Ride-hailing and e-scooters caused chaos for cities across the United States, even as companies promised they would fix more problems than they created. The city of Los Angeles — eager to introduce zero-emission transportation — wants to ensure the launch of air taxis doesn’t repeat past mistakes.
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To help prepare Los Angeles for the new tech, a nonprofit organization spun out of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office is working with air taxi developers and local residents to develop a policy toolkit in advance of commercial operations later this decade.
Urban Movement Labs was spun out of the mayor’s Office of Economic Development in 2020 to become a standalone 501c(3) nonprofit aimed at shaping the future of mobility in the city. This year, the organization commenced an urban air mobility (UAM) partnership with the mayor’s office and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to drill down into how the city can integrate UAM into existing infrastructure and transportation networks in a way that maximizes equity and accessibility.
We have a commitment from Hyundai and Archer to actually focus on assisting us in developing this policy toolkit, …
That’s everything from the policies around where these vehicles will fly, the air routes, where these vehicles may land outside of commercial airports … and other related policies around planning for [vertiports].Sam Morrissey
Air Taxi infrastructure challenge
UML fashions itself as a three-way bridge between the city, private industry and, most importantly, Los Angelenos. The three perspectives may not always align. The launch of electric air taxis, in particular, presents unique challenges that need to be solved, everything from fire risk and zoning issues to noise pollution and issues that cause disagreement among stakeholders.