THINK | Digital Infrastructure

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Issue 20



DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE How do we transform data into action?


DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE How do we transform data into action?

THINK is published by the Corporate Communications. Patricia Mosher, vice president, Phyllis Schallenberg, editor, HNTB is a professional firm of engineers, architects and planners providing planning, design, program management and advisory services nationwide. HNTB is an equal opportunity employer M/F/V/H.

Š 2021 HNTB Companies. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

TOPICS This edition of THINK sheds light on the revolutionary changes taking place nationally as agencies strive to optimize their systems and create new services through digital infrastructure.


Creating Digital Infrastructure HNTB shares how digital infrastructure is reshaping the ways in which we envision, create, manage and optimize the physical transportation infrastructure that serves our cities and towns. Agency leaders understand the need to build digital infrastructure — but what does it take and where should they start?


Smart Columbus Advances Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City of Columbus, Ohio, shares how the region is executing its ambitious plan to drive greater social equity through mobility, four years after winning USDOT’s Smart City Challenge.


San Diego’s 5 Big Moves Antoinette Meier, Director of Mobility and Innovation for the San Diego Association of Governments, explains how planning, collaboration and digital strategies are poised to help the region enhance mobility while meeting aggressive environmental goals.

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CREATING DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE The digital revolution in transportation continues to accelerate, transforming how agencies design, operate and optimize their systems. What does it take for agencies to get on board? Across the nation, leaders of transportation agencies face challenges that have a very familiar ring, such as funding constraints, deteriorating infrastructure and transit service gaps. Compounding certain issues is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has compelled agencies to tap into new wells of creativity to keep their systems running safely and efficiently. Emerging in parallel with these challenges, however, is an opportunity that can be hard to grasp, let alone act upon. This opportunity is digital transformation, which in the transportation context means combining traditional steel and concrete systems with data-dependent technology to both resolve many current mobility issues and anticipate and address future challenges as well. You may be familiar with these cited benefits of digital transformation: n Increasing capacity on highways without building new lanes n Reducing traffic accidents and highway and roadway congestion n Preparing for the coming wave of connected and autonomous vehicles n Integrating vehicles, transit, microtransit, rideshare and other modes more seamlessly n Improving mobility options to more neighborhoods and more people n Giving travelers better tools to access information, make decisions and pay for services n Equipping transportation managers to fine-tune their systems for optimal efficiency Any agency would embrace such benefits, but it’s not quite so simple. Every city and region is unique, so their pursuit of digital transformation ranges significantly when you get down to the details. As noted above, many other priorities compete for agencies’ attention and they may have major gaps in their technology capabilities and access to data science expertise. However, regardless of a particular agency’s starting point, we all recognize that the future of transportation will demand a more balanced approach to infrastructure, in which the physical and digital dimensions merge into one, unified solution. 4

THINK Issue 20 | 2021

In southeast Michigan, the birthplace of the automobile industry, a new concept is taking shape that may light the path forward for the future of transportation around the world. Through an innovative public-private partnership, Michigan is now moving forward to create a first-of-its-kind roadway that will help connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) travel safely and seamlessly between two major metro areas while greatly improving mobility for residents in between. To create the Michigan Connected Corridor, the state is working with a major infrastructure finance and development company, automakers Ford, GM, BMW, Toyota and others, and numerous innovators and academic institutions. As envisioned, the 40-mile corridor will connect Ann Arbor and Detroit while incorporating in its path the University of Michigan, Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport, Ford’s Michigan Central Development, and other transportation innovation centers in the region. Additionally, the Corridor will thread its way through multiple Opportunity Zones, expanding economic potential and facilitating job creation throughout the region.

