Seattle’s New Mobility Playbook, Transportation Tech Strategy, TransitScore and more

Also see groundbreaking Los Angeles Transportation Technology Strategy, Digital Matatus and TransitScore, and TransportationCamp

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 Seattleites to treat urban transportation as a customizable, on-demand service. They can book and pay for different transportation services as they go, based on what they need.

Program Goals

In the early decades of the 20th Century, Seattle adapted its streets and land uses to automotive technology instead of shaping it to serve our city and its people. Our approach to new mobility services and emerging mobility innovations in Seattle will be 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 in Seattle. 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 Seattle. 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 of the 21st Century Seattle Department of Transportation. 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.

SUMC and SUMC’s team is, to paraphrase Archimedes, a ‘place to stand to move the earth.’”

Benjie previously served as the first ever Chief of Strategy and Innovation for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) where he led the development of nationally recognized technology and mobility strategies such as Seattle’s New Mobility Playbook and the draft Transportation Information Infrastructure Plan. The two documents were noted for using equity and community values to drive technology strategy. Benjie also introduced lean and agile methodologies to the agency.

Benjie was on the advisory committee to the groundbreaking Los Angeles Transportation Technology Strategy (pdf link), and he initiated projects such as Digital Matatus and TransitScore, and was a key player in the inception of TransportationCamp. Benjie spent nearly a decade in the philanthropic sector directing international and domestic urban and transportation programs for the Rockefeller Foundation, and leading community and national strategy for the Knight Foundation. He conceptualized and led the Informal City Dialogues. He also advised Cooper-Hewitt’s The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility, and Design with the Other 90% exhibits.

Currently, Benjie chairs the recently inaugurated Global Partnership for Informal Transportation and serves on the US Advisory Group of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. He also founded the boutique consulting firm Agile City Partners, which is focused on bringing the agile mindset to cities around the world.

“I have big shoes to fill and am grateful for the success that Sharon created with the team. I am particularly looking forward to the leadership role SUMC will play in addressing the issues of climate change and social justice through equitable transportation,” Benjie continued. “Making sure families and individuals can live and thrive without needing to own a car plays a massive role in addressing the existential and conjoined planetary and societal crises we face.”

Benjie completed his Masters in Urban Planning from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (with a focus on the use of technology for planning). He has a bachelor’s degree in Communication, majoring in Journalism, from the University of the Philippines.

About the Shared-Use Mobility Center

The Shared-Use Mobility Center is a public-interest organization dedicated to achieving equitable, affordable, and environmentally sound mobility across the US through the efficient sharing of transportation assets. By connecting the public and private sectors, piloting programs, conducting new research, and providing policy and technical expertise to cities and regions, SUMC seeks to extend the benefits of shared mobility for all.

Read Benjie’s Bio