Above: members of the Australian delegation get a privileged visit to Google X – the ‘Moonshot Factory’ – just outside San Francisco.

Following highly successful study tours to the Netherlands, responding to participant feedback, We Ride Australia recently hosted its first ever transport study tour to leading innovative cities in North America. With extensive and privileged access to tech giants Google, Google X (Waymo), Uber and more, our delegates not only benefited from meetings with government and corporates, they also were able to understand firsthand the impact of smart tech and autonomous vehicles on planning for bicycles.

Delegates participated in presentations, site visits and roundtables in Vancouver, Portland and San Francisco over the intense 5-day program and we were hosted by arguably the most respected and expert executives in each city.

City of Vancouver’s Transport Planners led by Dale Bracewell (far right) and Australian delegation.

From the City of Vancouver’s Head of Transportation Planning, to a transport academic and Mayoral candidate in Portland and past Transport Innovation Lead in San Francisco, Google X commercialisation guru and internationally recognised Key Note Speaker in San Francisco – this was a comprehensive and fascinating program curated by experts in the field and one we were very proud to have been able to put together.

The differences in infrastructure provision across the three cities, in a similar way to Australia, strongly demonstrate a range of municipal, state and national approaches with local political leadership or resistance and available funding all affecting planning decisions that lead to a range of diverse solutions.

Tilikum Crossing, ‘Bridge of the People’ (on the right) is a bike, pedestrian and bus bridge that crosses the Willamette River in Portland.

Key facts. Our delegates met with:

  • 50 presenters from
  • 25 organisations over
  • 5 days in
  • 3 cities catching
  • 2 flights,
  • 8 Uber trips, with
  • 5 bike tours, and
  • 1 scooter tour.

Members of the delegation with our Portland guides and members of the Innovation Quadrant and Bird scooters.

The organisations and government departments we met with included:

  • The City of Vancouver
  • Mobi bike share
  • First Stop Portland
  • Portland State University
  • Portland Innovation Quadrant
  • Bird scooter share
  • Portland Bureau of Transport
  • Tri-Met (Portland, Oregon)
  • Ride Report (micromobility data)
  • Oregon Transportation Commission
  • The Street Trust, Portland
  • The Community Cycling Centre, Portland
  • The City of Portland
  • Better Naito
  • Bike Portland
  • Go Lloyd TMA
  • Donovan Smith Foundation
  • North Williams Traffic Operations
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission, San Francisco
  • San Francisco Metropolitan Planning Authority
  • Uber
  • City of Oakland
  • Google
  • Waymo (Google [X])
  • Remix

Sarah Innarone takes us along the river in typical Portland weather!

Study Tour Program

Sunday 15th September: arrival of delegates in Vancouver

  • Dinner and presentation from the Director of Transportation Planning at the City of Vancouver, Dale Bracewell.

Monday 16th September: Vancouver

  • City of Vancouver presentations from key transport planning, tourism and smart cities staff, Mobi Bikeshare presentation, City bicycle tour with city planner

Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th September

  • Portland State University – Digital City Testbed Centre, Innovation Quadrant visit, Planning Bureau, Tri-Met and Ride Report meetings, networking event with local advocacy groups, scooter tour.
  • Walking tour, Street Trust, Bike Portland, Rosewood Initiative, Lloyd TMA, Better Naito, Williams Traffic Operations Centre.

Thursday 19th and Friday 20th September

  • Market Street walking tour, SFMTA – Liveable Streets, Parking and Innovation, Uber, Jump Bikes, City of Oakland bike tour and presentations, Google, Waymo/X, Remix.

Saturday 21st September – Departure of delegates.


2019 Transport Study Tour Report: read more here.