Women in Mobility: Interview with Susan Shaheen

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interview with susan shaheen

We had the pleasure of speaking with Susan Shaheen, a professor at University of Berkley and Co-Director at Transportation Sustainability Research Center. A researcher of sustainable transportation and a pioneer of carsharing, it was enlightening to hear what Susan thinks will be next in the shared mobility industry, as well as how we can make carsharing more attainable and integrated into all of our communities. You can follow Susan here.

1. How will shared mobility change in the next 5 years? 

The five-year outlook for shared mobility will largely be dependent on automation and if its both ready for market and legally permissible within this timeframe. While automation may likely be ready for market, there are a lot of legal and regulatory challenges that exist that may not be overcome within this timeframe. 

The following trends are likely to occur over the next five years: 

– Growth of shared mobility and other on-demand services (primarily microtransit, for-hire vehicle services, courier network services, and other app-based services, including but not limited to mobility aggregators and other transportation-related apps)

– Increasing fleet electrification, primarily driven by improvements in technological capability (longer ranges and faster charge times)

– Improvements in automated technologies (although they may not be ready for market within five years).

2. Why is shared mobility important for our cities and communities? 

Shared mobility is important for a number of reasons. Depending on the mode and service model, it can be more environmentally sustainable (e.g., encouraging walking, first-and-last mile connections to public transit, use of alternative modes, and clean/cleaner vehicles, etc.). Shared mobility can also provide critical access for underserved and special needs populations (e.g., older adults, disabled, suburban and rural communities with fewer public transit options, etc.).  

3. What do we have to do to convince more people to make shared mobility part of their lifestyle?

This depends on why particular users are not currently using shared mobility (e.g., access to services may not exist or be limited, digital or income divide). For some, it is convincing people that they have modes available to them so they do not have to use a single occupant vehicle. For others, it may be communicating the potential cost savings of pay-per-use vs. auto ownership. For others, it may be about making shared mobility more convenient (e.g., improving apps, multi-modal aggregation, joint fare payment, etc.).  

View our slideshow video featuring Susan Shaheen’s answers below:

Are you a professional working in the shared mobility industry? We’d love to hear from you about what the future of carsharing holds. Contact us to contribute to our next interview series.

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