New Research Details Need for Cities to Put Citizens Front and Center on Ride-sharing Policies

February 19, 2020
Someone orders a rideshare from their smartphone
Cambridge, MA — Today, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, a research center at Harvard Kennedy School, released two new reports highlighting transformative changes affecting mobility in cities around the world. The papers, part of the Center’s Mobility in the Connected City project, aim to help researchers and policymakers navigate the emerging field of connected mobility and better grapple with the growth of ridesharing and micromobility in urban areas.  
As transportation systems in cities are being upended by the proliferation of ridesharing and other forms of network-connected mobility, these new papers argue that cities have reached an inflection point. They can prioritize citizen needs, especially low-income communities and communities of color who have the potential to benefit from increased mobility choices. Cities that fail to institute citizen centric planning and regulatory models, however, risk repeating the mistake of post-war infrastructure planning, which undermined and entrenched inequalities in many of these communities.  
In the first paper in the series, Prioritizing Public Value in the Changing Mobility Landscape, Stephen Goldsmith and Betsy Gardner identify the transformative changes affecting cities and mobility and discuss in more detail the guiding values and goals that cities have around mobility with examples of these values in practice. Rather than segmenting the rapidly changing mobility space, they recommend that cities should take advantage of the interconnectivity of issues like curb space management, air quality, and e-commerce delivery to guide public policy. 
In the second paper, Effectively Managing Connected Mobility Marketplaces, Stephen Goldsmith and Matt Ledger focus on how local government leaders have struggled to adapt their regulatory framework to adequately address new challenges or the needs of the consumers of these new services.  They argue cities must use the levers at their disposal to ensure an equitable mobility marketplace and utilize real-time data sharing to enforce compliance. These include investing in and leveraging physical and digital infrastructure, regulating and licensing business conducted in public space, establishing and enforcing rules around public safety, rethinking zoning and land use planning to be transit-oriented, and regulating the digital realm to protect data integrity. 
These reports benefit from a set of observations shared by those attending the Future of Connected Mobility conference at Harvard Kennedy School in October 2019, organized with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation  

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit  

Contact Information  

Daniel Harsha  
Associate Director for Communications  
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation  
Harvard Kennedy School  
Sarah Grucza  
Communications Specialist  
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation  
Harvard Kennedy School