Connecting state and local government leaders
“Too often there's a disconnect between tech interventions and transportation outcomes,” says Sidewalk Labs COO Anand Babu.
A subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., New York City-based Sidewalk Labs focuses on designing technology to solve urban challenges tied to areas like transportation, energy and housing. Transportation for America is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders, known for working with state and local governments on transportation policy issues.
The two organizations plan to conduct outreach with over 70 cities through the partnership.
“Working with Sidewalk Labs, we can help local leaders learn about the possibilities presented by emerging technologies, but also help first codify what they want to achieve in terms of transportation equity, reliability, and access, so the technology can be put to best use,” James Corless, Transportation for America’s director, said in a statement.
Anand Babu, Sidewalk Labs’ chief operating officer, voiced a similar outlook on the new collaboration between the two groups.
“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,” he said in a statement. Babu also said: “Too often there's a disconnect between tech interventions and transportation outcomes.”
A central topic for the partnership as it moves forward is expected to be “connected streets,” a broad term that encompasses technologies such as sensors for infrastructure and vehicles, designed to help improve safety and efficiency on roadways.
Details surfaced in April about Sidewalk Labs exploring the possibility of building-out a futuristic city district, which could act as a testbed for new infrastructure technology.
Bill Lucia is a Reporter for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.