Columbus is the winner of the US Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, beating out San Francisco, Austin, Portland, Kansas City, Denver and Pittsburgh. Columbus will receive a $40 million federal grant combined with $10 million from Vulcan Inc. and matched by an additional $90 million from private sector partners. The award will invest in next generation transportation technologies and services, including driverless vehicles, advanced traffic analytics and intelligent infrastructure.
The (quite wonderful) CityLab blog from The Atlantic has an article describing “what has been called ‘one of the transportation safety field’s greatest success stories'”: the road diet. [So What Exactly Is a ‘Road Diet’?].
Road diets are inexpensive ways to achieve good transportation outcomes, such as increased traffic safety, as well as better walkability and bikeability. Despite popular conceptions, it does not necessarily increase traffic congestion. And did I mention they are cheap?
Road diets are as close as we get to a “magic bullet” in transportation planning. As planner Charles Marohn writes:
Why, when our leadership has expressed so clearly the enormous financial gap we have in funding a “world class” transportation system, are road diets not an obsession of transportation departments everywhere?
Sonja Heikkilä wants to create a sustainable mobility service ecosystem where Helsinki citizens can configure mobility services from a wide range of providers – public, private and shared – via smartphone apps. In the future, users may be able to purchase monthly mobility plans that are tailored to their activity patterns and needs, much like current mobile phone voice + data plans.
Helsinki is demonstrating that you can have access without ownership. The average automobile is stationary and parked for 95% of its existence – a tremendously inefficient use of a valuable mobility resource. Ownership also leads to overuse and binge mobility.