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CommuteCon 2017

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Will the New Mobility Survive a New Administration?

Mark Dowd
Former Senior Advisor
White House Office of Management and Budget

Session Description

What is the Trump administration’s position on smart cities and shared mobility? Will it build on the federal-level work done by the Obama administration, or will momentum stall under Trump?

While the new administration may change its approach with regard to the space, former White House senior advisor Mark Dowd predicts that the Trump government will move forward with existing DOT initiatives, and that congressional funding will continue to flow to DOT programs.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is also engaging with cities across the U.S. on shared mobility, a trend that is likely to continue under Trump.

However, much of the most innovative work is being done on the municipal level, with private sector participation. The Smart City Challenge worked to refocus municipalities on TDM issues, and succeeded in affecting planning initiatives in 85 cities. Funding and strategizing are moving into the local level, with a strong focus on technology-based mobility solutions.

Discretionary funding at the federal level will likely be affected by the Trump administration’s priorities, which include increases in military spending and tax rate reductions. This forces municipalities to take a different approach by assessing their unique challenges and creating locally specific goals, as shared mobility and smart city strategies have proven to be most effective when applied at the local level.

Before Obama left power, the federal government was able to approve funding for four of the finalists (Pittsburgh, Denver, San Francisco, Portland) in the 2016 Smart City Challenge, which was won by Columbus, OH. Dowd believes it’s going to be crucial for these cities, and others, to come together, share ideas and solutions, and foster meaningful private-public partnerships to continue accelerating the development of smart cities.

Dowd also thinks that moving to a collaborative model driven by municipal partnerships and public-private participation holds the potential to drive shared mobility forward at a more rapid rate. However, the success of these programs will heavily depend on the availability of alternative funding sources, as the Trump administration’s priorities are likely to affect federal government spending in this area.