Bringing Mobility-as-a-Service and Universal Basic Mobility to Pittsburgh

A man looks at a sign on that says "Move PGH." The sign is attached to a scooter charging station with several scooters parked in it.

After more than two years of thoughtful planning and close collaboration, we celebrated on Friday the launch of Move PGH, a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that will give residents access to a menu of diverse transportation options by bringing together scooters, bikes, buses, and shared cars in a seamless experience all available online in Transit App and offline at hubs.

A Spin hub in Pittsburgh.

Through Move PGH, Spin will work with the City, local nonprofits, and researchers at Carnegie Mellon on a Universal Basic Mobility (UBM) pilot, covering the cost to use the Move PGH suite of transportation options for 100 low-income residents over the course of six months while researchers measure the impact on participants’ economic mobility and health.

“We’re really eager to see what happens to people when they’re given mobility as a right, and what that does to their social mobility,” Ben Bear, CEO of Spin, told Streetsblog USA Friday. “Now we have to study if it works – and if it does, we want to bring it to as many places as we can, as quickly as we can.”

"Transportation mobility is key to economic mobility and a major determinant in household health, education, and welfare. In Pittsburgh, too many residents are one missed bus or one flat tire away from losing their job or missing a critical appointment,” said Mayor Bill Peduto.

Transportation is fundamentally about access -- to food, jobs, childcare, school -- and low-income folks are disproportionately impacted by the cost and inaccessibility of transportation, especially in a system that has historically favored car ownership over other, more affordable transportation options. City officials noted that transportation is the second highest household expense, often exceeding housing expenses for people living under the poverty line. Additionally, City officials estimate that a third of Pittsburgh residents are mobility insecure, meaning they often don’t have a backup transportation option if their main mode of transportation gets disrupted.

According to City officials, more than 65 percent of low-income residents lack access to a vehicle (compared to 20 percent of all households). Without a car, residents can only access about 40 percent of jobs in the region within a 90-minute commute. Some 20 percent of Pittsburgh residents are food insecure and nearly half live in a food desert.

“Universal Basic Mobility, using the services of Move PGH, will demonstrate that when people have a readily available transportation back-up plan they are able to access more opportunities and climb the economic ladder,” Peduto said.

Move PGH integrates a coalition of existing and new “last mile” service providers organized by Spin, including:  

  • A new fleet of shared low-speed electric scooters provided by Spin 
  • Trip planning and most trip booking available through Transit
  • Expanded carshare services provided by Zipcar 
  • A fleet of electric mopeds by local start-up Scoobi 
  • Carpool matching and commuting services facilitated through Waze Carpool 
  • Electric charging for e-scooters provided by Swiftmile 
  • Real time transit and mobility information on TransitScreens at mobility hubs

Coordinated and managed by Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI), the program is designed to connect to transit lines and Healthy Ride stations. Hubs at frequent transit lines include electric charging for e-scooters and real-time transit arrival information on dynamic TransitScreens.

Spin is proud to have led this effort to bring what we hope will be a precedent-setting and industry-leading model for the future of micromobility to fruition.

“It needs to be just as easy to get around without a car as it is with one. I am proud to launch Move PGH in my hometown of Pittsburgh, bringing together scooters, bikes, buses, and cars in a seamless experience all available online in Transit App,” Bear said.

“By providing this suite of transit options through the widely-used and familiar Transit App there will be greater ease of adoption for Pittsburgh residents. This has the potential to set a new standard for collaboration in the shared mobility industry, a standard that will improve the service we provide to the communities where we operate,” he said.

Partner With Spin.

Spin is transforming cities and communities by offering accessible, affordable and sustainable forms of personal mobility.

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