Downtown CommissionMay 15, 2024

Item #3 Urban Transportation Recommendation 20240507-006 — original pdf

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BOARD/COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION Urban Transportation Commission Recommendation Number 20240506-006: Dockless Micromobility Regulations and Transportation-related Rulemaking WHEREAS, the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan calls on the city to “Emphasize and incentivize shared mobility solutions” by developing and focusing on ”shared mobility services and systems to provide first-mile/last-mile mobility solutions and increase shared trips on the transportation network”; WHEREAS, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) highlighted Austin in its 2022 Report on Shared Micromobility in the U.S. and Canada as having the second most used e-scooter system in North America with a ride per vehicle per day average of 2.7, which NACTO called “stand out for e-scooter rides per vehicle per day compared to peer cities.”; WHEREAS, following Superpedestrian/Link ceasing operations in North America at the end of 2023, the Austin e-scooter system contracted in size by 29%, losing 2,000 scooters from the system; D R A F T WHEREAS, on March 28th, 2024, Transportation and Public Works (TPW) Director Richard Mendoza briefed the City Council Mobility Committee on “upcoming changes to our department regulations regarding the operations of micro-mobility devices” and cited safety, general aesthetics, and watershed protection as the main issues the regulations were meant to address; WHEREAS, according to the City of Austin Vision Zero Viewer, the number of e-scooter-related serious injuries decreased 50% from 12 in 2022 to 6 in 2023, and the number of deaths decreased from 2 to 0 over the same period; WHEREAS, despite the regulations being effective April 1st, the changes were not incorporated into the “Director’s Rules for Deployment and Operations of Shared Small Vehicle Mobility Systems”, the changes are not listed anywhere on the City of Austin website, and vendors were not formally notified of the changes until April 11th; WHEREAS, the changes communicated to vendors in the “Enhanced Regulations to the Shared Mobility Program” included the following changes: ● “Maintain the number of licensed micro-mobility vendors at 2”, ● “No increases to device permits for current licensed operators”, ● “Maintain the total number of permitted scooters citywide at 6,700”, ● “Reduce the number of scooters allowed to operate in the Downtown Area Project Coordination Zone (DAPCZ) to 1,125 per licensed vendor”, ● “Reduce maximum speed from 15mph to 10mph between 10pm and 5am daily in the main entertainment districts of the urban core”, and ● “Assign restricted and designated device staging areas and require rebalancing of devices to assigned areas each morning”; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the UTC recommends the rulemaking process on dockless vehicles prioritizes robust public engagement, notification of stakeholders, board & commission review, City Council feedback, and be evaluated on whether the rules will help the city meet the ASMP Shared Mobility Indicators & Targets, including: NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Urban Transportation Commission (UTC) recommends that TPW and the City Council immediately take action to better align the city’s Shared Mobility policies with the city’s values on safety, mobility, equity, and transparency; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the UTC recommends that TPW encompass the “Enhanced Regulations to the Shared Mobility Program” into changes to the Director’s Rules for Deployment and Operations of Shared Small Vehicle Mobility Systems as soon as possible; D R A F T historically underrepresented and underserved; ● Increase the coverage of shared mobility solutions; and ● Increase the density of shared mobility vehicles; Motioned by: Commissioner Schumacher Seconded by: Commissioner Brooks Date of Approval: 5/7/24 Record of the vote: 6-0-2, Commissioners Smith and Brown abstaining ● Increase the usage of shared mobility solutions; ● Increase the share of shared mobility trips that originate or end in areas that are Attest: _____________________________________________ (Staff or board member can sign)