Why Miami’s Public Works & Transit Department Merger is a Game-Changer
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Miami-Dade County recently announced that the Miami –Dade Public Works Department and Miami-Dade Transit Department merged into one new department: The Department of Public Works and Transportation. (DTPW). This bold move by County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is a game-changer for Miami as it transitions to the innovation economy for the following reasons:
One procurement process between two major departments in Smart-Cities development makes it easier for entrepreneurs to build solutions.
In developing Smart-Cities solutions to mitigate inequity in the innovation economy, the single procurement allows for solutions to address both transportation and public works problems in a unified way- allowing for a holistic approach to the development of Smart-Cities technology. One contract between multiple groups spearheads the civic technology ecosystem and ends the current gaps between departments and the private sector.
The door is wide open for Smart Cities, ioT, and other disruptive solutions.
New technologies do not have to create siloed solutions for separate departments and worry about integrating with unknown vendors. Reducing the number of vendors needed to contract for each piece of technology creates an infrastructure that produces a better citizen experience and opens the door for entrepreneurs to create solutions that can actually have impact. Internally, IT departments have a more centralized operation.
We will actually solve the mobility issue.
Transit is now Public Works and Transportation. This semantic change is important. The urban mobility issue is not just about new trains or focusing on one transit platform. The change promotes multi-modal transportation solutions, resilient urban planning and eliminating inequality on a holistic level: urban mobility is an economic issue, tied to more than just one mode of transportation.
Climate change is being addressed.
By taking two separate departments and merging them into one, the government can now more quickly and easily fund solutions that will help them better understand their operations, leading to data-driven, cost saving and environmentally friendly alterations to public transportation routes, frequencies, traffic flow/management, garbage pickup, water and waste management, and emergency services. Smarter city management and planning reduces carbon emissions. Furthermore, reducing the barriers for entrepreneurs to innovate helps our environment in the long run by strengthening private public partnerships to address problems holistically in less time.
Overall, the merger between Public Works and Transit into Public Works and Transportation is a small move with big game-changing impact for Miami-Dade County’s future as a smart, equitable, and resilient economy.
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This article was originally published on September 8, 2020.
Update for April 20, 2021:
After the murder of George Floyd we wrote this article as a kind of blueprint, a beginning to a new way of working with equitable resilience in our cities and beyond. Now, as the trial of Derek Chauvin comes to a guilty verdict in Minneapolis and the whole country reflects on the legacy of that verdict, we have to remember another senseless murder – another young Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of law enforcement, just miles from the courthouse. Again, Minneapolis is all of us. We have protested, we have voted. We stood up, we spoke out, we have raged about the anti-Black racism. We have seen people come together, we can feel a shift in this country. But there is so much more to do. No equity, no resilience.
-Ron & Stewart
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