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One of Uber’s self-driving car traverses the streets of Pittsburgh. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Back in June, Pittsburgh and Paris were unwittingly connected by a comment from President Donald Trump defending his decision to pull out of the international Paris agreement on climate change. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said. The mayors of each city responded quickly, showing unified support for action against climate change.

Today, leaders of Pittsburgh and Paris are once again jointly committing to sustainability, this time of their own volition. They are supporting an agreement by 15 leading transportation technology companies to commit to 10 Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities.

Some of the principles are obvious goals that already dominate the discussion on the future of transportation: equity, efficiency, and environmental sustainability. But one principle stands out as novel: “We support that autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.”

“We definitely do envision a future where the vast majority of autonomous vehicle rides will be done as part of a shared network,” said Joseph Okpaku, Lyft’s VP of government relations, on a press call Wednesday. “We think that’s the best way to realize all of the benefits that an autonomous future can bring in terms of rebuilding our cities.”

The signatories announced today represent Zipcar, Uber, Lyft, LimeBike, Ofo, BlaBlaCar, Citymapper, Didi, Keolis, Mobike, Motivate, Scoot Networks, Transit, Ola, and Via. The joint vision is supported by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Deputy Mayor of Paris, Jean Louis Missika.

Peduto and Missika are involved because of their cities’ civic innovation initiatives.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

“We’re now working on our smart city corridors,” Peduto told GeekWire in an interview this week. “Using solar power; creating sensors and the smartest traffic signals in the world and adapting this whole technology change to make mobility easier throughout the city.”

The principles were originally developed by Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase and a consortium of transportation leaders. The goal is to cut through the noise surrounding the future of transportation and provide some guidance as cities figure out how to manage new technologies and increased competition for curb space.

“Transportation is the key to whether you can get a job or go to school or see your friends,” Chase said during the press call. “Transportation is really a gate to opportunity and cities really have to be places where you want to live, work, and play … These companies have taken an incredibly bold step by supporting these principles.”

The Shared Mobility Principles are:

  1. We plan our cities and their mobility together.
  2. We prioritize people over vehicles.
  3. We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs, and land.
  4. We engage with stakeholders.
  5. We promote equity.
  6. We lead the transition towards a zero-emission future and renewable energy.
  7. We support fair user fees across all modes.
  8. We aim for public benefits via open data.
  9. We work towards integration and seamless connectivity.
  10. We support that autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.
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