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Pittsburgh Launches Innovative Mobility Service

Monday, July 19, 2021

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Earlier this month, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto joined the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure and partners today in launching Move PGH—a first of its kind Mobility as a Service system in the nation.

According to a press release issued by the city, the Move PGH system will integrate transit and shared mobility in both physical and digital “mobility hubs” making multimodal travel in the city easy and convenient.

“Transportation mobility is key to economic mobility and a major determinant in household health, education, and welfare. In Pittsburgh, too many residents are one missed bus or one flat tire away from losing their job or missing a critical appointment,” said Peduto. “Universal Basic Mobility, using the services of Move PGH, will demonstrate that when people have a readily available transportation back-up plan they are able to access more opportunities and climb the economic ladder.”

Move PGH

Enabling a second city-led program, a “Universal Basic Mobility” pilot, the new system of integrated services plans to provide up to 100 local low-income residents with monthly transit subscriptions and shared mobility services to address mobility insecurity, which supports Pittsburgh’s equity principles on easily access to fresh food, basic transportation and safe travel without reliving on a vehicle.

As reported by WESA-FM, some 40% of all trips people make in Pittsburgh cover less than 2 miles, inspiring the program to create more travel alternatives, making it easier for the nearly one-quarter of city residents who don’t have access to a car.

Grant funding will reportedly cover the cost of monthly subscriptions to Move PGH partner services for the 100 low-income individuals for six months. The Manchester Citizens Corporation will further support these individuals with “trip coaching” to ensure they know how to use the various services.

The dual initiatives are the result of two years of work by a unique public-private-nonprofit partnership, which originally started in 2019 when the city announced the collection of private-sector partners—among them Spin, Zipcar, Healthy Ride, Scoobi (Pittsburgh’s homegrown moped company), Waze Carpool, and Transit—that had been selected through a competitive application process.

Piotrus, CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated, via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto joined the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure and partners today in launching Move PGH—a first of its kind Mobility as a Service system in the nation.

“It’s not just sort of a Wild West [where] every private-sector partner does whatever they want without coming together to make sure we’re achieving the city’s goals,” Katie Monroe, who works for Transit’s partnerships team, said. “It is going to be a cool model for other cities to look to.”

By connecting traditional and emerging low-cost, shared transportation options into a single, easy to use system, travelers will be able to select and plan a variety of options using the Transit app or by visiting one of the 50 new mobility hubs throughout the city.

Led by DOMI and built around existing foundational systems of public transit and bike share, Move PGH integrates a coalition of existing and new “last mile” service providers organized by Spin including: 

  • A new fleet of shared low-speed electric scooters provided by Spin;
  • Expanded carshare services provided by Zipcar;
  • A fleet of electric mopeds by Scoobi;
  • Carpool matching and commuting services facilitated through Waze Carpool;
  • Electric charging for e-scooters provided by Swiftmile;
  • Real time transit and mobility information on TransitScreens at mobility hubs; and
  • Trip planning and most trip booking available through Transit.

“Real accessibility means having the freedom to go where you want to go and the ability to get there,” said Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman. “Port Authority is proud to provide the access, and we're excited for Move PGH, together with Transit, to offer the options. We may be the primary agency that moves our region forward, but we're happy that our riders have so many other reliable transit options that allow them to be able to access our region.”

In addition to improving transportation flexibility and resiliency for the general public, the Move PGH Universal Basic Mobility demonstration will specifically test if reliable access to transit and a range of shared mobility options improves employment and health outcomes for low-income workers and their households. 

Moving forward, Spin will be providing funding to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and will also be working with Urban Institute to evaluate the demonstration to potentially serve as a national model.

Move PGH and the Universal Basic Mobility demonstration are funded by the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Spin, in partnership with InnovatePGH.

Transportation Initiatives, INFRA Grants

In February, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it was officially seeking applicants for its Fiscal Year 2021 round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program.

The competitive program has allotted approximately $889 million in funding and includes some new criteria for states, cities and other applicants, made by the Biden administration.

Traditionally, the grant program works by utilizing select criteria to promote projects with national and regional economic vitality goals while leveraging non-federal funding to increase the total investment by state, local and private partners. Eligible projects would include highway freight corridors on the National Highway Freight Network, highway or bridge projects on the National Highway System and projects expected to increase capacity on Interstates and other intermodal or rail projects.

However, while supporting the economic vitality at national and regional levels is the USDOT’s top propriety, this year the Department is also seeking INFRA projects that address climate change and environmental justice. Project applications are slated to be evaluated on support strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as whether they were planned as part of a comprehensive strategy to address climate change.

Projects will also be rated on the extent that they apply innovative technology, delivery, or financing methods with proven outcomes to deliver projects in a cost-effective manner.

In addition, the Biden administration has added that applications will also be considered based on racial equity, to the extent that project sponsors have completed equity-focused community outreach, and projects are designed to improve connections to underserved communities to reduce barriers to opportunity. The Department will also consider whether the project is located in a federally designated community development zone, including qualified Opportunity Zones, Empowerment Zones, Promise Zones, or Choice Neighborhoods.

These types of projects are also suggested to be positioned to proceed quickly to the construction phase where project costs may include reconstruction, rehabilitation, acquisition of property (including land related to the project and improvements to the land), environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, equipment acquisition and operational improvements directly related to system performance. The projects should also have local sponsors significantly invested.

The Department plans to award both small and large projects this year, with at least $25 million awarded per large project and a minimum $5 million in grants per small project award. Under statutory requirements, 10% of available funds are reserved for small projects, and at least 25% of funding must be awarded to rural projects.

A final change this year, the Notice of Funding Opportunity also highlights the creation of the “INFRA Extra” Program, which will identify competitive INFRA applicants who do not receive an INFRA award and authorize them to seek a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA) loan up to 49% of their project cost.

At the end of June, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $905.25 million worth of intended awards by the Biden-Harris Administration regarding the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program.

The federal funding is slated to be awarded to 24 projects in 18 states.

In total, the USDOT evaluated 157 eligible applications from 42 states, as well as Guam.  Applicants collectively requested approximately $6.8 billion in grant funds—more than seven times the funding available.

Several featured projects that align with the Administration’s priorities and provides critically needed funding for highway and freight projects of national or regional significance throughout America are as follows:

  • West Seattle Corridor Bridges Rehabilitation and Strengthening (Seattle): $11,250,600;
  • Dubuque Port and Rail Improvements (Dubuque, Iowa): $5 million;
  • The Community Infrastructure and Resiliency Zone (Los Angeles): $18 million;
  • Southport Berth Development and Port Expansion (Philadelphia): $49 million;
  • Northeast Georgia Inland Port (Hall County, Georgia): $46.9 million; and
  • Initiative for New Decks Essential for Economic Development (INDEED) Project (Maine): $45.2 million.

A full list of proposed project awards and project descriptions can be viewed, here.

   

Tagged categories: Government; Infrastructure; Mass transit; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Public Transit; Transportation

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