i3 - March/April 2017 - 27

ENCOURAGING GOVERNMENT TRANSIT SHARING
On day two of the 115th Congress, U.S. Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Seth Moulton (D-MA)
re-introduced the "Modernizing Government
Travel Act," which encourages government employees to use ridesharing apps, bikeshare programs
"and other innovative transportation options"
for official business. On day six, the House unanimously adopted the bipartisan bill, which went
to the Senate for approval. The House adopted
similar legislation last year.
"The option to summon a ride via smartphone
gives millions of federal employees greater flexibil-

ity, saves taxpayer dollars, and allows federal
agencies to catch up with the private sector," said
Hurd, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Information Technology. Moulton characterized the bill
as one that "ensures innovative and cost-effective
modes of transportation are available to the millions
of federal employees."
CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro hailed the
legislation as an endorsement of sharing economy
platforms that "boost the U.S. economy, create new
job opportunities, save money for consumers and
provide safe transportation options."

Blue Apvron delivers five million meals per month on
a subscription basis. The company's meal kits of precisely
portioned ingredients include instructions needed to cook
exactly three dinners a week for couples or families of four.

C
 

REATING JOBS

These local services are generating a vast array of full- and
part-time employment. "This
whole phenomenon is best
viewed as part of a long historical process that adds capital
to labor," explains Joe Kennedy,
a senior fellow at the Information
Technology and Innovation
Foundation. Acknowledging criticism about some labor
practices, including insurance and other benefits in the
gig economy, Kennedy points out that such contracting work "has been growing for two to three decades"
and that the new platform-based approaches are creating
"a more efficient matching system than relying on word-ofmouth or advertising."
In his report Labor Law and the Gig Economy, Kennedy
asks, "Why stick with an antiquated system?" and points
out that "independent contractor status is fundamental to
the profitability" of gig-working operators.
Kennedy concludes that Congress and other policy makers
should "amend each of the labor laws to make them more relevant to the growing and constantly shifting labor markets."
His viewpoint underscores the efforts to revamp the
"agency model," in which jobs ranging from carpe try to
accounting to home health care are based on some form
of middleman assignment process. By various measures,
this set-up has meant that the agency took up to 75 percent
of users payments, often barely leaving the worker with
minimum wage levels. New online marketplaces or registries are stimulating an increase in the number of workers,
higher wages and a reduction of turnover in some contracting categories, according to a study by the National
Employment Law Project.
Pew calculates that eight percent of Americans earned money
from the online "platform economy" last year (plus another 18
percent who used the internet to sell personal property online.)
C TA . t e c h / i 3

77

percent of homesharing users were
pleased with the app/
website experience

82

percent of people
who used homesharing
services two or more
times per year expressed
satisfaction with the
experience; people
who used it more often
showed even higher
satisfaction levels
RIDESHARING

87

percent of users
were satisfied with
ridesharing services
among all age groups
surveyed (millennials,
Gen-X and Boomers)

85

percent were
satisfied with the app/
website experience for
ridesharing: online
information "accurately
represents details"

The latest Freelancers Union survey
tallied that 55 million Americans
did project work last year, representing
35 percent of the total U.S. workforce.
"The freelance workforce is the
fastest-growing component of the
economy," explains Louis Hyman of the
Cornell University School of Industrial
and Labor Relations. "Figuring out
where it is going is the most pressing
question of our digital age."
According to the study, technology
is fueling the growth of freelance work.
"Seventy-three percent of freelancers
said that technology has made it easier
to find freelance work - up four points
since 2014," according to the Freelancers
Union analysis. "Sixty-six percent of freelancers said the amount of work they
have obtained online has increased in
the past year."
In a report on the "gig economy,"
the McKinsey Global Institute concludes that evolving digital platforms
are creating "large-scale, efficient
marketplaces that facilitate direct and
even real-time connections between
the customers who need a service
performed and the workers willing to
provide that service."
The McKinsey report says the
"tangible economic benefits" of the gig
economy, including greater availability
of services and improved matching
better fulfills consumer and worker
needs. "Digital platforms can amplify
all these benefits through their larger
scale, faster matches, seamless coordination, and richer information signals,
enabling trust," they conclude.
Their final point: "digital technologies will continue to reshape the
world of work." n
MARCH/APRIL 2017

27


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