Sidewalk Labs and Transportation for America (T4A) announced a new partnership to engage cities in developing efficient and affordable transportation options for all. The two organizations will work with dozens of U.S. cities to define how technology can help them meet their pressing transportation challenges. This collaborative will help local leaders get more people where they want to go quickly and affordably, enhancing livability and sustainability, by harnessing powerful data and the availability of new digital tools.
The partnership will build on Sidewalk Labs’ expertise working with cities to develop digital technology that solves big urban problems, combined with Transportation for America’s experience collaborating with state and local governments to develop forward-looking transportation and land use policy. Through the partnership, T4A will launch an in-depth study on the state of current transportation policy and technology in American cities, and build a peer-learning collaborative of city leaders to define and design the “connected streets” of the future.
Connected streets will advance the concept of complete streets into the digital realm. Just as the complete streets framework gives local leaders the policy tools to improve the safety and equity of streets for all users across all modes, connected streets offers tech-enabled interventions that can support local efforts to move people more seamlessly, efficiently, and affordably. Connected streets can help create a truly balanced, multimodal approach to urban transportation that expands access to job opportunities and improves quality of life across a city.
“Too often there’s a disconnect between tech interventions and transportation outcomes. We’ve seen cities embrace a more holistic approach in our collaboration with the U.S. DOT Smart City Challenge, but it’s important to broaden that discussion to all the other cities looking for better tools to improve mobility,” said Anand Babu, COO of Sidewalk Labs. “By drawing on Transportation for America’s long experience working within local communities, we can focus the conversation on cities’ goals and break down the divide between technologists and city leaders. And as a result, we’ll build a network where best practices and ideas for solving these problems through emerging technologies can be shared among cities across the country.”
“In the course of providing technical assistance to local communities over the past few years, we continually hear from cities who want better tools to tackle the same problems of congestion, growing commutes, and access to affordable transportation options,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America, a project of Smart Growth America. “Working with Sidewalk Labs, we can help local leaders learn about the possibilities presented by emerging technologies, but also help first codify what they want to achieve in terms of transportation equity, reliability, and access, so the technology can be put to best use.”
Sidewalk Labs announced in March that it is building a new transportation coordination platform called Flow, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and seven finalist cities from the DOT’s Smart City Challenge. The Flow team has met with all the finalists to understand the challenges they face and what tools might help them meet their goals for creating efficient, sustainable, equitable, and safe transportation systems. The winner of the Smart City Challenge will be announced in June, and will receive Flow at no cost.