground Vehicle Standards. “We are still trying to finalize the scope of this document.”

The group was scheduled to meet again in early January as a face-to-face meeting during the week of the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Technical experts from OEMs who focus on shared mobility are being sought to join the committee.

Chang says the committee hopes to publish the terms and definitions recommended practice sometime in 2018.

For more information on the Shared and Digital Mobility Committee, contact Annie Chang (

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