The project aims to ensure that future generations — in the region and far beyond — enjoy the freedom of movement that has always driven human progress. — Jeffrey Jones | Co-Founder & Lead, AV Mobility Corridor Team, Ford Motor Company

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Embracing digital infrastructure At a high level, digital infrastructure involves collecting, analyzing, distributing data to empower agencies and their partners to elevate the performance of a transportation system:

COLLECTION Data is often gathered through physical sensors on or near infrastructure, such as inductive loops, video cameras and other installed units. Data also may come from individuals (e.g., anonymously from their smartphones), connected vehicles, mobility tracking applications, data brokers (such as StreetLight), private transportation providers and other sources. New devices and data sources are coming onto the market every year, so the question facing agencies today is how to allocate their investments among these data sources to ensure they have the right information to meet their specific needs.

ANALYSIS Even with the vast amount of data available, agencies often struggle with how to make such data useful. Data scientists and computational platforms play an essential role in generating meaningful information out of billions of data points. But, it’s up to agency leaders to provide strategic guidance as to how the information should be analyzed and organized to meet specific local or regional mobility objectives. Data is brought together into a vast repository — referred to as a backbone, platform or operating system — which often is made available to a broad group of stakeholders to enable greater collaboration.

DISTRIBUTION The analyzed data is distributed in ways that intend to drive action across all transportation modes, from achieving asset management efficiency to in-the-moment system agility. Information about a major accident or severe congestion on one highway allows a real-time response on adjacent roadways, such as alerts on variable-message signs or allocation of additional travel lanes. Longer term data about transit ridership may drive changes in routes, hours of service or pricing. By accessing data before, during and after decisions, agencies and private companies can fine-tune their operations to increase efficiency, safety and access. Not all transportation technology falls neatly into these three categories, of course. As one example, an emerging concept — edge computing — puts processing, storage and analytics together in one unit, right on the periphery of a highway or rail line. This concept allows for collection, analysis and distribution to happen much more quickly than roadside-to-cloud-andback approaches.


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What’s the best approach? We see many examples of transportation leaders who are building digital infrastructure to address near-term issues while preparing for a future in the growing array of vehicles — from scooters to CAVs to minibuses to platooning trucks that will need to share roadways efficiently and safely. The benefits of such transformation are significant, but agencies may struggle to find the best path forward for their specific city or region. While no two situations are identical, consider these five factors as you envision how to move forward with your digital transformation efforts:



People In 1914, the world’s first electric traffic light was installed on a busy street corner in Cleveland, Ohio, a bold attempt to use technology to tame an unruly swarm of vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Notably, the signal was operated remotely by a police officer in a roadside booth. This symbolizes an enduring truth about innovation: gadgets may grab attention, but it’s the people who drive change. Today’s transportation agencies often do not have the people and skills necessary to drive digital transformation. The information technology units traditionally have focused on buying and maintaining computer systems, rather than creating a knowledge base for what’s coming next. Agencies should use new talent — data analysts, data scientists, chief technology officers — to bridge their capabilities to the next generation of infrastructure.



Planning By having expertise on the team, agencies can be more strategic about how they plan and orchestrate broad-based digital initiatives. The most successful transportation agencies develop long-range plans that include specific plans and budgets for acquiring and integrating digital technology into the anticipated projects and programs. The pace of technological advances make it difficult to predict exactly how an agency will invest in its digital capabilities 10 years hence. But the goal is to make room in the budget for a specific line item — digital infrastructure — and to purposefully map out investments in staff, capabilities and partnerships that will ensure that data and technology are always part of the dialogue regarding transportation strategy and funding priorities.

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THINK Issue 20 | 2021


Policies Most industry discussion focuses on preserving the privacy of individuals, particularly since agencies are counting on collection of billions of data points every hour from the traveling public via smartphones and other sources. The policies for handling such data need to be bulletproof. Mechanisms for ensuring compliance from every partner, and from the technology providers behind those partners are critical. FACTOR 4

Platforms Agency budgets need to accommodate significant investments in digital platforms to support data storage, analysis and distribution. What’s important is to work with outside consultants (or, inside experts, if you have them on staff) to scope out the requirements for a digital platform, from the hardware and software, to types of human and financial resources you’ll need to generate actionable data from that platform. Always keep your eye on the prize: structuring data to create a scalable data architecture that can serve today’s needs while adapting to the future’s unknowns. FACTOR 5

Partnerships The more complete your data set, the greater your ability to optimize the transportation system. This means that no single agency can go it alone. In many cities, various agencies within a transportation department determine real collaboration based on shared mobility goals. Many agencies look to private companies to share their data, which can help agencies improve their service offering. Academic institutions are often eager to become partners in highly innovative initiatives, as well, to bolster their credentials and offer their researchers meaningful projects. In other words, reaching out for partners is not only essential for success, but will also breathe new life into any agency.

