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Metro seeking applications for public-private projects that test new transportation services

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: FILE PHOTO - Metro is planning on multimodal transportation to serve all income levels. Metro recently initiated a one-time funding program that will partner the public, private and nonprofit sectors in exploring how bikes, ride-sharing, car-sharing and other emerging technologies can provide more equitable and active transportation options.

The Partnerships and Innovative Learning Opportunities in Transportation (PILOT) program launched in October and will provide $150,000 to test new ways of moving people or giving people information about their travel options.

Eliot Rose, Metro's senior technology strategist, said the PILOT program grew out of the increasing interest local and national mobility companies are showing in Portland and the broadening array of ways people can get around town.

"I'm impressed by how savvy the staff who work for these companies are about transportation conditions in Portland," Rose said. "At the same time, it can be hard when you are working to develop a new service or grow a new company to understand what the local community needs."

Through the PILOT program, Metro hopes to match private mobility companies with nonprofits and public agencies to provide options that best serve different neighborhoods throughout the Portland region. Possible projects could help meet the transportation needs of underserved communities, remove barriers to accessing new mobility services, provide new connections to transit stations, improve transit service or provide new shared or active transportation options.

"We hope through this process that we give companies that are interested in testing a new way of connecting people with transportation services experience in collaborating with communities to develop services that are going to benefit these communities," said Rose, who leads Metro's efforts to plan for the impact of emerging transportation technologies.

For the full story by the Business Tribune, click here.