An urbanist’s guide to creating effective mobility pilots

Harvard Kennedy School visiting fellow David Zipper outlined the dos and don’ts of piloting mobility tech to aid governments in navigating uncertainty.

In a recent policy brief for the Taubman Center, Zipper detailed the most critical steps of developing and conducting a mobility pilot to aid local governments in informing decisions around technology procurement. Smart Cities Dive caught up with Zipper to discuss his research and debunk some common misconceptions around what it means to find “success” in a pilot…

“This whole concept of pilots and how to launch a new technology in a limited way has been a bit of a mess,” Zipper said. This is particularly pertinent in the mobility space, where advancements have created opportunities for cities to test everything from autonomous shuttles to shared mopeds.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.