Sidewalk Labs and 16 cities join T4America’s Smart Cities Collaborative project

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In a new collaborative project supported by Sidewalk Labs, cities will work together to create policies, pilot emerging technology, and share insights to improve transportation in small and large metropolitan areas.

Transportation for America (T4A) and Sidewalk Labs have announced the 16 members of a new T4A Smart Cities Collaborative to explore how technology can improve urban mobility, creating a tangible new opportunity for the scores of ambitious cities that did not win, or were not eligible for, USDOT’s Smart City Challenge.

Over the coming year, the collaborative will bring together these cities to tackle the challenges related to implementing smart city policies and projects, sharing best practices and technical assistance and piloting new programs. Nearly 60 cities from 31 US states applied to be a part of the collaborative, which will hold its first meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 9-10.

Initially, the cities will participate in a variety of information-sharing meetings, both with each other and with industry-leading transportation experts. From there, the groups will receive direct technical assistance, create pilot programs, and share results with the rest of the collaborative to drive best practices across the country. Through the collaborative, the member cities will form working groups that will focus on three core areas:

• Automated vehicles, and their potential impact on urban transit systems, congestion, transportation equity and the environment;

• Shared mobility, and how it could help cities provide equitable, affordable and more sustainable transportation choices;

• Performance measures and data analytics, and how to use data to manage complex transportation networks and achieve transit equity and environmental goals.

“We’re in the midst of the most transformational shift in urban transportation since the start of the interstate era more than 50 years ago. And just like that era, cities have enormous potential to help or harm their residents with the decisions they make,” said James Corless, director of T4America.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see this long list of cities proactively shaping the future to ensure that this monumental shift in transportation doesn’t shape their cities without their input and produce a new generation of transportation haves and have-nots.”

Sidewalk Labs’ chief policy officer, Rohit T Aggarwala, commented, “We have spent the past several months speaking directly with cities across the country, and what we’ve heard is mobility is a major issue across the board. Cities know that technology offers ways to improve mobility, but exactly how to realize its potential isn’t obvious. Cities understand that they need to work together, but the question has always been how best to band these municipalities in partnership. This collaborative will be an unprecedented step in unifying these urban areas and accelerate solutions that provide affordable, efficient ways to get around.”

The 16 cities participating in the collaborative are: Austin, Texas; Denver, Centennial, Lone Tree, all Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee; Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Jose, all California; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, DC.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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