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SMART COLUMBUS ADVANCES Four years after winning USDOT’s Smart City Challenge, Columbus continues to take big risks — and adapt quickly — as it executes an ambitious plan to transform mobility for its residents while creating actionable models for cities everywhere. By Mayor Andrew J. Ginther | City of Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio is a thriving city with a racially and economically diverse population, living in urban, suburban and rural communities that stretch across 223 square miles. The city has been on a strong growth path for many decades. In 1975 we had approximately 550,000 people; today, we have more than 920,000 and the region is on track to reach 3 million by 2050. We have several city initiatives that are helping to address equity, health, education, housing, transportation, employment and safety in our communities. Our most ambitious — and one that is being closely viewed across the nation — relates to unleashing the potential of transportation to improve mobility and connection across the city.

Accepting the Challenge At the end of 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced its Smart City Challenge, a grant competition designed to inspire the next generation of mobility solutions for the nation. We called our proposed initiative Smart Columbus, and it brought together a broad regional coalition of committed parties. The ambitious plan we submitted to the USDOT aimed to address challenges across residential and commercial districts of our city by testing transportation innovations such as autonomous vehicles, connected infrastructure, electric vehicle charging and data-driven service and safety improvements. In particular, we intended to show how mobility could create ladders of opportunity for people in every corner of our city. In 2016 we learned Columbus was chosen for these reasons: ɠ Strategy’s alignment with community priorities — We concentrated our smart city technology in Columbus’ Linden neighborhood, where residents have the poorest access to jobs, health care and transportation options. Our plan was designed to directly address the broken connections between these residents and the services and opportunities they need. ɠ Proven ability to build strong coalitions — Our city is known for its ability to mobilize a broad group of stakeholders to get things done. There’s even a name for this quality: The Columbus Way. What’s unique about Columbus is how ingrained our spirit is: the leaders change, the institutions evolve, but the culture endures. It transcends time, project and community leadership. ɠ Limited legacy transit infrastructure — Unlike most of the other cities, Columbus’ public transportation system is not built out beyond our buses. We have no commuter rail lines or other high-capacity transit systems. So we are not faced with trying to rebuild systems that are already in place, but rather have a somewhat clean slate. ɠ Laboratory for the nation — As mentioned above, our status as a proving ground for American innovation made us a logical choice for spearheading this effort. We are committed to testing technologies — and measuring our results carefully — so that our successes can be replicated in communities across the country and, ultimately, around the world. 10

THINK Issue 20 | 2021

Advancing, learning and evolving As Smart Columbus nears the four-year mark in its journey of innovation, we are proud of many important milestones. In mid-2018, for example, we opened the Smart Columbus Experience Center, an interactive showroom for the public to experience first-hand how their city may be transformed through such innovations as connected, electric and selfdriving vehicles as well as other innovations. In 2019, fulfilling our commitment to share what we learn, we released the open-source code for our Smart Columbus Operating System. This system brings together the data collected for all of our projects that fall under our USDOT grant and makes it available to the public and to software developers — so cities everywhere can harness it for their own mobility projects. We’ve made excellent progress in advancing electric vehicle use in the region, which is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We recently surpassed our goal of having at least 3,200 electric vehicles adopted in the City by March 2020, and we are meeting our goal of creating 1,000 charging stations for vehicles in the region by the end of 2020. It’s so critical that these two aspects advance at the same time, because people won’t buy electric vehicles without feeling confident that they can charge them while traveling, and it’s difficult to sustain investments in charging stations unless there are an increasing number of users on the roads. In July 2020 we launched an initiative designed to connect more people with the mobility options they need to access opportunities and services. The Smart Mobility Hubs serve as the physical embodiment of mobility as a service, creating first mile and last mile connections to the city’s first bus rapid transit line that operates on Cleveland Avenue through the heart of the city. Each hub has an interactive kiosk for looking up local information and various mobility options. The hubs also may have bicycles and e-bikes, scooter parking and charging, electric vehicle charging and other offerings, depending on the need. The idea is to make it more seamless and simple to

