Founding Coalition Members Also Include Transportation Leaders, Technology Innovators, Micro-mobility Operators, Civic Organizations, Experts and Advocates
Los Angeles – The Open Mobility Foundation (OMF) – a global coalition led by cities committed to using well-designed, open-source technology to evolve how cities manage transportation in the modern era – launched today with the mission to promote safety, equity and quality of life. The announcement comes as a response to the growing number of vehicles and emerging mobility options on city streets. A new city-governed non-profit, the OMF brings together academic, commercial, advocacy and municipal stakeholders to help cities develop and deploy new digital mobility tools, and provide the governance needed to efficiently manage them.
“Cities are always working to harness the power of technology for the public good. The Open Mobility Foundation will help us manage emerging transportation infrastructures, and make mobility more accessible and affordable for people in all of our communities,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also serves as Advisory Council Chair of Accelerator for America, which showcased the MDS platform early on.
The OMF convenes a new kind of public-private forum to seed innovative ideas and govern an evolving software platform. Serving as a forum for discussions about pedestrian safety, privacy, equity, open-source governance and other related topics, the OMF has engaged a broad range of city and municipal organizations, private companies and non-profit groups, and experts and advocates to ensure comprehensive engagement and expertise on vital issues.
Growing from work pioneered at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the City of Santa Monica, the founding municipal members of the coalition are Austin, Texas; Bogotá, Colombia; Chicago; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Miami; Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Minneapolis; New York City Department of Transportation; New York City Taxi and Limo Commission; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Seattle; and Washington D.C.
“Mayors across the country have made infrastructure, innovation and inclusion our key focus. The OMF joins all of these priorities and will help cities better manage the public right-of-way for all citizens,” said Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C., and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
In addition to cities and public agencies, the Open Mobility Foundation is founded in part by The Rockefeller Foundation – a premier science-driven philanthropy focused on promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world. The Open Mobility Foundation is also founded by micro-mobility operators such as Bird and Spin; technology companies such as Microsoft, Blue Systems and Stae; and is supported by advisors that include the International Association of Public Transport, Transportation for America, MetroLabs and the NewCities Foundation.
“The Open Mobility Foundation is a great example of how governments can leverage the power of data to transform and modernize the use of city infrastructure to ensure a more equitable future for all,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation.
“Technology can play a strong role to transform the relationship amongst multi-modal transportation, retail, hospitality, real estate, and a smart city with a common digital map and understanding of infrastructure usage,” said Tara Prakriya, Partner Group Program Manager of MCVP and Mobility at Microsoft. “Microsoft is delighted to partner with the Open Mobility Foundation to create an open set of standards to facilitate this digital transformation.”
As municipalities integrate expanded transportation options – and as the number and type of vehicles using the existing public right-of-way rises dramatically in cities across the country – this innovative coalition is focused on four primary areas:
- Increasing Safety. Cities need tools to manage and measure new transportation modes in order to ensure the safety of their residents and reach the goals of Vision Zero.
- Ensuring Equity. Cities need tools to ensure mobility technologies do not create or exacerbate inequality. New forms of transportation should be accessible and affordable to all residents.
- Improving Quality of Life. Cities need tools to ensure transportation options do not impede sidewalks or increase roadway congestion and add to the sustainability and safety of our urban environment.
- Protecting Privacy. Cities need tools that enable them to generate and analyze data through the mobility services they provide while also adhering to world-class privacy and data security standards.
The OMF governs a platform called “Mobility Data Specification” (MDS) that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation developed to help manage dockless micro-mobility programs (including shared dockless e-scooters). MDS is comprised of a set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that create standard communications between cities and private companies to improve their operations. The APIs allow cities to collect data that can inform real-time traffic management and public policy decisions to enhance safety, equity and quality of life. More than 50 cities across the United States – and dozens across the globe – already use MDS to manage micro-mobility services.
Making this software open and free offers a safe and efficient environment for stakeholders, including municipalities, companies, experts and the public, to solve problems together. And because private companies scale best when cities can offer a consistent playbook for innovation, the OMF aims to nurture those services that provide the highest benefit to the largest number of people, from sustainability to safety outcomes.
