Karl Popham, moderator
Manager of Austin Energy’s Electric Vehicles and Emerging Technologies program
UT Center for Transportation Research
Rocky Mountain Institute
WEDNESDAY, April 13, 2016
Stateside Theater, 719 Congress Ave.
5:15 p.m. – Doors and Cash Bar Open
6:00 p.m. – Presentation, Q&A
7:00 p.m. – Reception
Free and open to the public
The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has proven the demand for simple access to rides. Enabled and powered by technologies such as smartphones and GPS, these transportation networking companies (TNCs) have launched the ridesharing (or ridesourcing) industry rapidly and globally. In cities all over the world, people have access to a simpler, more predictable source of rides than the taxi industry has historically provided—and to a new source of income, for drivers. This has other ancillary benefits as well, such as potentially reducing the number of people driving while intoxicated. However, the rapid emergence of ridesharing has occurred largely without regulation, unlike other established transportation options. Without any civic regulation, there are safety concerns for reasons such as lack of external validation of drivers, and of negative economic impacts to other transportation industries and even to drivers. In Austin—a city now almost as infamous for the hassle of driving in traffic as is it famous for its many entertainment options (and the consumption that goes along with them)—there have been recent attempts at regulation. There is a general desire for the City to have TNCs as a transportation option, but unfortunately, a compromise on regulations agreeable to both sides—the City and the major TNCs—has not been reached. So, there will be a special (and expensive) election on May 7 for the voters to decide.
We invite you to attend this special town hall meeting at which transportation experts will objectively explain how TNCs work, the current laws and policies (in Austin, and in other cities), what the election means, and what is likely to happen next for either outcome. They will then answer as many questions from the audience as time allows. The goal is for the panel of speakers to not advocate one position, but to provide a “deeper dive” and informed debate about the issues.
We encourage everyone to vote, and this event will help you be an informed voter.
Submit your request for the presenter(s) to address a particular topic or issue in their upcoming presentation.