Sidewalk Labs, the smart city spinoff from Alphabet, just announced plans to partner with a leading non-profit to develop and refine new solutions for local transportation issues. The organization’s new partnership with Transportation for America (T4A) will focus on the development of “connected streets,” according to a press release, with the goal of creating connected roadways and other transportation hubs that can lead to more efficient, multimodal transportation and data-driven decision making.
“By drawing on Transportation for America’s long experience working within local communities, we can focus the conversation on cities’ goals and break down the divide between technologists and city leaders,” said Anand Babu, COO of Sidewalk Labs, in a statement. “And as a result, we’ll build a network where best practices and ideas for solving these problems through emerging technologies can be shared among cities across the country.”
Sidewalks Labs will provide its technical expertise around high-tech infrastructure (the company is already involved in the consortium working to build a network of free wifi hubs in New York City), while T4A will conduct an in-depth study on current transportation policy, and assemble city leaders to help define and conceive of a model “connected street” for urban areas across the country.
“Too often there's a disconnect between tech interventions and transportation outcomes,” said Babu. “We've seen cities embrace a more holistic approach in our collaboration with the U.S. DOT Smart City Challenge, but it’s important to broaden that discussion to all the other cities looking for better tools to improve mobility.”
This has been a busy year for SIdewalk Labs and transportation technology (as well as chatter that the company is considering plans to build its own miniature city). This announcement comes on the heels of Sidewalk Labs’s plans to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new transportation coordination platform called Flow, which will be provided to the winning city in the DOT’s Smart Cities Challenge at no cost.