EXCLUSIVE: Mayor of San Jose invites transportation world to use his city as a living lab


The Mayor of San, Jose Sam Liccardo, used his welcome ahead of the first keynote speech of the ITS America 2016 meeting yesterday (June 13), to invite transportation innovators to contact him if they wish to use his city as a proving ground for new technology. 

The session, which opened at the McEnery Convention Center – in glitzy style complete with spotlights, dry ice and energizing music – also featured a personal recorded video message from US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, contributions from Caltrans chiefs and sponsors, Xerox, and the keynote itself from Seval Oz (below), CEO of Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, who spoke eloquently about the shared economy and the revolution that is being seen in transportation, thanks to that. She highlighted that the cost of using a vehicle could fall to a third of its current level, before concluding with a video outlining a potential new service from Continental: Box2Go – goods deliveries to your car.

Mayor Liccardo (below) told the packed hall about the transportation innovations already in place in San Jose, from the first electric vehicle charging stations that were installed almost a decade ago, to a new traffic management center, dynamic road pricing and autonomous vehicle testing. He then set out his vision for the future.

“We have a lot of ambitions in Silicon Valley and here in San Jose, it’s simple: to leverage this incredible technology that is all around to make San Jose the most innovative city in the country by 2020,” said Liccardo. “Here’s where we need your help. We would love to partner with you; please reach out to us. If you have technology that you would like to see tested and demonstrated on a stage that enables the rest of Silicon Valley to take notice – nd indeed, the whole world to take notice – we would love to be your laboratory. Please reach out to us, we look forward to partnering with you to help transform how we can improve mobility for the rest of the world. Thank you and have a great week.”

US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx (below) welcomed delegates with a recorded video message: “I want to welcome everybody to the ITS America annual meeting,” he said. “It’s great that so many people, from across the nation and across the world, have come to celebrate and continue the conversation about innovation and technology in transportation.

“We at the USDOT are working hard to harness the potential of intelligent transportation systems and innovation in general to support a safer, more effective and more efficient transportation system across the country. Just last September we issued US$42 million to three communities across the country that are experimenting with connected vehicle technologies: New York City, Tampa and Wyoming.

“In addition to that, in December last year we launched the Smart City Challenge,” continued Foxx. “This is a $40 million grant challenge from the USDOT, but it has ignited a lot of activity among 78 cities across the country, who have applied for this grant and who are all interested in making the kind of investments in the policies that will shape innovation and technology in the transportation sector for the next generation. We’ve narrowed the list to seven cities and we look forward to announcing the winner of this competition later this month. We are pleased to be part of ITS America’s great work. We continue to look forward to working with all of you to advance the cause of transportation and to also harness the potential of technology to move us ever faster, ever safer and even more effectively. Thank you very much and I hope you have a great conference.”

Sam Liccardo can be reached on sam.liccardo@sanjoseca.gov and his chief innovation officer, Shireen Santosham, is on shireen.santosham@sanjoseca.gov

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).