Category Archives: smart cities

What We’re Reading This Week

This week, the Rudin Center discussed transportation options at the urban periphery as part of the Van Alen Institue’s fall festival Periphery! At this event, Sarah Kaufman, the Rudin Center’s assistant director for technology programming announced the Rudin Center’s latest project, “Intelligent Paratransit,” funded by a grant from TransitCenter. You can read a re-cap of the event, along with a synopses of the presentations, here. In addition, on Thursday morning, we welcomed “Gridlock Sam,” for a discussion of his book “Street Smart.” In addition to his book, this week we’re reading about:

Event: “Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars?” with Sam Schwartz

Thursday, November 12th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
The Puck Building, The Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue
295 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012-9604

Join us to hear Sam, aka Gridlock Sam, Schwartz talk about his new book Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and The Fall of Cars. You’ll be taken on a journey from Ebett’s Field in the 1950’s to Barclays Center today and discover how the ways we get around shape the places we live.

Register here.

“A readable and provocative book making the convincing claim that the best city is one in which people can move around easily.” —Kirkus Reviews

What We’re Reading This Week

Today we host the first session of our Emerging Leaders in Transportation program at NYU Wagner; we’re very excited to welcome this year’s fellows and thankful for the participation of today’s guest speakers Mary K. Murphy (North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority), Daniel Baer (Parsons Brinckerhoff), and William Carry (NYCDOT).

Transportation leadership goes hand-in-hand with keeping up on current news, so here’s our weekly round-up:

And, just for fun:
These images show how far self-driving cars have come in a few short years

Coming up:
Tuesday, October 27, 2015- “THE SUBWAY MAP: THE LAST 50 YEARS, THE NEXT 50 YEARS” at The Cooper Union.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015- LEARNING FROM LONDON at NYU Wagner.
Monday, November 9, 2015- PERIPHERAL PROPOSALS : MODELS FOR COMMUTING FROM THE MARGINS at the Van Alen Institute.

See you there: “The Subway Map: The Last 50 Years, The Next 50 Years”

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 will mark the 111th anniversary of the opening of the New York City subway on October 27, 1904. After 111 years, the Rudin Center will join with historians and designers at The Cooper Union for a public symposium discussing the evolution of New York City’s subway map. Admission is free, please RSVP here.


  • R. Raleigh D’Adamo, whose innovative map for the Transit Authority (TA) led the TA to jettison their long-standing three-colour mapping scheme, and to adopt a scheme in which each route is colour-coded. The same concept is still used today.
  • John Tauranac, who led the 1970s committee that created the quasi-geographic subway map that has lasted (with some changes, additions and deletions) for 35 years.
  • Peter B Lloyd, historian of the subway map and author of Vignelli: Transit Maps (RIT Press, 2012).
  • Eddie Jabbour, principal of Kick Design, a branding agency. With his son Dan, he designed the KickMap transit app, which has had more than a million downloads and has been featured in several books on information design and mapping.
  • Joe Brennan, renowned for his scholarship on the subway, who has for twenty years been maintaining a subway map that has garnered much praise.
  • Sarah M. Kaufman, Assistant Director for the Technology Programming at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation. She formerly worked at the MTA, where she led the Open Data program and created a conference and online exchange between the MTA and software developers. That program provides the foundation for the many subway map apps for mobile devices that are now on the market.
  • For more information and an event program, please click here.

    Image (c) Reka Komoli & Raleigh D’Adamo.

    New report: Making Sense of the New Urban Science

    Dr. Anthony Townsend, Senior Researcher at the NYU Rudin Center, has released a new report, “Making Sense of the New Urban Science.”

    He writes, “The world’s leading universities have embarked on a building boom for urban research. What does it mean for the future of cities?”

    “If present trends continue, by 2030, new urban science institutions could connect thousands of researchers and students, and represent more than $2.5 billion in current and future investment.”

