San Francisco, California, is at the forefront of the sharing economy. Being home to companies like Twitter, Dropbox, Airbnb, and Lyft, to name but a few, the city’s proximity to Silicon Valley’s hub of technology innovation has helped power its emerging scene of sharing startup companies.
Following the advocacy of companies such as IBM and Siemens, San Francisco is a leading “smart city,” and the city government is actively promoting San Francisco’s status as the epicenter of emerging high-tech sharing. However, San Francisco’s reliance on the private sector for funding its smart-city goals, has resulted in “limited service diversity in terms of social-welfare domains” in comparison with publicly funded efforts in Seoul, and a public-private partnership approach in Amsterdam.
The scope of sharing innovation in San Francisco is wide. For example, BayShare member Airbnb created a new tool to allow fee-free accommodation listings in regions affected by a natural disaster in order to quickly deliver emergency housing assistance to displaced residents. Airbnb collaborated with San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management to standardise this tool and ensure that it could be activated in less than 30 minutes. BayShare was subsequently invited to join the San Francisco Disaster Council, working alongside local authorities and emergency service providers on the city’s disaster preparedness and resiliency plans.
San Francisco’s Vision
The city’s vision is to make more shared choices available so that people of all backgrounds can easily get around without needing to own a car. By promoting shared options, more people can access affordable, safe, clean and reliable transportation than ever before.
‘Our vision is less about the technology (which we care about deeply) and more about people, community and culture change. Technology enables. But it is our belief that values shape technology – not the other way around.’ – San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
San Francisco’s Goals Over the Next 3 Years
The power of a 10 percent shift, the local government has committed to pursuing the following goals with their partners over the three-year demonstration period:
- Shift up to 10 percent of single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips to transit, shared and active modes;
- Reduce transportation emissions 10 percent through electrification and demand management;
- Reduce collisions and fatalities 10 percent leveraging their Vision Zero investments; and
- Reduce the share of lower-income residents’ household income on transportation by 10 percent.