Big Data, Automation, and the Future of Transportation

In recent years, a variety of forces (economic, environmental, and social) have quickly given rise to “shared mobility,” a collective of entrepreneurs and consumers leveraging technology to share transportation resources, save money, and generate capital. Bikesharing services, such as BCycle, and business-to-consumer carsharing services, such as Zipcar, have become part of a sociodemographic trend that has pushed shared mobility from the fringe to the mainstream. The role of shared mobility in the broader landscape of urban mobility has become a frequent topic of discussion. Shared transportation modes—such as bikesharing, carsharing, ridesharing, ridesourcing/transportation network companies (TNCs), and microtransit—are changing how people travel and are having a transformative effect on smart cities.

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Smart Cities and the Weather

A study by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 2008 found that the impact of routine weather events on the US economy equates annually to about 3.4% of the country’s GDP (about $485 billion). This excludes the impact of extreme weather events that cause damage and disruption – after all, even “ordinary” weather affects supply of and demand for many items, and the propensity of businesses and consumers to buy them. NCAR found that mining and agriculture are particularly sensitive to weather influences, with utilities and retail not far behind.

Many of these, disaster management included, are the focus of smart city innovations. Not surprisingly, therefore, as they seek to improve and optimize these systems, smart cities are beginning to understand the connection between weather and many of their goals.  A number of vendors (for example, IBM, Schneider Electric, and others) now offer weather data-driven services focused specifically on smart city interests.

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Decision Support Tools that Counter Uncertainty and Risk in Urban Settings

Urban Planning Today: Perception vs. Reality When the planning profession was still nascent in the 1950’s, well defined social needs and the desire to improve poor living conditions were the dominant basis for policy and regulation. By the time the 1970’s and 80’s...
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Invest in Resilience Before Disaster Strikes

Investing in at-risk communities before disaster strikes is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect residents and property while increasing their ability to weather the severe storms ahead. At Enterprise Community Partners, our Resilient Communities Initiative works nationwide to strengthen communities and equip residents so they are better prepared for, and able to respond to extreme weather events and other emergencies. We provide technical assistance, grant funding, research and analysis, and build innovative tools to support this goal.

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Expanding Visual Accessibility of Mobility Information using the Physical Web

Expanding Visual Accessibility of Mobility Information using the Physical Web

How does public information work for people who can’t read information screens? In the US there are over 1.3 million legally blind people, many of whom have difficulty reading public screens, and over 100,000 totally blind people, who often depend on assistive technology like screen readers (which read text on computers out loud). Naturally, public transportation plays a major role in many of their lives.

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Best States to add Solar Power and Wind Energy

Best States to add Solar Power and Wind Energy

A massive 16 GW of renewable energy (RE) was installed in the United States in 2016, adding more new electricity generation than from coal, nuclear, and natural gas combined. This growth in renewables was driven by commercial and industrial (C&I) users like...

‘Smart’ city report advises local leaders to plan ahead

‘Smart’ city report advises local leaders to plan ahead

By David Hatch Technologies such as wireless sensors, digital government portals, crowdsourcing and mobile phone apps can help cities boost revenue and efficiencies across all sectors of administration. Editors note: This article first appeared in Citiscope.org and is...

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The UN’s New Urban Agenda Is Official…Now What?

The statistics are impressive. 30,000 people participated in Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador this year, the bi-decennial conference otherwise known as the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Over 500 networking events, panels and...

Corporations Lead in 100 Percent Renewables

This November, Microsoft contracted for a massive 237 MW of wind power in Kansas and Wyoming. Most new electricity generation in the U.S. is from wind and solar, with much of the electricity being purchased by major corporations, like Microsoft. These corporations are...

Urban Innovator of the Week: Terence Patterson

Terence Patterson, President and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission, used to be Jerry Maguire. Originally from Memphis, he earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard, and then worked for three years for the Walt Disney Company doing corporate finance. After three...

Zipcar Founder Robin Chase on Upending the Status Quo

This is the third in a series entitled The Future of Mobility, a joint project of CommonWealth and Meeting of the Minds. Freedom no longer means sitting behind the wheel of your own car The accelerating changes in transportation have disrupted established services and...

How Mysuru became India’s ‘cleanest city’

By Patralekha Chatterjee MYSURU, India — What lessons can a onetime potter’s colony offer on cleaning up a city in a country struggling with garbage disposal? Quite a lot, as I found on a recent visit to the outskirts of this city in southern India. Editors note: This...

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