This morning in the rotunda at City Hall, Alds. Bob Bauman and Nik Kovac joined Bublr Bikes Milwaukee launch director Kevin Hardman and WISPIRG Foundation director Bruce Speight to announce the findings of a new report ranking U.S. cities by the availability of innovative transportation forms.
According to the WISPIRG report – titled "The Innovative Transportation Index: The Cities Where New Technologies and Tools Can Reduce Your Need to Own a Car" – Milwaukee ranked 15th out of the 70 most populous U.S. cities.
"We're releasing this report today to shine a light on the great work that's being done in cities, like Milwaukee, throughout the nation to take advantage of these new advances and help provide residents with new and better options," Speight said.
"We hope that city leaders will find ways to embrace this new range of technologically enabled tools and services. We urge them to integrate these new options into their plans for the future, because while these transportation tools are new, they're striding quickly and changing the future ahead of us."
The report graded each city based on having the following 11 technology-enabled transportation services: ride sourcing, one-way car sharing, rides haring, real-time tracking, peer-to-peer car sharing, round-trip car sharing, bike sharing, online timetables, multi-modal apps, virtual ticketing and taxi hailing.
Milwaukee's ranking came as a result of having eight of the 11 noted services available and 12 service providers. Tied alongside Milwaukee at No. 15 were Houston, Miami and Tampa, with Chicago finishing just ahead at No. 14 (the report noted the Windy City has the same amount of services, but with 17 service providers). The top three cities on the list included Austin, San Francisco and Washington D.C., with Austin the only city providing all 11 services.
The report comes after a year where new transportation types – including Bublr Bikes and ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft – emerged in the Milwaukee market, as well as a day after the Milwaukee Common Council voted to approve the hotly debated Downtown streetcar proposal.
Bauman said he was "impressed" to see Milwaukee tied for 15th among cities for innovative transportation technology and tools, noting the moves and reforms done to increase the number of taxis, ride shares and other alternative options in Milwaukee.
"That's just an example of what I know this council has been doing for the last decade: trying to provide as many transportation choices for our constituents as possible," Bauman said. "Because, in my mind, that's what equates to real freedom: having choices."
"We're going to keep investing in the options you do like, but we're going to diversify our transportation portfolio," Kovac added. "We're going to be aggressive. I hope in a few years, we're number one on that list. I hope people are learning from Milwaukee how best to get around. And the best way to get around is not just one way; it's to have options.
"A city with options is a city that moves."