Uber shares its vision of an integrated transit future in new report

Jan. 26, 2021
The company believes the future of transit involves decentralized networks toward systems that are integrated, connected and optimized.

Uber has published a paper, “Transit Horizons Towards a New Model of Public Transportation,” that outlines where the company sees transit’s future. The paper’s authors, Ivan Mihov, head of strategy and planning for Uber Transit, Chris Pangilinan, senior public policy manager focused on public transit and David Reich, head of Uber Transit, state at the end of the paper that the company is “unwaveringly optimistic about the future for public transportation.” The authors note the expected slow return of ridership and the paper offers ways Uber believes its services can help deliver on that return.  

The company sees five overall themes emerging over the next decade:

  • The rise of agencies as mobility managers;
  • Introduction of expanded transportation modes;
  • Increasing focus on variable cost supply;
  • Ongoing network redesign; and
  • A connected and integrated transport network.

Uber believes agencies see their roles expanding beyond bus and rail service providers to mobility managers that support an optimal mix of transport modes, as well as technologies and providers. The company says there is a mandate that comes with a mobility management approach to “introduce new innovations, improve services and to lower costs in ways pure transport operators cannot achieve.”

Uber’s first transit partnership launched in 2015 and its dedicated transit division, Uber Transit, now has more than 550 public transportation partnerships globally.

“Through our collective technology, resources and experience, we can help public transportation agencies build out their current and long-term software infrastructure for mobility management based on their changing community needs,” the company writes in the paper.

For agencies, finding the optimal mix between existing and new services can be a challenge, but one Uber believes it and Routematch, which Uber acquired in July 2020, are well positioned to help.

“Uber and Routematch have built the tools, technologies and services that can help agencies today…As mobility managers, agencies will experiment with, pilot and scale new technologies within their networks…we stand ready to assist agencies across this range – from small pilots to broad redesigns of entire public transportation systems,” writes Uber.

The company recognizes the clear but difficult journey many agencies face, especially now as the COVID-19 health crisis continues, but also sees with equal certainty the long-term need for public transportation.

“We are at a crossroads today where public transportation desperately needs innovative new ideas, technologies, cost structures and supply modes to make the mobility system more financially sustainable and better for all,” writes Uber.

Uber’s “Transit Horizons Towards a New Model of Public Transportation” can be downloaded at https://www.uber.com/us/en/transit/horizons-paper/.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.