From public servant regulators who used agility and flexibility to continue agency operations while working from home, to businesses and service providers who have been weathering the storm, to the drivers on the front lines transporting healthcare workers and meals to those in need, the industry has shown nothing but resiliency throughout the pandemic. For its part, the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) went into overdrive to hold its 33rd Annual Conference virtually over Zoom in October 2020.

The aptly titled event – “Resilient Regulation!” – had six times the usual number of attendees, with hundreds of participants from countries representing almost every continent. As for the U.S., there were attendees from 46 states and the District of Columbia. The virtual platform allowed more people to attend the conference and watch sessions live, or recordings on-demand at their convenience.

Over the course of four days, regulators, academics, industry stakeholders, and transportation professionals from around the world discussed the myriad ways resiliency has been on full display in the transportation sector during the pandemic.

Since COVID-19 upended the transportation industry, the IATR has been working around the clock to support its regulator members and their industries. For the past 10 months, the IATR has issued daily global news updates on the pandemic, created resources for its members, conducted surveys, and has held numerous meetings and webinars to share information and best practices. The IATR formed a COVID-19 Task Force comprised of the chairs of various subject matter committees to help formulate “COVID-19 Health, Safety, and Resiliency Regulatory Practices and Model Regulations,” which were presented for input from stakeholders and regulators from around the world at the IATR’s 2020 Virtual Conference.

Those interested in the IATR are encouraged to join for 2021. Membership benefits include immediate access to all videos, PowerPoint presentations, papers, and other information from the 2020 Virtual Conference, as well as access and participation in year-round webinars, committee meetings/calls, daily/weekly newsletters, and model regulation projects.

To learn more about becoming involved, renewing membership, or making plans to attend or sponsor the 2021 conference in Memphis from September 22–25, 2021, visit the IATR website (www.iatr.global).

2020 “RESILIENT REGULATION” VIRTUAL CONFERENCE RECAP

The IATR’s 2020 conference focused almost exclusively on the topic of COVID-19 readiness and responses to protect health, safety, and economic viability for passenger carriers from a transportation regulator’s point of view. Presenters discussed the short-term effects the pandemic is having on their industry, contemplated what the new normal will look like, and pondered the long-term effects post-pandemic.

In addition to panel discussions and Regulator Boot Camp, attendees heard from three noteworthy keynote speakers:

Her Excellency Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, delivered the opening keynote speech on the first day of the conference. In her presentation, Minister Doges discussed some of the efforts by the Ministry and the federal government of Ethiopia to combat COVID-19. For example, in June 2020, the Ministry of Transport announced an internet-based transportation payment service to curb COVID-19 spread. The new system allowed travelers to book tickets with their mobile phones without having to be physically present at the bus stations.

Also, during the pandemic, the federal government of Ethiopia launched a national campaign to encourage walking and cycling: The Ethiopia Non-Motorized Transport Strategy 2020-2029. Ethiopia is looking to be at the forefront of sustainable transport. The report focuses on street design standards (bike lanes), parking management, bicycle sharing, and pedestrian network walking paths. The funding is from the Ethiopian government with UN support. Efforts for roads, bridges, highways, technology and preservation of the environment are some of the other key Ministry priorities.

Also on the first day of the conference, the IATR was grateful to have Daniel Ramot, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Via. Daniel discussed the future of shared mobility in a post-pandemic era, and how Via has evolved quickly to meet customer and societal needs while expanding its mission, purpose and mobility services to all.

On the second day of the conference, the IATR was pleased to have Genevieve Shiroma, a Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), deliver a keynote speech. Commissioner Shiroma addressed various Commission activities in 2020, including their response to the COVID-19 pandemic by requiring passenger carriers to comply with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health COVID-19 prevention guidelines, data confidentiality issues for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), autonomous vehicle passenger service, the TNC Access for All program, and TNC safety issues.


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4th Annual IATR Boot Camp

For the fourth year in row, the IATR kicked off the conference with Boot Camp Training for regulators, designed to provide basic or entry-level education on various regulatory topics. This year, we modified some of session topics to meet the pressing needs or interests in certain modes and subject matter during the pandemic – including package delivery, micro-mobility and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).