By using collaborative methods and an open-source structure, the OMF enables cities and public agencies to access the digital tools that they need to effectively manage city streets as the worlds of transportation and technology continue to intersect and evolve.
The OMF is partnered with OASIS, a leader in the open-source and software standards industry.
“OASIS is excited to host the OMF community, who will produce open-source standards and methods that improve mobility for communities everywhere. We are proud to support the OMF with our proven platform of open-source software, tools and time-tested process that help organizations grow in an open and reliable way,” said Gershon Janssen, President of OASIS.
Membership to the OMF is open, and interested cities and companies are encouraged to apply. To apply for membership or learn more about joining the Open Mobility Foundation, visit https://www.openmobilityfoundation.org/.
“Mobility options are arriving at such a fast pace that often it becomes almost impossible for the public sector to catch up. We need to stay ahead of the game and speak the same language. The Mobility Data Specification is the first step for government to digitize its policies, and the Open Mobility Foundation will be a great resource to foster practical and sustainable mobility management tools,” said Carlos A. Gimenez, Mayor of Miami-Dade County.
“This is a momentous step for cities as they bring innovative solutions into their ever-changing mobility landscapes,” said Robert Spillar, Director of the City of Austin Transportation Department. “This international commitment to open source technology will accelerate cities’ work in transportation planning and implementation toward improving safety, equity and quality of life in a transparent manner.”
“Data gathering in NYC has been transformative, has helped us achieve important victories in fair pay for drivers and street safety, and has been fundamental in developing our new traffic congestion policy,” said Rodney Stiles, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs for the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission.
“We’re excited to join the Open Mobility Foundation and work together with other leading cities to ensure we have well-designed tools to provide us with basic data we need to manage traffic and congestion on our streets,” said Chris Warner, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Thanks to the Open Mobility Foundation, cities will gain access to the best information and 21st-century technologies. With these tools in hand, we can increase equitable access for historically underserved communities and people with disabilities, increase the safety of our streets, and vigorously pursue our climate goals.”
“Blue Systems has developed a comprehensive MDS-based Smart City Mobility Platform that analyzes mobility providers’ data in real time,” said Christophe Arnaud, CEO of Blue Systems. “MDS enables our Platform to take what has traditionally been a historical, planning-based business and moves it into an operational realm that helps cities manage the public right-of-way effectively and efficiently. We are proud to be a founding member of what will be a robust ecosystem that will take on the technical issues surrounding emerging mobility technology in cities around the world.”
“Data is key to building a robust transportation system that effectively connects people to the jobs and services they need,” said Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America. “The Open Mobility Foundation will provide a forum for leading communities and their private sector partners to establish shared mobility systems that are safer, more equitable, cleaner and healthier.”
“In joining the Open Mobility Foundation, we will harness our national community of researchers to address the transportation and mobility priorities facing cities,” said Martin O’Malley, a former Governor of Maryland and former Mayor of Baltimore. “Partnerships between universities and cities in this domain leverage open-source platforms to drive system-wide transportation analytics, enable urban management and planning solutions and strengthen data privacy approaches.” O’Malley chairs the Advisory Council of MetroLab, a national collaborative of more than 40 cities and 50 universities focused on advancing civic innovation.
“The Open Mobility Foundation is meeting a critical need for cities across the country during a time of profound disruption in transportation,” said John Rossant, Founder and Chairman of NewCities, a global nonprofit focused on the future of cities. “As urban communities begin to be impacted by new modes of mobility and technology, we need to ensure that the solutions we create are smart, safe and equitable – and that we’re ultimately building a better urban future for all.”
“The Open Mobility Foundation is the latest example of how cities are collaborating both to solve the world’s toughest challenges in novel and creative ways and scale solutions through new norms and instruments,” said Bruce Katz, Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University and a Partner at Accelerator for America.
The Open Mobility Foundation is partnered with and hosted by OASIS-Open, a leader in the open-source and software standards industry. One of the most respected member-driven standards bodies in the world, OASIS offers projects – including open source projects – a path to standardization and de jure approval for reference in international policy and procurement. OASIS has a broad technical agenda encompassing cybersecurity, privacy, cryptography, cloud computing and IoT – any initiative for developing code, APIs, specifications or reference implementations can find a home at OASIS.
The Rockefeller Foundation