Last night’s Short Talks, Big Ideas event presented to a sold-out crowd, showcased the best in transportation innovation for nearly every NYC mode. The impressive speaker lineup was:
-Noel Hidalgo, Code for America, showcased the work of bike data hackers at Bike Hack nights. - Lois Goldman, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, discussed pedestrian safety measures in Newark, including a crash stat map and a planned demonstration of what various car speeds can do to a 10 year-old crash test dummy. - Emily Gallo, Taxi & Limousine Commission, showed off the new lime green Boro Taxis and taught us that 97% of yellow taxi pickups are in Manhattan or at the airports. - Kevin Ortiz, MTA, gave a behind-the-scenes look at wireless connectivity in the subways, and assured us it will be completely installed by 2017. - Eric Goldwyn, Columbia University, shared his research on NYC dollar vans, which carry 125,000 passengers a day, making them the 20th largest bus system in the U.S. -Gary Roth, MTA NYC Transit, made the case for bus security cameras, and showed how they work to show false injury claims. - Robin Lester Kenton, NYC DOT, showed the power of Instagram photography for infrastructure, with special before/after shots of DOT-enhanced roadways. Follow NYC DOT on Instagram here. - Randy Gregory II showed off his 100 Ideas for the Subway, some of the recommendations from his popular blog.
The event was moderated by Sarah Kaufman, Research Associate at the NYU Rudin Center, who is always looking for new presenters. Contact her at sarahkaufman /at/ nyu /dot/ edu if you’d like to speak in Spring 2014.
See below for some photos and check out #BigIdeas13 for tweets around the event.
Sarah Kaufman of the NYU Rudin Center opens the event
Noel Hidalgo, Code for America, shared the results of Bike Hack nights
Lois Goldman of NJTPA discussed pedestrian safety measures in Newark
Emily Gallo, NYC TLC, explained the process of deploying Boro Taxis
Kevin Ortiz, of MTA, discussed the deployment of wireless access in the subway
Eric Goldwyn, of Columbia University, discussed the use of dollar vans in NYC
Gary Roth of MTA New York City Transit described the bus security camera project
Robin Lester Kenton, NYC DOT, explored the importance of Instagram for infrastructure
Randy Gregory II, of the School of Visual Arts, showcased his 100 Ideas for Improving the Subway
At last night’s gala of the Women’s Transportation Seminar, NYU Rudin Center Director Mitchell Moss introduced Helena Williams, President of MTA Long Island Rail Road, and WTS Woman of the Year. He discussed the importance of women in transportation, from the true architect of the Brooklyn Bridge (Emily Warren Roebling), to the fact that it took LIRR 179 years to find someone as great as Helena, the first woman to run it. When the MTA was founded 48 years ago, Professor Moss said, the goal was to make the Long Island Rail Road the best railroad in the country, “and Helena is the one to make that come true.”
Congratulations to Helena Williams!
Mitchell Moss discusses the importance of women in transportation and honors Helena Williams
Helena Williams, MTA LIRR President, accepts the WTS award for Woman of the Year
Please join the NYU Rudin Center on the evening of November 4th for our next edition of Short Talks, Big Ideas, showcasing innovative work and ideas at the frontier of transportation innovation. Free registration is now open: http://wagner.nyu.edu/events/rudin-11-04-2013
We’ll cover streets, bikes, transit, dollar vans, data, wi-fi, photography, and more. #BigIdeas13
Also, we’re co-hosting the November 19th event “Closing the Enforcement Gap to Save Lives on NYC Streets” with Transportation Alternatives. Register here:
The discussion highlighted how transportation providers were able to find innovative solutions to implement BRT under the unique context of the New York City metropolitan region, where street widths, curbside usage, land use characteristics, and competing transit options often pose challenges for developing a BRT system similar to those built in Latin America and Asia. The panel’s speakers highlighted how implementation of Select Bus Service in New York City and bus rapid transit in high-volume, medium-density, and suburban settings in New Jersey have succeed in reducing travel times, improving level-of-service, and attracting new riders by adapting BRT characteristics to better fit the context of the corridors and communities they serve.
Due to a number of last-minute scheduling conflicts, the April 10 NYU Rudin Center symposium on ”Climate-Proofing Connectivity: The Future of New York’s Links to the Northeast Corridor” will be postponed to a new date later this year. We will update you when a new schedule is confirmed.
Thanks for your interest in this important issue.
