Technology companies are increasingly capturing more knowledge about city traffic patterns - and additionally generating more planned solutions to them - than many of the planning officials trying to solve the problem.
When Google's city-focused innovation sidekick company, Sidewalk Labs, launched in 2015, there was mass interest and pandemonium across the world, but few specifics were known about the goals or operations of this new company. Its founders said that it would "pursue technologies to cut pollution, curb energy use, streamline transportation, and reduce the cost of city living."We soon discovered that Sidewalk Labs was founded with the same vision for innovation as Google, and with the aim of improving city living - no doubt, given the strength of their technology, they will - but before it can draw up the ideas or slate the plans, in true Google style, the company decided it needed more than a simulation - it needed a real place to test them.
Rather than relying on projections, the Google spinoff is taking a more practical but equally ambitious and bold approach — it wants to build its own city in the United States. The Information recently stated that Sidewalk Labs is going forward with "Project Sidewalk," which is a project representing a plan to create a district in which it can begin to trial self-driving cars, Wi-Fi solutions, new public transport, and other city planning advances that modern technology make possible.
Sidewalk Labs led the acquisition of Control Group and Titan forming a subsidiary called Intersection. As the largest municipal media company in the U.S., Intersection cooperates with city governments to design media platforms that deliver assets and serve the needs of advertising giants.
The first product is LinkNYC, which is turning more than 7000 old public pay phones into kiosks providing free Wi-Fi, video and voice calling, and access to emergency and other city services across New York City; 'Links' are currently being installed across NYC. But of course, one city isn't big enough for Google - Intersection is now exploring further opportunities to bring Link to other cities.
The US Federal Department of Transportation announced a partnership with Sidewalk Labs that aims to funnel transit data to city representatives to make traffic more bearable and pinpointing innovative, smarter ways of moving people and goods in urban areas.
The announcement is part of an continuing “Smart City” competition in which the Transportation Department is offering $40 million in grant money for cities in the hope of enticing them to use more technology. As part of the deal, Sidewalk will reportedly work with seven finalists to develop a traffic management system that will be one of the company’s core software products.