Last night’s event: Short Talks, Big Ideas


The presentations at last night’s event, Short Talks, Big Ideas: Transportation at the Tech Frontier, were extremely successful- informative, thought-provoking, and even charming. A range of thinkers, ideas and projects showed the audience new ways to consider the present and future of getting around. Here are some takeaways from the presentations:

When thinking about transportation, consider: what is the purpose of travel? What are the best tools people can use for navigation? Andrew Mondscheim (of NYU Rudin) showed that when people have mobile phones, they walk further from home. Sophia Choi (of NYC DOT) is exploring taxi ride patterns through GPS data, and told us that 13 million taxi trips are taken every month. John Geraci (of faberNovel) explored tools for getting around cities, and what we can expect from future navigation tools, while Elizabeth Paul unveiled MTA‘s plans for a future fare payment system that will one day work in cities across the globe.

Don’t overestimate the power of the grid. Communications infrastructure needs better buildouts and policy revisions to account for the increased data requirements of smartphones, tablets and other devices, according to Anthony Townsend (of NYU Rudin and Institute for the Future).

Disruption can be unifying, as shown by Mark Krawczuk (of WeMakeCoolSh.it) in his L Train Notwork project, in which he connected passengers in the morning rush hour.

Thank the people doing the thankless task of getting us around, reminded Lizzy Showman and Kathleen Fitzgerald (of School of Visual Arts) in their IHeartM15 project, in which they gave seat pillows to M15 drivers.

The future is promising if we maintain the increase of collaboration in city planning, involving communities in transportation decisions and share information between neighbors, noted Frank Hebbert of OpenPlans.

Hopefully all attendees came away with new ideas and insights about the future of transportation. Feel free to leave comments below.

For those of you unable to attend the event, presentations will be posted shortly.

We’ll be doing another Short Talks, Big Ideas event in September; feel free to suggest speakers or themes in the comments section below.

And please join us on May 1 for our next event, Technology and Urban Mobility: Perspectives from the Front Lines. Thanks to City College’s University Transportation Research Center for their sponsorship of both events.

Here are some photos of the event:

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