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Foxx visits three of Europe’s ‘smartest cities’

As part of the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) ongoing efforts to learn from international partners about innovative ways to meet the transportation challenges of the future, last week, the US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, completed a multi-day visit to three European ‘Smart Cities’: Copenhagen (Denmark), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Oslo (Norway).

Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Oslo are considered to be three of the ‘smartest’ cities in the world. They face many of the same challenges as cities in the USA, including rapid growth, urbanization, congestion, climate change, increased freight traffic, and risks to pedestrian and bike safety.

In addition to meeting with government leaders, Foxx engaged in a series of discussions and meetings with city officials, architects, and planners about their efforts to meet these challenges with creative and multi-modal solutions.

During his visit, Foxx also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with each of the three countries, formalizing cooperation with each nation on a range of transportation priorities, including connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), smart cities, and multi-modal urban mobility.

Foxx was joined by Mayors Steve Adler of Austin, Texas; Charlie Hales of Portland, Oregon; and Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who are part of the ‘Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets’, an initiative launched by Foxx in 2014, which allows the USDOT to partner with mayors to make cycling and walking safer in cities.

Mayors Adler and Hales are also finalists in the USDOT’s ‘Smart City Challenge’ competition, which will support the creation of a fully integrated, first-of-its-kind US city that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future. The mayors participated in panels and conversations with experts and thinkers about their experiences as city leaders, and how they can make incremental changes to improve the lives of their constituents.

“We moved safely through these cities the way so many residents routinely do, on a bike, and we looked at how data and technology are shaping transportation systems for the better,” said Foxx. “I’m excited to put these ideas into practice, and continue the conversation in the United States about making our neighborhoods more inclusive and multi-modal, and to improve access to economic opportunity.”

Austin’s Mayor Adler commented, “Imagining the possibilities is as vital to transforming urban mobility as technological innovations or building new infrastructure. If we believe that it is better to use bus lanes, bike paths, and boulevards to more closely connect everyone than to divide entire communities, first we must see that it is possible. The cities we visited with Secretary Foxx showed us what is possible, and we are eager to incorporate these ideas into a future for American cities that provides ladders of opportunity for everyone.”

South Bend’s Mayor Buttigieg observed, “Exchanging ideas with some of the world’s most successful bike-oriented cities will help us accommodate cars, bikes, and pedestrians in our future plans. It’s great to see a city of our scale included in the global conversation about creating safer and more accessible transportation.”

April 27, 2016

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