    Click here to read the report. (pdf)

    Timeline of New Urban Science Institutions  from "Making Sense of the New Urban Science."
    Timeline of New Urban Science Institutions from “Making Sense of the New Urban Science.”

    What We’re Reading This Week

    What we’ve read online this week:

    • The importance of building Hudson River rail tunnels (Link)
    • Microtransit: A combination of public transit and Uber (Link)
    • New traffic signals for cyclists in London (Link)
    • An app to make parking less painful (Link)
    • Planning for the good and bad of electric tricycles in the Philippines (Link)
    • Our report on Citi Bike, and its low female ridership, was featured in The New York Times(Link)
    • The report was also highlighted in a Pix11 report; here’s the video:

    Photo Above By: Sean Batten                                                                              Post By: Sean Lewin

    Event: The Future of the Streetscape

    Please join the NYU Rudin Center and the Van Alen Institute on June 11 for an evening of discussion:

    How will the streetscape look and function in 20, 50, and 100 years?

    The urban streetscape is facing increasing demands for space from a variety of users – pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, a spike in deliveries to homes and offices, food trucks, mobile commercial spaces, and more – without recalibrating the permitting or design. Join us for a series of presentations that ask urban planners, designers, architects, and others: What is the street of the future? We’ll review new visions for pleasant, productive streetscapes that balance the needs of transportation infrastructure, commercial activity, and residents young and old.

    Sarah Kaufman, Digital Manager, and Anthony Townsend, Senior Research Scientist, will present at the event on behalf of the Rudin Center, along with esteemed professionals from throughout the transportation and tech fields.

    Tickets and more information are available here:

    Students: Please email the Rudin Center for discounted tickets.

    Image above via Flickr user Mel Schmidt


    Big Data, Big Picture

    Next City talks to two of our researchers, Anthony Townsend and Sarah Kaufman, about patterns in big data and challenges cities face in using it. And they ask, would you share your private data for the good of city planning planning? Well, would you?

    “As the data accumulates, these traffic schemas acquire a third dimension: They show a city changing not just from day to night, but from year to year.

    They show a city changing not just from day to night, but from year to year. Using cellphone data, for example, “you can really see the story of how a metropolitan area has evolved, over the last decade,” says Anthony Townsend, the author of Smart Cities.

    Many of these ideas are hypothetical, for the moment, because so-called “granular” data is so hard to come by…Corporate entities, like Uber’s pending data offering to Boston, don’t always meet researchers’ standards. “It’s going to be a lot of superficial data, and it’s not clear how usable it’ll be at this point,” explains Sarah Kaufman.”

    A Discussion on the Future of Digital Technology and Urban Mobility

    On December 3, the Rudin Center held an event on “Re-Programming Mobility: What Do Smart Phones and Self-Driving Cars Mean for Future Cities?” which explored four forecasts of mobility, land use and transportation planning in U.S. metropolitan areas in 2030. A presentation of the Rudin Center’s recent report on digital innovation and transportation was presented by Senior Research Scientist Anthony Townsend, followed by commentary and insight from four invited panelists:

    • Robin Chase, Buzzcar
    • Stacey Hodge, New York City Department of Transportation
    • Greg Lindsay, Visiting Scholar, NYU Rudin Center
    • Benjamin De La Peña, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

    A full run-down of the event can be found at NYU News.

    Photos by Emily Rhodes and Jorge Hernandez

    New Report: Re-Programming Mobility

    Anthony Townsend’s new report on the future of transportation:

    “With generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management has developed a set of four alternative future scenarios set in a selection of representative U.S. metropolitan areas in 2030. Based on our synthesis of current and anticipated technological innovations and expert speculation on their impacts from over 150 source documents, these scenarios highlight:

    • likely and possible shifts in the market for mobility, public financing schemes, and the overall structure and function of the U.S. transportation system at a metropolitan level,
    • the kinds of organizational changes that transportation regulators, funding agencies, and public planning institutions need to begin preparing for now, and
    • the kinds of skills and practices that might be required of transportation planners in the future.”

    Read more on the project website.