The City of Pittsburgh launched its Move PGH pilot program on Friday by promising to place 100 electric scooters across the neighborhood of Manchester in the near future.
Move PGH is the beginning of the city’s efforts to jump-start its Universal Basic Mobility program. The initiative’s goal is to provide accessibility of up-and-coming modes of transportation such as electric scooters, car-share services and electric mopeds.
“Universal basic mobility is a human right,” said LaShawn Burton-Faulk, executive director of Manchester Citizens Corp. “Easy access to affordable, reliable, convenient transportation services impacts a person’s life more than nearly anything else.”
Speaking at the announcement on Friday, Mayor Bill Peduto emphasized that this initiative is different from other e-scooter initiatives in other cities, like Washington, D.C., or Portland, Ore., because of the public sector’s partnership with the private sector.
Spin, a San Francisco company that’s part of Ford Mobility, is the supplier of the low-speed e-scooters.
Other elements of the initiative include:
● Zipcar will extend its car-share service within the city.
● Scoobi’s existing fleet of electric mopeds will join the program.
● Waze Carpool will facilitate carpool matching and other commuting services.
● Swiftmile will provide electric charging stations for the e-scooters.
● The Transit App will be the mobile application for trip planning, while TransitScreens will be used as mobility hubs across the city.
“What makes this system different is that it includes almost every mode of transportation in the city,” Peduto said. “It has the ability to expand so that we will have every mode. And it provides the opportunity for people to use it through an app or through a kiosk if they don’t own a cellphone.”
With many other cities complain that these devices clutter sidewalks and roads, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure is hoping to get ahead of those issues by having rules and regulations set from the beginning, said DOMI Director Karina Ricks.
“They are not permitted on the sidewalks. These are devices that should be used in the street, bike lanes, and in the slow-speed streets,” Ricks said. “They are not permitted on any street with a speed higher than 25 miles an hour.”
Ricks said that the devices will have a speed cap of 15 mph.
They are not permitted to be parked in the street or sidewalk. They must be parked in either a legal parking spot or at a bike rack.
Ricks promised that in the next couple of months, these devices will spread outside of Manchester and be throughout the entire city.
Funding for Move PGH and the Universal Basic Mobility demonstration are provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Spin, along with InnovatePGH as a partner.
Spin is also providing funding for researchers at Carnegie Mellon to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program on improving employment opportunities for low-income workers.
“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,” Peduto said in a press release. “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.”