America’s Biggest Universal Basic Mobility Experiment Is Taking Place in L.A.

In May, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and LA Metro launched the biggest Universal Basic Mobility experiment ever attempted in the U.S., giving 1,000 South Los Angeles residents a “mobility wallet” — a debit card with $150 per month to spend on transportation.

The catch? Funds can be used to take the bus, ride the train, rent a shared e-scooter, take micro-transit, rent a car-share, take an Uber or Lyft, or even purchase an e-bike — but they can’t be spent on the cost of owning or operating a car…

It’s the biggest experiment in Universal Basic Mobility in the U.S., but it is not the first.

“Mobility wallets are catching like wildfire,” says Mollie D’Agostino, executive director of the new Mobility Science, Automation, and Inclusion Center at UC Davis. In California alone, Oakland, Bakersfield and Stockton… have all implemented UBM pilots, as has Pittsburgh.

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