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Emily Castor: Ride-Sharing is the Next Transportation Revolution

Lyft, a startup company that matches customers with a driver at the tap of a button, launched in 2012 and today handles 14 million rides every single month. Emily Castor, director of transportation policy for Lyft, discussed the popularity and benefits of ride-sharing during a Mobility Next talk titled “Shared Mobility and the End of Car Ownership.”

Castor has been on the front lines of ride-sharing policy since its birth, pointing out that ride-sharing is becoming a key way for people to get around.

Evaluating the current transportation model used globally based on occupancy and utilization, Castor said the failing system needs to be rebuilt.

“We need to use imagination and technology to do that in a way that creates a livable experience for our society. People spend way too much of their time commuting than getting to work on time or with their families. In this era of intense smartphone connectivity, we have an opportunity to correct a problem that can greatly impact human life, greatly impact our cities,” she said.

Castor’s means of finding a solution was to look back at historic transit changes. There have been two transportation revolutions, the first being trains and canals, facilitating the creation of cities and interstate commerce. The second being the creation of the automobile, which accelerated the economy, but also created negative issues such as congestion, environmental impact and social isolation.

In today’s world, new generations are starting to discover and rediscover the joy of living in an urban environment. This creates a need to re-evaluate the way we use urban land and infrastructure, Castor said. The third transportation revolution will be shared autonomous vehicle fleets through shared networks, electric powertrains and autonomous vehicle technology.


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