The 3 Revolutions in Boston: A Regional Round Table on Sharing, Electrification, and Automation

Event Date

Boston University, Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering 610 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Event Description: The 3 Revolutions Regional Roundtable included a select group of approximately forty leading transportation, energy, and planning professionals to discuss the 3 Revolutions (3Rs) in transportation: electrification, automation and shared mobility. Robin Chase opened the roundtable, pointing to a need to shape policy towards people-centered cities. The remainder of the event was devoted to in-depth exploration of each of the 3Rs, with discussions centered around AV policy frameworks, data sharing for mobility in cities, and electric vehicle infrastructure incentives.

Agenda (Annotated)

10:00 AM Welcome and Introductions: Mollie and Peter presented synopses of current research from UC Davis and Boston University.

- Mollie D’Agostino, Policy Director, UC Davis 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program

- Peter Fox-Penner, Director, BU Institute for Sustainable Energy; Professor of Practice, BU Questrom School of Business

10:45 AM Keynote: Robin Chase, Co-Founder and former CEO, Zipcar; Co-Founder, Veniam

Robin Chase set the stage on how the Boston region is uniquely positioned to steer the 3Rs towards the public interest. Robin drew on her experience as co-founder of Zipcar, the largest carsharing company in the world, and Veniam, a network company that moves terabytes of data between vehicles and the cloud to discuss the principles and policy interventions needed to achieve people-centered cities. Robin emphasized the need to redistribute subsidies from private cars towards shared mobility. She also focused on the importance of better policy on how urban freight can fit seamlessly into the fabric of an increasingly multi-modal landscape. 

11:15 AM Expert Panel: Automated Vehicle Governance for Boston and Beyond- Panelists discussed a new stream of UC Davis research that finds key principles in goals for engaging AVs with transit systems. These principles include: empowering local and state governments to regulate AVs; prioritizing continuous improvement in AV safety; and encouraging AV data collection and sharing while protecting privacy. The discussion centered around policy tools for the city to implement in order to ensure responsible AV deployment; there was general agreement that governments are looking to current multi-modal development and new pricing mechanisms.


- Austin Brown, Executive Director, UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, the Environment, and the Economy


- Kate Fichter, Assistant Secretary of Policy Coordination, Massachusetts Department of Transportation

- Kris Carter, Co-Chair, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston

12:30 PM Lunch

1:30 PM Expert Panel: Data-Sharing Policy Frameworks for Shared Mobility-  The presentation outlined key data sharing challenges including High costs (institutional and monetary), a lack of data standardization, high levels of expertise needed for data analysis/visualization, proprietary nature of mobility data, and the difficulty of anonymizing mobility data. Panelists emphasized that maintaining privacy and providing data does not have to be mutually exclusive, but that cities have variable capabilities when it comes to their ability to protect privacy data. They also mentioned that there might be a happy medium of providing specific data, packaged in a mutually-comfortable way, to cities that request it, instead of a broad “data-dump.”


- Mollie D’Agostino, Policy Director, UC Davis 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program


- Emily Castor Warren, Fontinalis Partners, Venture Capital & Private Equity

- Corey Ershow, Policy Manager, Lyft

2:45 PM Break

3:00 PM Expert Panel: Current Issues in EV infrastructure and Charging Investment- Panelists presented recent work from the BU ISE on EV charging infrastructure policy and implementation from around the world. Much of the discussion centered around finding the funding to support such buildouts, and the creative ways cities and utilities can work together to incentivize and increase charging infrastructure. 


- Jennifer Hatch, Research Fellow, BU Institute for Sustainable Energy


- Justin Ren, Professor, BU Questrom School of Business


- Colin Murphy, Deputy Director, UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy

- James Cater, Program Lead, EV Infrastructure, Eversource

- Karen Glitman, Senior Manager, Center for Sustainable Energy

4:15 PM Closing Discussion: Where Should We Go From Here? The closing discussion centered around three main topics for further investigation by researchers concerned about policy-oriented work: designing and promoting replicable solutions in the face of unique city needs; and emphasis on describing and characterizing what motivates people to adopt some of these transportation innovations; and an emphasis on better pricing and incentives to nudge transportation behavior.

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