32: David Zipper on the war over micromobility data standards

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This week Oliver interviews journalist David Zipper about the quietly brewing war over the Mobility Data Specification that is being played out between cities and shared micromobility operators. 

David is a Resident Fellow at the German Marshall Fund and a Partner in the 1776 Venture Fund, where he oversees investments in smart cities and mobility ventures. Following his tenure as director of NYC Business Solutions in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration in New York City he served as director of Business Development and Strategy for two mayors in Washington, D.C. 

David has written a number of articles in Slate, Fast Company and The Atlantic covering, among other things, the rise of the Mobility Data Specification which we see as  one of the building blocks to supercharge micromobility’s growth, and underpin the future operating systems for mobility in our cities. 

In this episode, we dig into: 

  • What is the Mobility Data Specifications, where did they come from and why are they significant?

  • Who are the major players arguing for or against MDS?

  • What are the implications of widespread adoption of standards in this space, and why do Horace and I believe that these will form the underpinnings of a forthcoming ‘Internet of Mobility’?

  • What will happen in the event of the preemption bill AB1112 passing in the California Senate, stripping cities of the right to collect the data that MDS provides, including the city that is leading the development of it.

It’s a fascinating conversation about the politics playing out at the local and state levels as cities build new solutions. For a more detailed read, check out the article from Slate that David wrote here.

Unfortunately the good quality audio on David’s side got cut off around the 30 minute mark, so we default to the Skype recording. 

As always, let us know what you think on Twitter: @oliverbruce or @davidzipper


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Oliver Bruce