Please join us at one of our other two events for next week on BRT and Innovation.
POSTPONED UNTIL FALL April 10th: Climate-Proofing Connectivity: The Future of New York’s Links to the Northeast Corridor – This symposium will convene experts on climate change, next-generation aviation, and high-speed rail planning to explore how New York’s external transportation connections can adapt to climate change in the coming decades to provide secure, resilient and sustainable economic lifelines in the face of an uncertain future.
April 20th: Rethinking Regulation Design Challenge – This challenge is about bringing stakeholders to the table to develop innovative, realistic, and implementable solutions to help address the problems government regulators face when monitoring illegal apartment conversions in NYC, and non-compliant “Chinatown” motorcoach companies. (with NYU Wagner and OpenPlans)
All events are free and open to the public. Click on the event titles to register. See you in April!
Polly Trottenberg, Under Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, visited with the NYU Rudin Center and Wagner students, faculty, transportation professionals, and representatives of the media last week to discuss timely issues in federal transportation policy. Her talk focused on financing transportation, the successes of the TIGER grant program, and the increasing role of technology and data in government.
She also addressed how the Sequester will impact USDOT. Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) composes about 75% of the USDOT’s budget, they will bear the burden of the spending cuts. Airports with less traffic may lose their funding. There will also likely be impacts to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) budget, but about half of USDOT will be unaffected.
Ms. Trottenberg also highlighted the increasing difficulty of financing transportation as the gas tax no longer covers the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs. She pointed to tools such as gas sales taxes and Vehicles Miles Traveled (VMT) taxes, and emphasized tolling of highways as a potential significant revenue source. She acknowledged that while federal transportation law prevents the tolling of existing road capacity, state law and legislators have also failed to initiate policies that would change this limitation, which creates a political block on a potential new revenue source for transportation. In general, she said, she believes that state transportation policy must be pushed in a more progressive direction.
Many in the room were happy to hear Ms. Trottenberg’s support for more open data and advanced technology use at the federal government. She said that USDOT should tap into the resources of the private sector to better understand and analyze transportation issues throughout the country. She pointed to a moment when her staff was on the phone with Google employees in Stuttgart, Germany, when the USDOT staff asked about the reliability of real-time traffic data. After a pause of a few seconds, the Google employees responded, “well it’s not like it’s more than 60 seconds off,” a response met with laughter by USDOT staff considering that to be, of course, extremely reliable. The story was also received with laughter during our discussion, and the audience appreciated the example for government’s need to tap into existing technological resources.
Rudin Research Associate Sarah Kaufman spoke at yesterday’s Transportation Equity Conference in Albany to discuss the role of smart transportation in environmental sustainability. The topic is more complex than it seems: as driving becomes easier with tools like autonomous cars, traffic sensing and self-aware parking spots, how can we continue to reduce car use, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions? In the United States, commutes are growing ever-longer, as the NYU Rudin Center showed with our Super-Commuter report last year: fast-growing numbers of Americans are traveling more than 90 minutes or 90 miles each way, usually by car.
We can use technology to make transit more enticing:
- Open data lets travelers see schedules before they reach a station
- Advanced fare payment systems, like MBTA’s mobile payments, make it easy to board even when the right fare is unavailable
- Walkability measures, like those provided by Walkscore, allow us to choose our housing locations by the ability to run errands on foot or use transit for a commute, saving money and waistlines.
These are just some basic tools to make transit a more pleasurable and efficient experience (several, like augmented reality, are on the horizon, and will shift our mobility patterns even further). For environmental and economic needs, these foundational technologies must be in place to bring riders over to transit and mitigate automobile dependence.
The event also featured community announcements by NYU Wagner students promoting an upcoming design challenge surrounding Chinatown Bus regulations, Frank Hebbert of OpenPlans showcasing the IfWeKnew tool, and the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA previewing its upcoming report on data visualizations.
The group also discussed its wishlist for future data sets and projects, which will be posted on the group’s site shortly.
Hope to see you at the next event!
Frank Hebbert of Open Plans presents the If We Knew tool at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Neil Freeman presents NYC DOT data at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Tina Spaic and Liz Buck of NYU Wagner announce their forthcoming Design Challenge at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Sarah Kaufman welcomes attendees to the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Ellyn Shannon of the PCAC discusses her forthcoming report at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Mike Frumin of MTA presents the Bus Time API at the NY Open Transportation Meetup