OVERCOMING FINANCIAL CHALLENGES TO SUSTAIN STREET DATA INITIATIVES
Numina is a startup founded in 2014 with the mission of empowering cities with data to become more responsive and equitable. Numina offers the only computer vision sensor solution purpose-built for streets—quantifying the granular behaviors of pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles anonymously and in aggregate—and has deployed its technology in 25 cities globally. Numina enlisted a Capstone team to better understand the financing dimension of street data initiatives and to identify potential solutions to sustainability challenges. The team analyzed city spending and current street data procurement practices, determined cost-sharing opportunities with other end users, and identified factors that affect city decisions to open or sell data. The team interviewed city transportation department officials and conducted a document review of city budgets and contracts with data vendors. The team analyzed its findings to identify pathways forward to facilitate equitable cost-sharing mechanisms for street data investments.
DETERMINING THE REAL COST OF HOMELESSNESS
The Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY) promotes supportive housing development by providing policy analysis, advocacy, and assistance to organizations managing supportive housing units across the state. With advocacy being central to SHNNY’s work in securing funding at the local, state, and federal levels, the organization enlisted a Capstone team to help determine costs associated with homelessness. The team calculated the real per-day costs of different settings and contexts that homeless individuals engage with in the absence of supportive housing. The team consulted with various experts in the field and reviewed a variety of prior research, financial reports, and local government budgets to create a series of cost estimates in five New York cities: Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, and Syracuse. The team’s findings and estimates illustrate the high cost of a lack of investment in permanent supportive housing and inform SHNNY’s future engagement with policymakers, media, other stakeholders, and the general public.
USING PUBLIC DATA TO OPTIMIZE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE HD MAPPING
CARMERA is an autonomous vehicle (AV) high-definition (HD) mapping company that specializes in roadway change management. It is critical for public safety that HD maps have granular and up-to-date information on road features to anticipate the road ahead. CARMERA enlisted a Capstone team to review data sharing policies at the federal, state, and city levels and help identify connections between roadway changes collected by cities and private AV firms. The team utilized a spatial regression model to examine whether public datasets can help predict the observed roadway changes from CARMERA’s pilot program in San Francisco. Its preliminary findings indicate an opportunity for the optimization of private company data gathering based on public datasets. The team produced a final report detailing ways to use public data to inform policies and recommendations for cities and private AV firms with the shared goal of coordinated and efficient capture of roadway changes on HD maps.
EQUITY THROUGH URBAN DESIGN AND STREETSCAPE INTERVENTIONS IN INWOOD, MANHATTAN
New York Building Congress (NYBC) is a membership association of contractors, architects, engineers, unions, real estate managers, developers, and owners who comprise the building community of New York City. NYBC enlisted a Capstone team to develop policy recommendations for reimagining the public realm of the Broadway artery running through the Inwood neighborhood in northern Manhattan. The team conducted research on existing conditions, designed a community engagement strategy, and delivered a report with recommendations for interventions to create a safe and equitable space for all users. The team’s final report will be utilized by NYBC in its advocacy efforts with policymakers for improving safety and enhancing the quality of life in the neighborhood.
CRAWFORD PARK IMPROVEMENTS
Town of Rye is located in Westchester County and comprises the Villages of Port Chester, Rye Brook, and the Rye Neck section of the Village of Mamaroneck. The Town’s administration commissioned the Capstone team to offer a set of recommendations for the enhancement of Crawford Park as a public and social good to the entire Town of Rye community. To help Crawford Park better serve the Town’s diverse community, the team explored affordability models, inclusive programming, and age-appropriate active and passive uses. Based on feedback collected from community members through digital surveys and focus groups, the team produced a final report outlining recommendations that inform future funding and planning efforts for Crawford Park.
EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF THE NYS EVICTION MORATORIUM ON COVID-19 INFECTIONS
On March 20, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide moratorium on both residential and commercial evictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring people could remain in their homes and not face displacement. The Capstone team examined the effectiveness of the eviction moratorium in mitigating the spread of the virus in NYC by using publicly available data on the city’s evictions and COVID-19 cases. The team conducted difference-in-difference analyses to estimate the impact of the eviction moratorium on COVID-19 cases and the role of New York State’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program and other social safety net initiatives. The initial results showed that the moratorium, post ERAP start date, had significant effects in slowing the rate of new COVID-19 cases, overall hospitalizations, and deaths. The team’s final report details its findings and conclusions, as well as possible policy implications for how local, state, and federal governments can prepare and address future public health crises.