101: Transportation Regulator Data Access and Use – Part II

The “Transportation Regulator Data Access and Use – Part II” session discussed data collection, analysis, use, and modelling by taxi and for-hire transportation regulators and private companies, as well as basic data privacy and data access laws. Attendees heard about the Shared-Use Mobility Center’s (SUMC) work in objective-driven data sharing for transit agencies in mobility partnerships with private companies. Drawing on lessons learned from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) MOD Sandbox program, the presentation provided a strategic approach to help agencies form an objective-driven data-sharing agreement with their project partners.

102: Micro-Mobility Regulation Primer

The “Micro-Mobility Regulation Primer” brought together academics, public policy professionals, transportation advocates, as well as the City of Los Angeles’s regulator, who is responsible for micromobility. The session covered micromobility, its use during the pandemic, as well as shifts in consumer behavior, public policy, safety, and sustainability issues related to bikes, scooters, and mopeds. The session began with the fundamentals of micromobility, such as how we define the modes and the primary service models (i.e., station-based, dockless, and hybrid) and provided a high-level overview of the state of the industry. The panelists discussed common issues for regulators – including administrative procedures, curb space and right of way management, health and safety, enforcement, data collection, contracts and partnerships, and pilots and demonstrations.

103: Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Primer

The “Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Primer” covered the basic concepts of MaaS and talked about jurisdictions around the world that are experimenting with MaaS and mobility on demand (MOD). The panelists explained what MaaS is – a prescient system that can be used as a powerful congestion management and behavioral change tool – and how such platforms can provide dynamic, real-time navigation instructions and re-routing capabilities. This allows mobility and transit providers to have alternative options for better decision making and to mitigate traffic congestion using data. The panelists described how technology is able to show transit crowding to redistribute passengers to enhance service experience and importantly – especially in the time of COVID-19 – how this can help maintain social distancing requirements.

IATR Model Regulations and COVID-19 Task Force – International Hearing

IATR convened its COVID-19 Task Force to develop model regulations for for-hire ground transportation regarding health, safety, and resiliency in response to COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Task Force members include the IATR Board Chair, Carlton Thomas (Airport Landside Access Manager, City of Austin), and the chairs of the IATR’s subject matter and regional committees, including: Technology and Innovation (David Do, D.C. Department of For Hire Vehicles), Health and Safety (Dr. Cammie Menendez, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), Canadian Regulators (Sylvain Toussignant, City of Montréal Taxi Bureau), Accessible Transportation (Rupal Bapat, Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection; Isabelle Ducharme, Kéroul), Australian Regulators (Karl Mortimer and Bill Gonis, South Australian Public Transport Authority), and TNC Regulators (Terry Mercer, Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers).


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The task force’s primary role was to develop the “COVID-19 Health, Safety, and Resiliency Regulatory Practices and Model Regulations.” After extensive research and comprehensive regulator surveys, the Task Force found that the majority of for-hire vehicle regulators have not imposed COVID-19-specific regulatory mandates, and the current best practice mostly defers to official public health guidance and directives.

The model regulations, recommendations, and best and accepted practices address health and safety, agency operations, and economic relief for the industry. The Task Force provided regulators with specific rules and guidelines, where possible, based on best or accepted practices that regulators may implement through their jurisdiction’s legislative or rulemaking process and numerous examples of measures regulators have taken in response to COVID-19 to aid in designing effective COVID-19 policies, procedures, and programs.

During the Virtual Conference, attendees heard from a senior scientist of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an institute within the CDC, who provided an overview of guidance for preventing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 within the ground transportation industry. The Task Force also presented the model regulations and best practices to attendees and heard from featured speakers and members of the IATR’s Advisory Board, including the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and the Airport Ground Transportation Association (AGTA).

Electric Mobility & Green Vehicle Initiatives in a Post-COVID-19 World

The electric and green vehicle segment has gathered momentum in recent years. However, in light of the global pandemic, mobility players have needed to prepare for the new world ahead. Industry insiders and academics discussed the impact of COVID-19 on future mobility solutions and how electric and low emission vehicles will fit into the micro-transit, rideshare/TNC, taxi, and for-hire vehicle industries.

The panel discussed their organizations’ efforts and experiences during the pandemic and plans for the future. For example, Uber’s Global Lead on Sustainability explained Uber’s plan to have 100% of their rides in the U.S. and Canada be provided by zero emissions vehicles (ZEV), transit, and micromobility by 2030. Uber also explained the company’s plan to help drivers go electric through strategic partnerships with auto manufacturers, rental companies, and electric vehicle charging providers.

Global Regulator Spotlight: Regulator Star Trek 3.0

For the past three years, the IATR conference has used the “Regulator Star Trek” themed session to spotlight regulators who have taken new and innovative approaches to managing and shaping the future of mobility in their jurisdictions.  This year, officials from London, Australia, and Columbia discussed how sustainability, accessibility, technology, equity, and other projects and initiatives are faring in their jurisdictions during the pandemic and what is in store for short- and long-term mobility policy as policy priorities continue to shift.

The Director of Licensing, Regulation, and Charging at Transport for London (TfL) gave an overview of her agency’s operations and jurisdiction, and discussed how it continues to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, New South Wales’s Point to Point Transport Commissioner, discussed the effect COVID-19 has had on taxis, hire cars, tourist services and rideshare in his jurisdiction, as well as measures his agency has taken to ensure safe passenger transport during this time.

Lastly, the Undersecretary of Mobility for Bogotá, Columbia – our first regulator to present from South America – explained how his city regulates mobility, highlighting a huge expansion in bicycle lanes in the capitol city. Over 900,000 bike trips are taken each day, and during COVID-19, 84 additional kilometers of temporary bike lanes became permanent.

AB 5 & Proposition 22: Driver Focus Group and The End of TNCs… Or, A New Beginning?

At the time of the conference, it had been over a year since California’s AB 5 went into effect with the intent to make many gig workers employees eligible for benefits and job protections instead of independent contractors. Unless voters in the November 3 election passed Proposition 22 (Prop 22), a ballot measure to exempt TNCs from AB 5, Uber and Lyft were facing the prospect of having to reclassify their drivers in the Golden State as employees. The fate of thousands of drivers hung in the balance, as Uber and Lyft had threatened to leave the state if things did not go their way.

At the IATR conference, the Alliance for Independent Workers (AIW) led a focus group of taxi, for-hire, and TNC drivers from California. The group shared their personal experiences, opinions, and thoughts on AB 5, Prop 22. Calling on first-hand knowledge of the issues, they explained what they see as the pros and cons of being classified as an independent contractor or an employee.

Following the focus group, an expert panel of industry insiders addressed the impending events from a variety of standpoints, including the perspectives of drivers and TNCs. The group discussed the future of gig worker rights in California and beyond. Topics included empowering workers through collective bargaining, New York’s experience with providing independent contractor drivers certain benefits through the Black Car Fund, and employing drivers as a successful business model for TNCs.

Harry Campbell – more commonly known as the Rideshare Guy – sees Prop 22 as more of a status quo. That is, drivers will remain independent contractors. Consumers have benefited greatly from the exponential growth and development of TNCs and TNC services, but not much has changed for drivers. According to Brendan Sexton, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild, regardless of whether Prop 22 passed, drivers would still not have a voice. Sexton elaborated that, only through collective bargaining, would workers truly have a say in their working conditions, pay, and benefits.

IATR Committee Meetings

On the last day of the IATR Virtual Conference, the IATR’s subject matter committees – Technology & Innovation, Accessible Transportation, Canadian Regulators, Safety, and TNC Regulators – each held meetings to discuss a variety of issues on their agendas. The IATR also announced the formation of a European Regulators group to be headed by Helen Chapman (TfL), and that IATR would be working on the formation of a South American regulators’ group in the future.

Technology & Innovation Committee Meeting

Committee chair David Do, Director at the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) led an informative session that covered the Final Model Regulations for Digital Rooftop and Interior Advertising and a report on the status of Automated and Connected Vehicle Model Regulations. The committee also saw presentations on related electric, automated, and connected vehicle technology. A guest speaker from DFHV gave a presentation on recent efforts to modernize taxi roof lights with digital displays that offer flexible messaging. Among the messaging that the devices can display are the VIN (vehicle identifier), passenger identifier (dispatched trips), fare estimates (e.g., “$10 max to Union Station”), advertising images, and public service announcements. Another guest speaker discussed EVs and a pilot program in Orlando, Florida with EV-maker Arcimoto to test electric vehicles in the city’s fleet.

Accessible Transport Committee Meeting

Co-Committee Chairs Rupal Bapat, Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, and Isabelle Ducharme, Chairman of the Board of Kéroul, hosted the Accessible Transport Committee Meeting. Topics discussed in this committee meeting included: activities of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC); the modification of Accessible Transportation Model Regulations to address NEMTAC or other duty of care certification of paratransit providers; and volunteer accessible transportation services.

Attendees heard from several guest speakers and subject matter experts from the AARP Public Policy Institute, NEMTAC, and accessible transportation operator NuRide Transportation. The Executive Director of NEMTAC discussed the organization’s  current undertakings, including implementing American National Standards for the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) industry, accrediting top performing NEMT companies, launching an NEMT driver certification program, developing a nationwide credentialing database for NEMT providers and payers, and creating a national data repository that will track key industry performance indicators.

The AARP Public Policy Institute presentation centered on a recently published paper, “Volunteer Driver Insurance in the Age of Ridehailing,” which found that the ride-hailing service model has exacerbated insurance challenges for volunteer drivers. According to AARP, although a personal auto policy may ultimately be honored in the event of a crash or upheld in a court of law, the challenge of volunteer driver recruitment remains.

Canadian Regulators Committee Meeting

During the Canadian Regulators Committee meeting hosted by Committee Chair Sylvain Tousignant, members discussed jurisdictional updates regarding taxi and TNC licensing (fees, vehicle inspections, etc.), driver training, accessibility, technology, enforcement and micromobility safety. The committee welcomed guest speakers Grant Heather from the City of Winnepeg, who discussed his city’s pre-payment pilot program for taxis, and Frederik Pregent of Taxelco, who talked about the re-launch of Teo Taxi, a fully electric taxi fleet located in Montreal.

Safety Committee Meeting

Committee Chair Dr. Cammie Chaumont-Menendez, a Senior Scientist at NIOSH, hosted the Safety Committee Meeting. During this informative meeting, members discussed bus, motorcoach, stretch limousine, and micro-mobility safety issues/initiatives. They also heard from guest speakers, including a Senior Accident Investigator at National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and safety directors from private companies.

The NTSB presented on its Final Report on the October 2018 limo crash in Schoharie, NY that killed 20 people. The Director of Safety and Integration for the motor coach division at National Express Transit discussed driver hours tracking and fatigue prevention through technology (smartphone apps, car sensors, etc.) and regulatory enforcement by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The Director of Safety Programs at Lime provided an overview of e-scooter company’s threefold approach to safety: being proactive, developing safety measures using data, and embracing a culture of continuous learning.

TNC Regulators Committee Meeting

The TNC Regulators Committee, chaired by Terry Mercer, Associate Administrator for the Motor Carriers at the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC), discussed TNC agency enforcement and data collection. Guest speakers for this session provided an overview of TNC regulatory efforts in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, including regulators’ enforcement activities in their respective jurisdictions, including Philadelphia.

Awards Ceremony

5th Annual Hack-A-Thon

The IATR continues to organize and hold hack-a-thons every year and to grow its repository of multi-modal transportation trip data, housed at the University of California, Berkeley. In September 2019, the IATR partnered with The Transportation Alliance to host the 5th Annual Hack-A-Thon. The theme was micro-transit and had the mission of analyzing data from St. Louis and Toronto to find opportunities for the taxicab industry in micro-transit.

The winners of the micro-transit hack-a-thon are a group of students from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. “Team NYU BUILT Lab” presented their findings and answered panel questions on their submission, entitled “Simulation Approach to Plan Demand Responsive Transport (DRT).” The team found that, based on Door-to-Door (DTD) modeling using MATLAB, micro-transit services in both St. Louis and Toronto will not be viable without subsidies due to low demand. However, the team found that Stop-to-Stop (STS) modeling using MATSim revealed the viability of micro-transit service in Toronto, even allowing discounts for shared rides.

[Professor Matthew W. Daus, Esq. with the Hackathon Winner, Ziyi Ma, Jinkai Zhou, and Gyugeun Yoon from Team NYU Built.]

