Emerging Technologies and Cities: Assessing the Impacts of New Mobility on Cities

Becky Steckler, University of Oregon



Digital devices – such as smart phones, tablets, and computers – are significantly changing how people and goods move. Leaders in communities where new mobility services and e-commerce deliveries exist are grappling with how to take advantage of the benefits of these services and mitigate the challenges. Government agencies are just beginning to create strategies and policies to ensure that these new mobility services help communities achieve their goals. These efforts are being led primarily by cities, but transit agencies, coalitions of cities, regional governments, and, increasingly, states are also developing new mobility strategies and policies.

This report analyzes potential impacts and offers recommendations for the cities of Gresham and Eugene, OR, to understand the potential impacts of new mobility technologies – with an emphasis on autonomous vehicles (AVs) – and prepare a policy and programmatic response. While Gresham and Eugene are case studies, the report provides mid-sized communities information on how new mobility services could impact their communities and what they can do about it, from broad strategies to specific policy responses. While this work focuses on the various new mobility and goods delivery services that currently exist, the framework that is discussed here is also applicable to emerging technologies that haven’t yet been introduced, such as autonomous vehicles (AVs).

The introduction of new mobility services and the growth of e-commerce are rapidly changing transportation systems across the United States and in Oregon. The cities of Gresham and Eugene understand that they need to tackle these issues head-on. The Urbanism Next Center recommends that each city adopt a new mobility strategy that addresses a number of key policy topics. A new mobility strategy should:

• Start with community values and goals.
• Coordinate with regional partners.
• Develop a data privacy, management, and analysis plan.
• Continue to learn from new mobility and e-commerce research, policies, and programs in larger cities and regions across the U.S.
• Inform decision makers and residents about how emerging technologies are impacting cities.

In addition, a new mobility strategy should ensure that cities can:

• Improve safety
• Improve social equity
• Promote active transportation
• Decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental quality
• Reduce vehicle miles traveled and congestion
• Adapt right-of-way design and management for new mobility services
• Consider and manage changes in land use and metropolitan footprint
• Make informed decisions by requiring information
• Manage innovation
• Consider fiscal impacts and opportunities

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
October 31,2019
UTC Grant Cycle:
NITC 16 Round 2
UTC Funding: