Chicago — On March 14, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released the New Transportation and Mobility Task Force report, “Roadmap for the Future of Transportation and Mobility in Chicago.” Chaired by former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the Task Force met over the last six months to establish a forward-looking and innovative roadmap to support a 21st century, multi-modal transportation system that effectively integrates new mobility services and technologies.
“Chicago has a world-class transportation system, and we must continue to modernize our mobility services and transit infrastructure to better serve residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With Ray LaHood’s leadership and expertise, we brought together the best and the brightest to help inform how Chicago can move forward and build on our status as a leader in transportation.”
The 20-member Task Force developed the report and spoke with over 40 industry experts and stakeholders to ensure it provides a comprehensive and focused vision for the future of transportation in Chicago. The Task Force examined challenges within the City’s existing transportation network, from accessibility concerns to the rise in ride-hailing trips and congestion issues, as well as the lack of sufficient funding for infrastructure. The Task Force also had focused discussion on the future of transportation – autonomous vehicles, electrification, new micro-mobility services, growth of freight delivery, and data collection and data sharing issues.
“Through Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, Chicago’s transportation system has become a model for the country,” said former US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This report doubles down on the investments already made to modernize the City’s mobility infrastructure and provides a vision for the future of transportation in Chicago.”
The Task Force report provides a set of principles for government leaders and stakeholders to follow for forward-looking policy development, infrastructure planning, the launch of new programs and pilot studies, and studies of new innovations and services. These principles include:
- A transportation system that is safe for all users
- Mobility choices that are accessible, equitable, affordable and non-discriminatory
- Economic development that is inclusive and innovative
- A City that is efficient, smart and reliable
- Communities that are sustainable, healthy, and built using universal design principles
- Data and information that is actionable, transparent, shared, and secure
- Regulation of private providers that is guided by public benefits
Based on these principles, the Task Force developed a set of seven interdependent recommendations to support an efficient, affordable, reliable, and accessible multi-modal transportation system:
- Streamline governance and management of transportation systems and policies within and across City departments, agencies and private sector;
- Develop uniform, detailed and secure data sharing requirements between public and private entities;
- Support investments in transportation infrastructure to meet the City’s mobility goals;
- Encourage mode shift to right-sized capacity and increased passenger mile efficiency;
- Build an accessible, affordable and convenient multi-modal transportation system;
- Advance a transportation and mobility system that promotes the environmental health and sustainability and improves overall livability of the city; and
- Prepare Chicago for Connected and Automated Vehicles.
These recommendations are supported by over 50 specific proposed actions, policy changes or studies, including: increasing funding for transportation by increasing the state’s motor fuel tax and developing reliable alternative long-term funding streams; establishing a Chief Mobility Officer; incentivizing business to provide public transit benefits to employees; determining a governance framework for uniform data-sharing; launching a pilot to study the impacts of autonomous vehicles; ensuring micro-mobility services and new mobility options are accessible for all and do not impede sidewalks; establishing Chicago as a leader in the use of electric vehicles; conducting a scooter-sharing pilot in 2019; and evaluating ways to restructure transportation-related taxes and fees to better support mobility goals, including reducing the reliance on single occupancy vehicles.
In detailing its recommendations, the Task Force also determined the steps the City, its sister agencies, and other key stakeholders must take to implement the actions, policies and studies detailed in the report. The City and Chicago Transit Authority will lead many of the next steps in partnership with Task Force members including City Tech. In collaboration with government, university and industry organizations, City Tech will develop focused pilots to evaluate how a policy, technology, or new solution can contribute to solving mobility problems.