 


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2020 Drivers of the Year

The IATR awarded 2020 Driver of the Year to 12 drivers who were nominated by regulators Pace Subruban Bus in Illinois, D.C. DFHV, and the NYC TLC. The IATR was honored to present awards to the following drivers:

  • Dawit Dagnew, a taxi driver in the District of Columbia, received an award for his 30 years of leadership in the industry, including during pandemic when he helped taxi drivers apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and D.C. Microgrants, which resulted in over 445 drivers receiving a $1,000 award each.
  • Michael Jozwiak, a bus operator for Pace Suburban Bus, received an award in recognition of his decades of excellent and safe service – driving close to three million miles without a preventable accident – and providing critical bus service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 10 TLC drivers were recognized for their commitment to seeing New York City through the pandemic by taking part in the TLC’s GetFoodNYC emergency food distribution program: Adil Benelkour (luxury limo base, Uber, Via), Shingara Singh (Wheelchair Accessible Yellow Cab), Joel Gonzalez (Uber), Wilfredo Penareyes (Premier Black Car Base), Syed Bukhari (Livery), Jerry Anyaene (Uber), Sharifjon Abdushukorov (community car service), Rolando Tobal-Polanco (Via), Ayhan Tascan (app-based service), and William A. Ababrese (Wheelchair Accessible Yellow Cab).

2020 Regulator of the Year – Helen Chapman (Transport for London)

The IATR 2020 Regulator of the Year award went to Transport for London and Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation, and Charging. Ms. Chapman has over 18 years of transportation experience throughout TfL. Her current role brings together TfL’s Road User Charging authority (congestion charging/tolling) and taxi and private hire regulator into a single dynamic directorate to tackle some of London’s most pressing and politically complex air quality, technology, safety and regulatory challenges.

In her nearly two decades of services, Ms. Chapman has lobbied for controls on capping and cross-border hiring, and has made her unwavering dedication to passenger safety clear. Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, TfL has undertaken several noteworthy initiatives to ensure the continuation of critical services safely.  Some of these measures include working with manufacturers to approve safety screens that have undergone comprehensive testing to meet all of TfL’s taxicab and private hire regulations, and launching a new travel app with a focus on accessibility and socially-distant travel.

 

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2021 CONFERENCE PREVIEW – MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: “ROCKIN’ REGULATION!”

IATR is getting ready to rock the regulatory world with its 2021 conference. The IATR is excited to announce its 34th Annual Conference will (hopefully) be in person in Memphis, Tenn. from September 22-25, 2021. The theme of the conference will be “Rockin’ Regulation!”

The “Birthplace of Rock’n’Roll” is the perfect place to celebrate a “rebirth” of new policy and governance approaches that are rocking the regulatory landscape. The changed world of regulation and the many new IATR members with diverse modal responsibilities will be on full display, with a nod to legacy regulations and futuristic travel modes following the aftermath of the pandemic.

The program for the 2021 Memphis Conference will include lessons learned from the pandemic; regulatory trends and shifts in consumer travel behavior; the impact of COVID-19 on future mobility solutions; and preparing for the new world ahead.

Our 6th Annual Hack-A-Thon is expected to focus on topics involving wheelchair accessibility. The 5th Annual Bootcamp will include a primer on Electrification (how the technology works, and the regulatory paradigm for the proliferation of Electric Vehicles in the taxi and for-hire sector), as well as basic training in the regulatory framework for and funding of public and private paratransit (Non-Emergency Medical Transportation – or NEMT).

General sessions at the conference will also include the following panels in formation: “Is Food & Package Delivery Here to Stay?” for the taxicab, for-hire, and TNC industries; and “Is the Independent Contractor Driver Model on the Way Out?” (drawing on the aftermath of post-AB 5 and Prop 22 legislative efforts, with international comparisons).

Finally, the 34th annual conference will unveil a draft set of model regulations and best practices for implementing connected and automated vehicles in the taxi, paratransit, TNC, and for-hire industries, with an entire day devoted to an international hearing and breakout groups on topics including: data/privacy; equity/accessibility; safety; curb space/infrastructure; and governance.

The above and much more is in store for our 34th annual conference, which we are confident will be a resounding success. By forcing the conference to go online in 2020, we were able to make IATR educational sessions accessible to more people than ever before. While we are hopeful that we will be able to meet in person in Memphis, those who register now to attend should know that the IATR will monitor travel restrictions and provide updates to attendees in the months ahead – well in advance of the Peabody Hotel room reservation deadline of Friday, Aug. 27, 2021.

If there are any questions about registration options, credits for last year’s conference attendance, and/or membership renewal, please contact [email protected].

 

Matthew W. Daus, Esq. is President, International Association of Transportation Regulators (http://iatr.global/); Transportation Technology Chair, City University of New York, Transportation Research Center at The City College of New York (http://www.utrc2.org/; and Partner and Chairman, Windels Marx Transportation Practice Group (http://windelsmarx.com). He can be reached at: [email protected] or 212.237.1106.