Integrating Formal and Informal Transportation Services into a Hybrid Network

Featuring Roger Behrens

Meeting of the Minds talked with Roger Behrens about planning for hybrid urban transportation systems that include both formal and informal transit services. Roger is an Associate Professor in the University of Cape Town’s Department of Civil Engineering. He is Director of the Centre for Transport Studies, and of the African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport (ACET). He graduated with a Master Degree in City and Regional Planning from UCT in 1991, and with a PhD degree in 2002. His current research activities relate to: the integration and improvement of paratransit services; the dynamics and pace of changing travel behavior; the use of transport systems by pedestrians; and the urban form prerequisites for viable public transport networks. 

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Bus Stops and the Future of Digital Placemaking

As two officials of a distressed public agency facing down the consequences of a long history of underinvestment, we are acutely sensitive to the need to get things done on a budget. We are also technologists, which brings us to the idea and potential of digital placemaking for mobility infrastructure: the repurposing of web, mobile and other software and hardware tools to bring new value to the places around the physical nodes and artifacts of the transit system.

Digital tools are often limited to a public engagement role in placemaking. We believe that they can play an important role in transit agency efforts to make its physical infrastructure work better for people.

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Local Climate Action Starts with Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a place where climate action, business interests, and political will have the potential to intersect. Infrastructure investment tends to be a bipartisan, business-friendly policy, in large part because the need is so great. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the United States will need to spend $3.6 trillion between 2010 and 2020 to simply maintain our current transportation, water, and energy infrastructure. Yet there is an estimated funding shortfall of $1.6 trillion, or approximately 45% of the total requirement. In the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Infrastructure Report card, most infrastructure categories received a D+, with only one category, solid waste infrastructure, receiving a B- or higher.

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What Does Equity Have To Do With Tech?

Unlocking the tech sector’s potential in Chicago (and beyond) means confronting segregation and inequality.

The tech field suffers from a costly cycle of inequity. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that, compared to other private industries, high-tech companies hire a disproportionate number of white people and men—68.5% and 64% of employees, respectively. Meanwhile, the STEM workforce in the U.S. is projected to grow exponentially; already, in job-rich Cook County and DuPage counties, tech jobs grew 14% and 18% between 2009 and mid-2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the city’s tech sector grows, so might inequality—unless more leaders like Sales-Griffin step up with creative interventions. Today in Chicago, just 12% of Latinos and 20% of African-Americans have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 44% of whites. The diversity talent gap threatens the tech sector’s vitality.

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Smart Cities and the Weather

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.

Three Principles of Sustainable Business

Three Principles of Sustainable Business

Over the past 15 years working in the sustainability industry I have witnessed many businesses sacrifice environmental goals to uphold quality and profit. Although sustainable resources and green technologies abound, increasing return on investment while achieving and...

A Water-Secure Future for Cities

A Water-Secure Future for Cities

By 2030, 5 billion people will be living in urban areas with hundreds of millions living in one of the world’s 41 mega-cities, up from 28 today. At the same time, global demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by 40%. As such, cities around the world are at...

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Urban Innovator of the Week: Gabriel Mandujano

This profile was originally published by Urban Innovation Exchange in partnership with Meeting of the Minds and Kresge Foundation. For more stories of people changing cities, visit UIXCities.com and follow @UIXCities. Gabriel Mandujano is the founder and CEO of Wash...

Urban Innovator of the Week: Adele London

This profile was originally published by Urban Innovation Exchange in partnership with Meeting of the Minds and Kresge Foundation. For more stories of people changing cities, visit UIXCities.com and follow @UIXCities. When Adele London was interviewed for the job at...

Fostering a 21st Century Water System

The state’s water supply and our current drought are the most important environmental issues to a majority of Californians according to a new PPIC study. In order to address this critical issue, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group explored whether the innovative...

Creating a Smart, Resilient Water Future

Today, cities are confronted with a unique challenge: they face budget constraints and aging infrastructure, yet increasing customer expectations. In addition, cities must often deal with the impacts of urbanization, climate change, and an aging workforce. To meet...

Urban Innovator of the Week: Isis Ferguson

Isis Ferguson, Associate Director of City + Community Strategy for Place Lab, admits with a laugh it can be difficult to clearly define the work they do. A partnership between UChicago Arts and the Harris School of Public Policy, Place Lab serves as "a catalyst for...

Meeting of the Minds is made possible by the generous support of these organizations.

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