How we move about the city is central to our story. While many people talk about transportation in terms of convenience or efficiency or even as a driver for economic development, mobility is about more than that; it’s about choices, connections, and community.
All too often, our transportation options are limited. We cannot choose to use transit because there is no bus or train near our home or work. We cannot choose to use a bicycle, or other non motorized means of travel because it is snowing or too hot and we can’t show up to work soaking wet. We cannot choose to use a car because we don’t own one or it’s too expensive to maintain. I believe that the focus should be on growing the availability of mobility options for everyone, no matter what your budget is. Your city government can do that by incentivizing emerging technologies, investing in infrastructure that provides mobility options, and by leading by example as an organization.
When we have real mobility options, our opportunities to connect manifestly increase – our connections to different physical places, certainly, but more importantly our connections to other people grow stronger. When we step into a ride share vehicle, or an autonomous car system moving people from grid to grid, we encounter others who may or may not be like us and create an opportunity to learn and grow; when we see another on a scooter, we experience a moment of a shared experience; when we ride the bus with fellow commuters on a regular basis, we sense that we are part of greater forces at work. Mobility choices lead to chance and planned connections among people and the places that we inhabit in real time, in a way that cannot be replicated in the digital space.
As connections develop, our understanding of community deepens. Mobility can humanize us by creating the chances to experience and understand our neighbors, visitors, and even our own families. Taking the train into downtown to see the lights at Christmas is a sacred ritual for some; for others, the Sunday bike ride along the Jordan River with kids is an age-old tradition. And yes, there are times we need to travel without others, either by necessity or to create space. Having that option is just as important so that there is flexibility and a chance to recharge.
The connections that come from mobility options can foster a stronger sense of community, and ultimately that is what drives our values as a city. As your Mayor, I will bring this perspective about mobility and transportation to every decision I make about infrastructure and resources.