$6m transport seed funding aims for more sustainable, joyful cities

The pace of technology-driven disruption in transportation is not only changing how people get around but changing cities themselves. Governments, companies, non-profits and residents are increasingly asking how to incorporate ride-hailing, dockless bikes and scooters, and even autonomous vehicles into their communities in the right way.

NUMO, the New Urban Mobility alliance, is a new collaborative effort announced today that will help answer these questions through innovative pilot projects, public engagement and experimental research in cities around the world. NUMO aims to guide policymakers, the private sector and people toward a shared vision of cities and urban mobility.

“The pace of innovation and disruption on city streets is forcing everyone – residents, city staff, regulators, and the private sector – to rethink long-held assumptions. It presents us with the opportunity to correct current problems and remake cities for the twenty-first century,” said Robin Chase, Executive Chair of the NUMO Steering Committee and Zipcar Co-Founder. “NUMO seeks to bring together a diversity of actors to bring new voices to the challenge of how to do this and encourage bold experimentation.”

Hosted by WRI Ross Center, NUMO is an outgrowth of the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, which more than 170 companies and governments have signed on to as a guiding vision for more sustainable, inclusive, prosperous and resilient cities. With a $6 million seed grant from philanthropist, businessman and WRI board member Stephen M. Ross, NUMO will be a big tent alliance committed to bringing the Shared Mobility Principles to life.

Rapid changes in urban transportation are outpacing the ability of researchers and government to keep up. And these disruptions have far-reaching effects, affecting labor, land use, government finances, safety and access to opportunity for millions. Targeted research, pilot projects and public engagement campaigns, supported by NUMO and conducted by allies around the world, will catalyze faster answers.

“My hope is that together we will be courageous and audacious, learning from ideas that fail and rapidly scaling successful solutions,” said Ani Dasgupta, head of the NUMO Secretariat and Global Director of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. “We know where we need to go; now we need to provide ways to get there.”

Harriet Tregoning will lead NUMO as its director. She comes to NUMO with deep experience in urban planning, smart mobility and community development, having previously served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, and Director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning. During her tenure in D.C. government, Tregoning, an avid bike commuter, pushed to make it easier for city residents to take public transit, bike or walk. She played a major role in expanding D.C.’s bike infrastructure and launching its pioneering bikeshare program. She is also an expert on smart growth, resilient cities and equity issues.

In the coming months, NUMO working groups will begin developing workplans and initial projects. To learn more about NUMO, including how to join the alliance, visit http://www.numo.global.

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