Once again, Chandler is leaning on innovation and new technology to improve our multi-modal transportation offerings.
Part of Chandler’s 2019-2024 Strategic Framework includes encouraging the use of new technologies and innovative partnerships to get people to where they want to go. Chandler will always be searching for ways to improve sustainable mobility options.
Our City is working diligently to deliver more agile transit services that meet people where they live, work and play. We all know that transportation technology is evolving rapidly and is already transforming the way we move. Over the past five years alone, we have seen autonomous vehicles, electric bicycles, scooters and other ride-sharing services emerge in Chandler and innovation in transportation will continue.
Chandler is leading the way in transportation innovation. We were the first city in the United States to create a ride-sharing partnership with an autonomous vehicle company, Waymo, to study productivity and fleet service savings. Chandler is revising code and development guidelines to support the future of autonomous and ride-sharing services.
Bus service in Chandler provides a valuable transportation option to many Chandler residents, but ridership has been declining in recent years. The City spends approximately $1.5 million annually for this bus service. We think we can improve the efficiency on this investment. This month Chandler launched a first-mile, last-mile pilot program in partnership with Lyft expanding public transit access in South Chandler, an area of the city with limited bus service. It offers an on-demand type of transit service that is much more cost-effective than traditional fixed-route bus services.
This program has the potential to benefit many of our residents who are unable to drive, have physical limitations or just want more convenient transportation options. Giving riders the ability to use this service may ultimately allow us to consolidate routes, which could save millions of dollars each year, and that is a good thing.
Chandler will continue to pilot new ideas, pursue innovative partnerships and leverage new technologies to develop convenient, safe and affordable transit options. Learn more about our focus on mobility at chandleraz.gov/StrategicFramework.
Mark Stewart is an at-large member of the Chandler City Council in Arizona.