What I Learned at Transportation Camp

I’ve just returned from a weekend in San Francisco at Transportation Camp West.

I went primarily to make contacts for our Transit Appliance project, and had a chance to give both a conference presentation on it and an Ignite talk (my first time in that format – 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds – you really have to hone your message).

Definitely a success for my key objective, but I also attended some interesting sessions and learned a few things:

  • San Francisco is about to roll out the dynamic pricing pilot for parking – both on-street and in city-owned garages – that they’ve been working on for a couple of years. The idea is to keep at least 15% of on-street parking available by adjusting the pricing up and down based on demand. If parking gets too crowded the price goes up (and back down when spaces open up). An interesting by-product is that they will make the inventory of open spaces available in a real-time data feed, updated every 60 seconds. It will be interesting to see what developers do with it.
  • San Francisco is also about to put out an RFP for a web site to map the location of available taxis in the city. Currently the industry dynamics cause cabs to cluster in downtown and at the airport. They hope better connecting taxis and customers on the web or on smart phone apps will improve availability of taxi service in the neighborhoods. The technology is already available for one taxi company in Oregon – click through the jump to see a map (no cabs are displaying as I write this, I hope some will show up during daylight hours).
  • Lot’s of discussion of peer-to-peer car sharing. California has had the enabling legislation (around insurance issues) for a few years – Oregon is considering it this legislative session – so it should be a preview for us. I’m told that both a Tesla and Ferrari are available for rent in SF!
  • Perhaps the most surprising – I learned that there is a “driveway sharing” program coming together. You can rent out space in your driveway (via the web) on an hourly basis to someone who wants to park in your neighborhood. I’m suspicious that Portland’s residential zoning would not allow this here (commercial parking is generally not allowed in residential zones).

An educational – if slightly tiring – weekend!
I’ve just returned from a weekend in San Francisco at Transportation Camp West.

I went primarily to make contacts for our Transit Appliance project, and had a chance to give both a conference presentation on it and an Ignite talk (my first time in that format – 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds – you really have to hone your message).

Definitely a success for my key objective, but I also attended some interesting sessions and learned a few things:

  • San Francisco is about to roll out the dynamic pricing pilot for parking – both on-street and in city-owned garages – that they’ve been working on for a couple of years. The idea is to keep at least 15% of on-street parking available by adjusting the pricing up and down based on demand. If parking gets too crowded the price goes up (and back down when spaces open up). An interesting by-product is that they will make the inventory of open spaces available in a real-time data feed, updated every 60 seconds. It will be interesting to see what developers do with it.
  • San Francisco is also about to put out an RFP for a web site to map the location of available taxis in the city. Currently the industry dynamics cause cabs to cluster in downtown and at the airport. They hope better connecting taxis and customers on the web or on smart phone apps will improve availability of taxi service in the neighborhoods. The technology is already available for one taxi company in Oregon – click through the jump to see a map (no cabs are displaying as I write this, I hope some will show up during daylight hours).
  • Lot’s of discussion of peer-to-peer car sharing. California has had the enabling legislation (around insurance issues) for a few years – Oregon is considering it this legislative session – so it should be a preview for us. I’m told that both a Tesla and Ferrari are available for rent in SF!
  • Perhaps the most surprising – I learned that there is a “driveway sharing” program coming together. You can rent out space in your driveway (via the web) on an hourly basis to someone who wants to park in your neighborhood. I’m suspicious that Portland’s residential zoning would not allow this here (commercial parking is generally not allowed in residential zones).

An educational – if slightly tiring – weekend!

6 Comments

6 Responses to What I Learned at Transportation Camp

  1. Michael, Portland Afoot
    March 24, 2011 at 9:20 am Link

    Still nothing on the map. Too bad! Do you know which company it’s supposed to be?

  2. Chris Smith
    March 24, 2011 at 9:23 am Link

    It’s Radio Cab. I saw one cab on the map yesterday :-)

    I’ve contacted the vendor to understand why so few are displaying.

  3. Michael, Portland Afoot
    March 24, 2011 at 9:23 am Link

    Also, this is all awesome. Do you see a strong policy argument for preventing a driveway parking system? I guess it’d increase traffic on residential streets, but the promise of using any urban space more efficiently seems pretty attractive.

  4. Chris Smith
    March 24, 2011 at 9:27 am Link

    One of the point of the zoning code is to manage the livability impacts on residential neighborhoods. That’s why you can’t operate a tannery next to my house.

    Parking control can also in some situations (downtown parking cap of the 1970/80s) as a proxy to manage overall auto use in an area.

  5. Bob R.
    March 24, 2011 at 10:18 am Link

    That’s why you can’t operate a tannery next to my house.

    Now you tell me. Excuse me, I need to call my realtor and cancel the purchase. :-)

    (PS… My spell checker insists that “realtor” should be capitalized. I refuse to go along with industry trade name propaganda. How did they lobby the spell-check industry so effectively?)

  6. EngineerScotty
    March 24, 2011 at 10:28 am Link

    (PS… My spell checker insists that “realtor” should be capitalized. I refuse to go along with industry trade name propaganda. How did they lobby the spell-check industry so effectively?)

    The bigger question about the real estate trade is how come they have such an influence on land use and transportation policy? Compared to that, the correct styling of Realtor™ :) is peanuts.

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