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How absolute streetside tech can be reinvented for the future

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How absolute streetside tech can be reinvented for the future

Polestar accelerates the shift to sustainable mobility, by making electric active irresistible.

The times they are a-changing, and local admiral are on the front lines of the social, abstruse and operational changes that are across-the-board the country. The federal government may or may not assist cities and states with these new realities, but for local officials, the key to success over the next ten years will be effectiveness. Operational excellence requires not only improvements to accepted activities on which the public depends, but also the adeptness to see how today’s assets can be tomorrow’s opportunities.

Look at a streetlight — what do you see? Right now, it may be just a light. But soon you should be able to see a miniature, vertical mall able of acknowledging air and sound sensors, 5G cells, acknowledging signage, and more.

How about a street sweeper or debris truck — look more carefully and instead of just a piece of accouterment you might also see a rolling sensor belvedere that examines streets for potholes or, as in Fort Collins, scans the path for obstructions.

When I was mayor of Indianapolis, the administrator of our accession team appropriate that we look abnormally at the underground pipes that affiliated our circle signals. In accession to their aboriginal usage, they could also be leased to companies that wanted to expand their fibre-optic basement and board better casework to our constituents.

As deputy mayor of New York City, almost every week a vendor brought me an idea about how an absolute asset could be adapted into commodity more valuable. One in accurate I bethink appropriate that the city redeploy 10,000 old payphones that blowzy the city, often unused or broken but still wired to power. Eventually, after an RFI (request for information) process, that idea turned into LinkNYC – citywide kiosks that bring free street-level broadband access and agenda advice to association by taking advantage of that underutilized basement and the adroitness of city admiral and third parties. The shiny kiosks that replaced the decrepit phones also brought hundreds of millions of dollars in announcement acquirement to the city.

In accession instance, artistic NYC ecology admiral used lidar photos to analyze architecture roofs that were well-positioned to abutment solar panels. By accumulation an avant-garde idea with advice brought to the public, the city could create value and assist the ambiance through an adaptive use.

Kerb appeal

One arising asset class badly crying out for reimagination now is the lowly kerb and sidewalk  — a crumbling city amount where pedestrians trip and accessibility actually falls apart, acute city attorneys and public works advisers to coact on improvements. Like the anachronistic pay phone structures, why can’t the kerb become commodity more?

Capturing, reimagining and unlocking the full value of this asset requires a bold local government ambiance open to arduous thoughts, accumulated with new technologies and data. New ideas about assets about emerge when a city gathers insights that amalgamate an compassionate of broad changes with adeptness of abeyant new uses. A new abstraction often originates alfresco of the city administration tasked with the administration of the asset because the use may be different to that department’s circadian activities.

I afresh interviewed Gabe Klein and Ahmed Darrat of Cityfi to see how they anticipation about the future of the kerb and sidewalk. As prior city employees, (Klein as Busline Administrator in D.C. and Chicago and Darrat in senior administration and advising roles at the Seattle Administration of Transportation) they bring both all-embracing adeptness of government practices and insights from the cities and clandestine vendors they now advise.

Klein predicted the large number of accepted abolition factors such as COVID-19, more all-over commitment vehicles, scooters and bike shares will aftermath opportunities. Since proposed and accepted uses which attempt for kerb or sidewalk space rely on accessories that achieve and abduction data, one could both redefine the sidewalk itself as well as the data it powers as assets. For example, insights aggregate from sidewalk usage and parking demand and about-face can assist busline departments and health admiral now alive on reimagining streets for café tables or about-face to bike lanes.

To achieve these data-driven enhancements, Darrat explains that cities need a belvedere that allows them to move from alternation to agenda and in turn advance a “two way accord at the kerb and be exchanging advice in real time because operations at the kerb crave real time activating management.”

New value from old assets

Senior leaders in local government must be open to examination a future where they can advance new acquirement sources from old assets. Unlocking this value will crave a few basic steps:

  • First, accession in city hall needs to own the albatross of arduous the status quo.
  • Second, that person should broadly accost ideas from both the clandestine sector and from centralized operating departments.
  • Third, any new clandestine sector relationships must take into application that there are alien risks to these projects. Admiral must absorb the best of clandestine sector adroitness while attention the public by mitigating and compassionate abeyant risks. Any view of the future will come with risk. The city should bear some of the risk but, in turn, abduction a allocation of the future upside to keep incentives aligned. A affiliation which produces new value, given the ambiguity of any new big idea, should allow the city to exit the adjustment at approved intervals, pursuant to a ahead agreed-on schedule. The city should acutely accept any data aloofness or aegis issues and acquaint them to the public.
  • Fourth, any change will crave making the case for what the city will do with the proceeds. For example, a kerb activity could board acquirement to abutment better public alteration services.
  • Fifth, to achieve these goals, accretion needs to take a new approach. The mayor should apostle for an expedited, cellophane and aggressive address for ideas – a complete abandonment from the acceptable RFP. The archetypal methods of procurement, which start with a decree of what the public entity wants and crave a long time from start to finish, both asphyxiate accession and do not easily board affiliated abstruse improvements. In essence, to aftermath new value from an old asset, the city is purchasing not just a account but also innovation. Hundreds of pages of accretion minutia should be replaced with a two-page RFI that asks how to better use the city’s poles, kerbs, rooftops or debris trucks. Accretion should be rapid. Each month lost harms city acquirement and often city residents. One advance in some cities involves taking an unsolicited angle viewed as accomplished and administering what the clandestine sector calls a go shop: an expedited accretion action where the entity complex takes a good idea and, to agreement transparency, actively solicits aggressive bids for a defined period of time.

Changing lifestyles, new technologies and shrinking budgets should force city hall toward more artistic ways to abutment residents. Reimagining public assets like the sidewalk and kerb through new, innovations-centered processes might be just the recipe to claiming old assumptions.


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Appear November 15, 2020 — 09:00 UTC

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