Transportation values and vision – See Seattle’s

The way we move is changing rapidly. There are so many options to get around the city and the metro area, even beyond. You can walk or bike for shorter distances. You can get on a bus, train, or light rail. You can drive your own car. You can hail a ride, reserve a car share vehicle, or join a carpool on the fly. Soon, there will be new, private dock-less bike share services, and our streets will see automated vehicles in the not too distant future.

Mobile apps help us find the best driving route or catch the right bus or bike the least hilly route. Mobile payment systems allow us to book any service and have it automatically charged to our credit cards or bank accounts.

New mobility are those emerging elements of our transportation system that are enabled by digital technology, shared, driven by real-time data, and often providing curb-to-curb transportation. It allows people  to treat urban transportation as a customizable, on-demand service, book and pay for different transportation services as they go, based on what they need.

In the early decades of the 20th Century, many of our cities adapted streets and land uses to automotive technology instead of shaping it to serve our city and its people.

In Seattle, their approach to new mobility services and emerging mobility innovations is driven by the following:

Put People and Safety First

The public right of way is our most valuable and most flexible public space. Our streets should prioritize access for people, amplifying the role and value of walking, biking, and transit. We respect the desire to retain and use privately owned vehicles; but will continue to manage the transportation system to move people and goods safely and efficiently. Safety is paramount, no matter how you get around. Our streets should be comfortable and intuitive for our most vulnerable travelers (people walking and biking).

Shared, automated, and other new mobility models should not only advance our Vision Zero safety goals, they should also maintain consumer protections.

Design for Customer Dignity and Happiness

Transportation happiness is a key indicator. We will not only simplify and enhance the user experience of public transit and new mobility services, we will continue to promote a diversity of transportation choices. Dignified public transit and new mobility services must accommodate people with mobility impairments, non-traditional schedules, and families that need flexible mobility options.

Advance Race and Social Justice

New mobility, whether shared, public, private, or automated, is a fundamental human need. Everyone needs a barrier-free transportation system and affordable transportation options that are understandable and accessible to all who want to use them. New mobility models should also promote clean transportation and roll back systemic racial and social injustices borne by the transportation system.

Forge a Clean Mobility Future

We are committed to climate action. We will transition our transportation sector to one which furthers our climate goals and builds replicable models for the rest of the world. New mobility services should use clean energy and expand human-powered transportation.

Keep an Even Playing Field

Data infrastructure is foundational to understanding, operating, and planning in a constantly changing transportation system. Partnerships and a fair and flexible regulatory environment will nurture and expand new mobility ideas, companies, jobs, and workforce training.


What the experts are saying about the New Mobility Playbook

Cities are being rapidly reshaped by emerging mobility technologies, but Seattle’s new playbook demonstrates their commitment to getting ahead of that curve by taking proactive, holistic steps to ensure that this transformation helps them achieve their economic, safety and environmental goals while increasing access and opportunity for all of their residents. Given the pace and momentum of change in urban transportation, Seattle’s flexible, outcome-oriented approach will be critical to maximizing the potential of these technologies and becoming a city full of opportunity for decades to come.
Russ Brooks, Transportation for America
Seattle shares all-to-common transportation challenges, but innovators will benefit from reading this report and understanding the city’s unique priorities and vision for the future of mobility.
Stonly Baptiste, Partner at Urban Us Ventures
The New Mobility Playbook is the clearest sign yet that cities finally understand they must control their connected mobility destinies. Left to their own devices, new technologies, companies and services will never create a more responsive and equitable transportation system — cities play an invaluable role in guiding their development. It’s great to see Seattle DOT embracing the future and inviting entrepreneurs to work with it, on its own terms, rather than at cross-purposes.
Greg Lindsay, Senior Fellow, Mobility, New Cities Foundation
Seattle’s New Mobility Playbook sets a forward-thinking vision for people-first transportation. It codifies a plan for 21st century cities to harness technology as a tool to support sustainable and equitable transportation systems.
Mollie Pelon, National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)