In the Luumlight

Putting a wrap on commute and mobility stories from the past week

From Buses in Boston to Parking in Paris

October 23rd 2020

Surprise, American public transit systems do the bare minimum

76% of Americans drive alone to work every day. But we can’t take bus routes that just don’t exist. This video from Vox illustrates the severe lack of reliable routes in major American cities, compared to the urban transit system in Toronto, which serves both residential and downtown areas reliably. If you yearn for a bus to take you right to work, get ready to fill in a few bubbles this month — your local and state representatives are the ones allocating (or not allocating) funding to your local public transit systems.

Boston takes the “public” out of “public transit”

Greater Boston’s got trains, but you can’t use em. Zoning laws restrict population density near commuter rail stations, meaning housing within walkable distances of public transit are expensive, single-family homes. Allowing more homes per acre of land would lower the cost of living near transit, and increase access to the commuter rail for low- and middle-income Bostonians. It’s a first step for fixing the housing crisis, as theorized by Brookings.  

The insta-worthy Paris of our dreams is within reach 

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo vowed to remove over half of Paris’ 140,000 surface parking spots. Imagine the greenery, the outdoor seating, the time you’ll save now that you don’t have to Photoshop a Ford Fiesta out of your vacation pics… cities built for people are truly a dream. Read all about Mayor Hidalgo’s mission here

Curbside Dining, Urban Mobility… and Jetpacks in LA

October 16th 2020

Less Curbside Pick-Up, More Streetside Chow-Down (Eventually)

Taco Tuesday took an auspicious turn for me a few months back, when my neighborhood spot for tasty street tacos started serving them up in their natural habitat: the street! And I’ll say what we all know to be self-evident—adobada just hits different in the open air.

Don’t wanna let go…an ode to al fresco.

Turning sidewalks, parking spaces, and entire blocks into dining space is about reclaiming the curb for the people. With cars noticeably out of the picture in downtown urban cores, many business owners are bringing a wonderful new dimension to our public spaces—one that really should have been there all along.

Something to consider: as large employers continue the shift to even more flexible hybrid work models, how can we ensure that car traffic remains below congestion levels in order to continue this shift to safer, more enjoyable city experiences?

And what duty do employers have in being stewards of their neighborhoods, even if they are only “in-office” 50% of the time? Ensuring the local stores and restaurants thrive—and that we get to keep meals less curbside pick-up and more streetside chow-down. Spoiler alert! Employee mobility is absolutely vital.

Here’s an article from NPR on why policy changes to dining outside and parking have created safer environments, happier humans and more livable cities.

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s the second jetpack sighting by a pilot in Los Angeles airspace

We’re big fans of alternative mobility but aren’t quite sure what to make of this news. This week, in LA, pilots spotted—for the second time—a jetpack sharing the Pacific skies with them…at 6,000 feet.

While safety is one immediate question that comes to mind—there are so, so many more.

Read the full story about our real-life Rocketeer right here.

Covid-19 and the commute focus of new survey at Vanderbilt University

In an effort to better understand the needs of their community, Vanderbilt University announced this week that they are conducting a campus-wide survey that will provide valuable insight on transportation options and parking needs to help strategize how best to serve their diverse community during the pandemic and going forward.

As a technology and service partner to Vanderbilt’s MoveVU transportation and mobility team, we are inspired to see them leading the way to better understanding the commuter experience to inform program and policy decisions. Can’t wait to see the results!

Check out the press release here on the Vanderbilt website.

A Longboard in the Trunk, and Other Commute Innovations

October 9th 2020

Human mobility at the center of Ocean Spray, Tik Tok, and Fleetwood Mac feel good story of the year

And the human at the heart of it all? Nathan Apodeca. Who wasn’t about to let a broken down car keep him from getting to work or unleashing good vibes on the world.

A few mins shy of 8am on September 25th 2020, Nathan Apodeca’s car broke down on his way to work. Rather than let it spoil his morning, Apodeca grabbed his longboard (that he kept in the backseat for these very moments that were growing more regular) and made the last mile or so of the trip to the potato processing plant—where he worked—on his board.

En route, Nathan decided to post a Tik Tok video of himself riding to work, chugging some Ocean Spray, and singing along with Stevie Nicks. (Author’s note: I had to pull up Dreams, right now, on Spotify in order to fully embrace the good vibes in all this.)

View this post on Instagram

Stay tuned…👀 @doggface208

A post shared by Ocean Spray (@oceansprayinc) on

Well, fast forward a couple weeks, and here is Nathan getting a knock at his door from an Ocean Spray rep—who’s there to gift him a new truck and a bed full of Cran-hyphenated fruit juice medleys. (It’s really quite impressive, the Ocean Spray juice roster.)

We hope that Nathan still rides the longboard around even though he’s got that new set of Nissan-powered wheels…and maybe next time not on the side of the highway without a helmet. The world needs you Nathan Apodeca!

Check out more about this story from The New York Times.

Microsoft allowing employees to permanently WFH

In a move that makes sense given the current outlook for returning to offices, Microsoft announced today that the company will allow more employees to work from home permanently.

This move, to even greater employee flexibility, marks another tech-industry titan (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) going the way of remote work balanced with a hybrid workplace model.

Product plug: Microsoft runs their industry-recognized commute program through the Luum platform. Find out how to deliver safer, more flexible commute options to your changing workplace through the Luum app for employees.

Check out the full story over at The Verge

Urban.org Drops THE UNEQUAL COMMUTE: Examining Inequities in Four Metro Areas’ Transportation Systems

Accessibility to safe, reliable public transportation is a good chunk of the definition for mobility.

A piece, published this week by The Urban Institute, in partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, does a great job of unpacking the racial barriers and socio-economic challenges that exist within our transportation systems.

Using four key cities—Baltimore, Lansing, Nashville, and Seattle—as examples, the article examines both data and policy to shine a light on the disparities that are hurting wide swaths of US commuters, today.

Read the full study right here at urban.org