New Mobility Program

What We Do

The way Seattlites move is changing rapidly. You have so many options to get around the city and the Puget Sound region. You can walk, bike, or scoot for shorter distances. You can get on a bus, ferry, Sounder train, Link Light Rail, and the Seattle Streetcar. You can drive your own car. You can hail a ride, reserve a car share vehicle, or join a carpool on the fly. Autonomous vehicles, sidewalk robots, and drones are coming soon.

​​​New mobility are those emerging elements of our transportation system that are often enabled by digital technology, shared, driven by real-time data, and increasingly automated. The New Mobility Team supports the integration of new and emerging technology and services into the transportation system with a focus on climate, safety, and equitable outcomes.

Program Goals

In the early decades of the 20th Century, Seattle adapted its streets and land uses to automotive technology instead of shaping it to serve our city and its people. Our approach to new mobility services and emerging mobility innovations in Seattle will be driven by the following:

Put People and Safety First

The public right of way is our most valuable and most flexible public space. Our streets should prioritize access for people, amplifying the role and value of walking, biking, and transit in Seattle. We respect the desire to retain and use privately owned vehicles; but will continue to manage the transportation system to move people and goods safely and efficiently. Safety is paramount, no matter how you get around Seattle. Our streets should be comfortable and intuitive for our most vulnerable travelers (people walking and biking). Shared, automated, and other new mobility models should not only advance our Vision Zero safety goals, they should also maintain consumer protections.

Design for Customer Dignity and Happiness

Transportation happiness is a key indicator of the 21st Century Seattle Department of Transportation. We will not only simplify and enhance the user experience of public transit and new mobility services, we will continue to promote a diversity of transportation choices. Dignified public transit and new mobility services must accommodate people with mobility impairments, non-traditional schedules, and families that need flexible mobility options.

Advance Race and Social Justice

New mobility, whether shared, public, private, or automated, is a fundamental human need. Everyone needs a barrier-free transportation system and affordable transportation options that are understandable and accessible to all who want to use them. New mobility models should also promote clean transportation and roll back systemic racial and social injustices borne by the transportation system.

Forge a Clean Mobility Future

We are committed to climate action. We will transition our transportation sector to one which furthers our climate goals and builds replicable models for the rest of the world. New mobility services should use clean energy and expand human-powered transportation.

Keep an Even Playing Field

Data infrastructure is foundational to understanding, operating, and planning in a constantly changing transportation system. Partnerships and a fair and flexible regulatory environment will nurture and expand new mobility ideas, companies, jobs, and workforce training.

 

New Mobility Programs

Shared Mobility Programs

Scooter Share 

  • ​Scooter share lets you rent an electric foot scooter for a quick errand, a trip to light rail, or a climate-friendly commute trip. You rent the nearest available scooter, ride it to where you want to go, and leave it responsibly parked for the next person to ride. 

Bike Share

  • Bike share lets you borrow a bike for a quick errand, a trip to Link light rail, an all-day adventure, and everything in between. You pick up the bike-share bike closest to you, ride it to where you want to go, and leave the bike for the next person to ride.​

Car Share​

  • Car Sharing is a practice where people become members in an organization that owns a variety of cars, which members can then use under the terms of their membership.​

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)

  • Transportation Network Companies or TNCs, also known as ridehail, allow you to request a driver for hire through a website or app, rather than hail a ride from the street. Unlike taxicabs and for-hire vehicles, they connect with passengers only through an online dispatch application using a smartphone or tablet. ​

Emerging Mobility Data​

  • Seattle was an early adopter of the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) and an active Board member in the Open Mobility Foundation. We strive to remain at the forefront of new mobility data management in the public sector.

Electrification and Zero Emission Mobility

Electrification and Zero Emission Mobility Program

  • ​Our electrification and zero emission mobility program works toward the Citywide Climate Goals, including Seattle's goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, through enacting a combination of mode shifting strategies (e.g. replacing single-occupancy vehicles trips with carpool, transit, or active transportation trips as feasible) and electrifying transportation (e.g. replacing petroleum and diesel fuel with carbon neutral electricity provided by Seattle City Light). ​

Urban Freight Program

Urban Freight Program

  • The nature of urban freight has changed dramatically in the last few years. The rise of e-commerce, accelerated further by the pandemic, means that delivery trucks, vans, and cars are more present on city streets. Sidewalk robots, automated delivery shuttles, delivery lockers, and e-cargo bikes are becoming more common in our urban areas. The New Mobility Team works closely with Curbspace,  SDOT's Freight program, and the University of Washington's Urban Freight Lab, to understand and pilot new technologies that can improve efficiencies and climate outcomes in the urban freight sector.​

Related Programs & Materials:​

Mobility Solutions Programs

Transportation Options 

  • Providing people with information about the many ways to get around helps make our transportation network more efficient and sustainable. Our daily choices in how to get around make a difference. The Transportation Options Program uses many different strategies to reach towards the city-wide goal for 35% or fewer work trips and 25% or fewer non-work trips be made by SOV by 2035.

Inclusive Mobility on Demand Grant

  • Through March 2022, this grant will allow us to work with the community to plan and implement on-demand solutions that address existing mobility challenges for accessing high capacity transit like buses, Link light rail, and Seattle Streetcar. High capacity transit is often the most reliable and cost-effective way to get around, especially for people with disabilities and older adults. However, barriers to accessing transit do exist. It's part of our role to minimize or eliminate those barriers with our work.

New Mobility Playbook Materials