What is MDS ? What are the main functions , and who are the key players in its driving force . 

Introduction ;

Similar to a common language, the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) gives cities an elegant and cost effective tool to actively manage private mobility providers (Ex; UBER, LYFT, BIRD, SCOOT) and the public right-of-way. MDS allows cities to collect valuable insights through a shared data vocabulary and to communicate directly with product companies in real time using code. Today, it enables cities to manage dock less scooters, bikes, taxis, and buses. Tomorrow, that could be autonomous cars, drones, and whatever else the future may hold.

MDS is a key piece of digital infrastructure that supports the effective implementation of mobility policies in cities around the world.

In major cities like Los Angeles (where these mobility providers are offered), shared use mobility providers (like scooters and bikes) must provide :

  • real-time information about how many of their vehicles are in use at any given time,    
  • where vehicles are at all times, 
  • and the physical condition that vehicles are in.

Additional information includes – ( Parking Verification, Operating Cost, Customer Cost, Vehicle Utilization, Percent Battery Charge, Start Trip Data, & End Trip Data )

In Los Angeles, mobility providers are required to share data with LADOT. 

The MDS defines the API that LADOT will use in order to pull this data from mobility service companies. The MDS also defines a number of other APIs that mobility service companies will support so that, in the very near future, LADOT can actively manage mobility services that are in the public right-of-way.

What does this mean ?  . . . 

  • For instance, if a vehicle is parked outside of a proper parking area, LADOT’s Agency APIs will be able to communicate in real-time with the mobility service provider and their customer about the proper parking area and may prevent a user from ending their trip until the vehicle is parked in an appropriate designated area. This active management of shared vehicles, for instance, helps ensure safe passage for all who are using the public right-of-way.

As of right now there are only a handful of cities and key players who offer this service to the public and work to implement MDS in conjunction with the city enforcements that they are used in. 

These Contributors are listed as :

  • The City of Los Angeles

• The City of Santa Monica

• The City of Austin

• San Francisco Metropolitan

Transit Authority (SFMTA)

• Seattle Department of Transportation

• Harvard Kennedy School

  • Bird • Spin • Lime

* Source ;