movmi compiles data about different cities on a regular basis. The 2019 Shared Mobility City Index (SMCI) edition provides a comprehensive overview on shared mobility infrastructure and policy of 20 North American cities and ranks them against their peers.
Assessing each city with limited academic research, makes it difficult to determine when and if a city is has a viable market for shared mobility services. Using the knowledge of industry experts and consulting with shared mobility projects, the criteria for the Index was developed.The SMCI takes into consideration functional, political, social and environment components to assess whether a city is suitable for shared mobility services.
For the 2019 SMCI edition, the cities were evaluated against commuting patterns (25%), city sustainability vision and plans (25%), shared mobility providers (15%), public to private cost comparison (10%) and city density (5%).
This year, some updates were made that changed the criteria slightly. The team reviewed more than 200 transportation plans and regulations. This lead us to add a new chapter for each city looking at policies that provide ease of doing business. We also built out the shared mobility modes we’re looking at. In the past we focused on carsharing and bikesharing but this year we added microtransit, scooter sharing, vanpooling and ridesharing options. This gives a much more comprehensive view of how familiar residents are with new forms of transportation. We also developed a proxy to assess how expensive vehicle ownership is: the ratio is a comparison between downtown parking costs and monthly public transit passes.
For SMCI 2019 edition, we also wanted to include cities that were “up and coming”. While the city may not have the strongest shared mobility structure to date, we see them as cities that could get there in the not-so-distant future.
So here is the final ranking for 2019, by overall score:
San Francisco ranked number one out of all 20 North American cities evaluated. San Francisco is known for being at the centre of the mobility revolution and is considered a leader in disruptive innovation. Many shared mobility services have the origins in the Bay area, such as Uber and Turo. Recently, San Francisco was the nerve centre for the latest iteration of micromobility solutions: electric kick scooter sharing as a service.
COMMUTING PATTERNS: It’s reputation aside, the SMCI report ranked San Francisco highly in all of the criteria. The city scored 20 out of 25 points in commuting patterns. Walking, biking and taking public transit just one day a week for a year, can save San Franciscans more than $500 in driving costs.
But there is more: San Francisco businesses with at least 20 employees nationwide must provide a commuter benefits program that encourages employees to bike, take transit and carpool to work every day. This is why, approximately 42 percent of residents use a car, while 37 percent mainly use public transit and 13 percent walk to get to where they need to be.
SUSTAINABILITY VISION AND PLANS: San Francisco is also among the higher scoring cities for Sustainability in the 2019 SMCI report. It scored 25 out of 25 points. The city has a long term sustainability goals which focus on mobility, including the reduction of CO2 emissions and traffic congestion.
One example of their initiatives include the Sustainable City Initiative. This initiative focuses on the long-term sustainability of San Francisco’s built and natural environment. San Francisco also has a Transportation Sector Climate Action Strategy. This strategy identifies the actions that need to be taken with respect to climate mitigation, climate adaptation and the creation of a healthy, resilient and equitable city.
Many of the city’s sustainable strategies have already been realised. Throughout the city, buses have the words “hybrid-electric” and “zero emissions” painted on their side. More than half of MUNI buses and light rails are zero emission, and the remainder will transition to hybrid diesel by 2020.
San Francisco also has special parking permits and incentives for various different types of shared modes.
SHARED MOBILITY: San Francisco has a diverse number of shared mobility offerings. The city has two-way carsharing (Zipcar and Maven) and one-way carsharing (Gig and Upshift). A few mobility companies also offer residents the option for peer-to-peer carsharing, such as Getaround and Turo. With regards to micromobility, San Francisco offers docked and dockless bikesharing (GoBike and JUMP) and e-scooter sharing (Scoot and Skip). Considering this wide variety of services, it understandably scored a perfect 30 out of 30 points on Shared Mobility.
Vancouver has been coined North America’s car share capital. It has 3,000 shared vehicles available between four carshare providers (Car2Go, Evo Car Share, Modo and Zipcar). It is the third largest city, behind San Francisco and New York with regards to urban density, however, it only ranked number seven in the SMCI 2019 report and is no longer the top Canadian city (compared to the 2017 SMCI edition). While Vancouver used to be at the forefront of shared mobility incentives and permits, it is starting to fall behind other SMCI cities because it lacks support for the latest iterations of shared mobility: ridehailing and micromobility offerings.
COMMUTING PATTERNS: Similar to San Francisco, Vancouver scored a very high 23 out of 25 points in commuting patterns. In 1996, just 21.8 percent of Metro Vancouver workers said they bused, walked or cycled to work. In 2016, the number increased to 29.5 percent.
Currently, approximately 49 percent of residents use a car, while 30 percent make use of public transit offerings. A massive 6 percent of the population ride a bike and almost 14 percent are walking. Residents of Vancouver are aware that leaving their cars at home, helps the environment, the economy, the community and their health.
SUSTAINABILITY: Vancouver also has a strong plan for a sustainable future that reduces CO2 emission and addresses mobility offerings as a means to reduce traffic congestion. It has become a leading, North American city in the fight against climate change. Vancouver’s trend toward electric vehicles could result in 27 percent decrease in CO2 emissions by 2035. However, buildings and industry emissions, unfortunately, continue to increase.
The city does have strategic sustainability plans in place, such as the Transportation 2040 Plan. This plan aims to make at least half of all trips by foot, bike, and transit by 2020, and two-thirds of all trips by 2040. Another example is the EV Ecosystem Strategy, which builds on Vancouver’s experience with electric vehicles since 2007. The strategy aims to formalise its role in the expansion of charging options until 2021.
Just like San Francisco, Vancouver also has special parking permits for carshare. It also has requirements and incentives for developers to provide transportation demand management measures. However, it does not have much support for micromobility offerings, such as bikesharing and scootersharing. This is why it was ranked in the middle with 15 out of 25 points, for Sustainability.
SHARED MOBILITY: In Vancouver’s most recent transportation survey in 2015, it showed a steady increases in car share membership within the city. Approximately 26 percent of residents residents had a car-sharing membership, up from 20 percent from 2014. One reason for this success is Vancouver’s offering of two-way carsharing, such as Zipcar and Modo. Two-way car sharing allows for the residents to have much more freedom in their transportation needs and therefore created a surge in membership.
The city also offers freefloating carsharing (Car2Go and Evo) and also has docked bikesharing (Mobi). Guided by the Transportation 2040 plan, Vancouver aims to implement more high quality, safe bike routes throughout the city, including the downtown area. However, with no regulations in place, Vancouver does not offer ridehailing, dockless bikesharing and e-scooter sharing. This is why it received 15 out of 30 points for Shared Mobility.