From Uber to autonomous vehicles, the ways people get around are changing rapidly. To lead transportation innovation, I redeployed Ann Arbor's outdated Taxi Cab Board to examine our mobility systems holistically, creating a community that is more accessible, mobile, safe, and equitable.
The 21st century has changed the way Ann Arbor residents move around the community and region. Apps like Uber and Lyft revolutionized the taxi industry. Electric scooters, like Spin, appeared on curbs overnight. Amtrak purchased the rail line between Detroit and Chicago, increasing the speed and frequency of passenger trips. Our municipal transit authority expanded into regional service. The City of Ann Arbor and University of Michigan partnered to explore light rail. And, the demand for bike lanes grew louder. Yet, in 2015, the municipal government had no process to evaluate, regulate, or plan for these innovations – let alone lead them.
Innovating in government can be challenging. Multiple task forces often work separately on connected issues without collaborating, which creates multiple reports that are often never implemented. Anticipating this risk, I worked with the outdated Taxi Cab Board to re-envision their role. We sought not only to better innovate and coordinate, but also to streamline processes by redeploying an existing body rather than creating a redundant one. Together, we drafted a charter for a new Transportation Commission responsible for challenging the status quo, pursuing innovation, and coordinating all transportation systems and projects.
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