The City of Aspen, Colo., is considering implementing an eight-week experiment in 2018 that officials hope will alleviate traffic issues. The Aspen Mobility Lab would ideally compete with personal vehicles as a means of transportation and could mean high-tech changes to the fleet.
“We’re drowning in automobiles and we need to preserve the set of values that keep us a desirable town to live in and visit. Congestion is antithetical to this,” said Mayor Steven Skadron in a release. “This doesn’t mean we are banning cars, but the goal is to provide options that suit residents and commuters needs as well or better than what they are using today.”
While the physical boundaries of the project are defined, the scope and breadth of the project have yet to be determined. Creating diverse possibilities enticing enough to get people out of their cars is essential for the mobility lab’s success. Examples might include a fleet of ride-share mopeds; a network of on-demand electric vehicle shuttles; quiet, pollution-free buses that run between popular areas every 10 minutes; premium subscription commuter services tied to incentives and rewards; self-driving minivans; new transit apps; altering the configuration of downtown streets for smoother traffic flow; or lockers for commuters to store gear.
A significant part of the project will be reaching out to funders and innovators who are already active participants in the future of mobility. These include reaching out to companies like Tesla, Ford, or Google to see if they are interested in bringing a fleet of electric cars or autonomous vehicles to Aspen; or Bloomberg Philanthropies, which is interested in helping cities rethink what is possible.