Photo: Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman
A perspective on mobility law
Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman
Florida’s young people and especially professionals want to live in town, and live, work and recreate in the same place, which changes their transportation paradigm. And that’s brought every sort of transportation company looking into how they can supply cities with these little scooters or bicycles. A most encouraging trend is a broad acceptance of public spending on shared mobility. We’re seeing Miami move faster than it has moved in years in trying to get its south corridor bus rapid transit moving and trying to move forward a public-private partnership for the Miami Beach corridor and making serious moves on the north corridor as well as doing things to promote micro-mobility. They have a downtown plan for micro-mobility that involves having lanes. You cannot really have people riding 15 mph scooters on the sidewalk — creating an infrastructure for that is important.
I see Miami making real moves toward walkability. I see Broward County created a funding source for all kinds of transportation improvements, and they’re moving ahead in Palm Beach County. Orlando’s doing a lot. The public wants it, and the government is responding, and I think with the new presidential administration and with Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation, we are going to see a bigger investment on the federal level.
An organization I’ve been working with, CoMotion LA, thinks mobility innovation that’s been happening in L.A. would work really well in Miami. What has grown out of that is C-Lab Miami we launched this year. Basically, producers of CoMotion LA and CoMotion Miami wanted to work with Miami-Dade County Transit to sponsor essentially a laboratory for beta testing new mobility solutions (including autonomous vehicles). Another is avionics solutions — urban aviation is a thing. And just as you can use drones to deliver packages, a lot of people think you can use something similar to move people.
Obviously, passenger aviation continues to be deeply impacted by COVID. Luckily, the federal government propped up the airlines to make sure we would still have choice and competition. I think that (air travel) is going to come back big once we have the vaccines. We need business travel to come back in order to keep the cost of leisure travel low.
Clients have called me and asked me to advise them on offers that they received from developers to intentionally bring commercial air service to smaller alternative, formerly general aviation fields. And I think some of the big commercial carriers are looking for those alternatives as well.
Another trend is making flying commercial more comfortable for those who can afford it. Miami recently put out a request for letters of interest to develop a new VIP terminal, which would not be connected to the regular terminal. Then the fliers who were willing to pay for that experience would be able to board the first-class cabin separately right from the tarmac.
Read more in Florida Trend's May issue.
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