Racial and ethnic inequalities loom large in American society. People of color face structural barriers when it comes to securing quality housing, healthcare, employment, and education. Racial disparities also permeate the criminal justice system in the United States and undermine its effectiveness. At the Urban Institute, they examine how historical and ongoing public policies, institutional practices, and cultural narratives perpetuate racial inequalities and constrain mobility for communities of color. For decades, their researchers have called attention to the role of race and racism in our public and private institutions and offered evidence-based solutions for how to address these inequities. Scholars will continue to play a crucial role as we work to elevate the public discourse around race and inequality in America. Follow this link to learn more.
Flexible routes and schedules, pandemic planning, and more significant relationships with private-sector mobility operations could be some of the lasting effects the coronavirus crisis has on public transit. Moving forward, experts say the novel coronavirus will likely prompt longer-term design changes to transit systems, as well as more immediate stop-gap efforts once these systems begin to resume more normal service routines. These impacts were the topic of discussion during an online Shared Mobility Summit panel discussion Wednesday. “We’ll likely see mask requirements on a lot of systems for the next year or so. We’ll start seeing hand sanitizers placed at train stations and busy bus stops. Longer-term, agency planning is just going to have to take pandemics into mind,” said Chris Van Eyken, a senior associate at TransitCenter. Follow this link to learn more.
A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences charts a worrying global shift towards more-sprawling and less-hooked-up street networks over time. In their interactive online Global Sprawl Map, the bluer the area, the more compact its streets tend to be. The redder, the more sprawling. Follow this link to learn more.
Cities around the world face rapid urbanization, economic constraints, and environmental concerns. To address these challenges, city administrators are turning to technology, especially the Internet of Things (IoT), to digitize city operations. Unfortunately, smart city technologies pose significant challenges of their own. Smart city IoT services include smart lighting, smart parking, intelligent traffic management systems, smart waste management, video surveillance with analytics, and real-time monitoring of pollution and air quality. They can help make cities more accessible, safer, greener, and livable. Follow this link to learn more.
Traffic congestion in cities across the nation is on a disarming trendline heading upward, fueled, in part, by a strong economy and car-centered transportation networks. American drivers spent an average of 54 hours in traffic in 2017, according to the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, recently released by the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute. This finding is 15 percent higher than it was five years ago. The study reviewed traffic in 494 urban areas nationwide. “Usually, the first step of doing anything is understanding the problem,” said Bill Eisele, a co-author of the report. “And I think what we do a good job of is explaining just how extensive the problem is, and then from there we can begin to have the policy and other discussions about what we can do to fix it.” Follow this link to read more.
The fingerprints of the digital revolution are becoming increasingly evident in the work of urban planning. Big data, the internet of things, and sensor networks offer new ways for urban managers to make informed decisions. Autonomous vehicles and drones will change mobility infrastructure in cities. The availability of satellite imagery and digital urban maps are revolutionizing the way that city extensions are planned to ensure job proximity for new urban residents and improved transportation. The sharing economy is creating new job opportunities and ways to make business as cities become increasingly dynamic. In recognizing the potential of digital technologies to contribute to urban sustainability, the UN’s New Urban Agenda asks member states to commit to “adopting a smart-city approach that makes use of opportunities from digitization, clean energy, and technologies.” Follow this link to learn more.
Drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), are regulated for aircraft safety and flight operations under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Many cities, municipalities, and states add their own regulations related to their areas of traditional authority. Traditional city and state authorities include:
planning and zoning for land-use,
determining take-off and landing locations for drones,
law enforcement operations and community safety, and
privacy policies and considerations.
Cities will not be on the sidelines as drones take flight. Updates to current regulations and safety decisions at FAA are in progress, but to get ahead of the next transportation technology shift, cities should prepare and consider their role to make the most of this new technology. Follow this link to read more.