get places — to and from work, school, health care and other day-to-day destinations. This summer we launched a connectedvehicle experiment that’s aimed at improving public safety. Our city’s Linden section has several dangerous intersections, and this program intends to give us insights into how to reduce accidents and save lives. Right now we are seeking 500 community volunteers who are willing to have connected vehicle devices installed in their vehicles. These devices will give drivers real-time safety alerts so they have more information sent to them from such sources as traffic lights and other vehicles’ devices in order to make more informed decisions. We also plan to install these devices in 500 public vehicles, such as police and emergency vehicles. To further connect the community to this emerging technology, the project is also seeking connected vehicle “technicians in training,” which provides residents an opportunity to learn a new skill and be on the cutting edge of a technology that is expanding locally and nationally. These staffers will be paid to work alongside veteran installers to equip the 500 community volunteer vehicles with the devices.

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Supporting life’s basic need The pandemic has placed additional stress and hardship on community members. One such hardship is food insecurity. Smart Columbus learned that a food pantry in Linden had seen an increase of more than 400% in the number of households relying on it for sustenance. Distributing that food safely to community members was a major challenge. Since social distancing guidelines prevented the shuttle from carrying passengers, we commissioned the Linden LEAP shuttle to transport pre-packaged food through the neighborhood on a predetermined route. The shuttle is self-driving, but had a trained operator on board, and carries food rather than passengers. Families can meet the LEAP shuttle to receive a box of prepackaged, nutritious foods along with facial coverings.

Final thoughts and words of advice Pioneering work is humbling, even when you have good funding, a smart team and a committed group of collaborators. We have learned something about keeping momentum amidst a shifting environment and unforeseen headwinds. Here are three bits of advice for other cities that are attempting to innovate in the mobility arena: Don’t be afraid to take risks Experiment with new transportation technologies and approaches, which are not always going to work perfectly. There are going to be setbacks. So, the goal is to assess risks, learn from failure and empower people to try things a new way. It’s about the collective effort to advance mobility in ways that create greater equity and a higher quality of life. Pivot and adapt The profound effect the pandemic has had on the nation and the people of our city has been devastating on many levels, but we soon realized that we could alleviate some of our most pressing needs while still maintaining our momentum toward the Smart Columbus goals. It required that we adapt our approaches creatively, and that’s what we did. Be wise enough to listen When you’re looking at potential mobility improvements through an equity lens, there is no substitute for meaningfully and thoroughly engaging the community. No one will better understand what’s needed than the people who live in the neighborhoods and who need and want to access those ladders of opportunity. Community engagement takes time to do right, but it can lead to a collaborative outcome that can be celebrated and accepted by all. As we continue to build on our Smart Columbus initiatives, we keep in mind that transportation is about how people access opportunity and how they live. The strategies and technologies we advance are important, but we will measure our success by the number of lives we improve and the ladders of opportunity we create over time for the great people who make Columbus their home.

Andrew J. Ginther was elected the 53rd mayor of Columbus on Nov. 3, 2015, succeeding Mayor Michael B. Coleman who was the longest-serving mayor in Columbus history. Mayor Ginther previously served on Columbus City Council from 2007-2015, and served as president of Council from 2011 until assuming the Office of Mayor January 1, 2016.


THINK Issue 20 | 2021

SAN DIEGO’S 5 BIG MOVES Rapid growth, changing demographics, traffic congestion, and unyielding environmental impact deadlines — these factors are driving a concerted regional initiative that combines creative planning; collaboration; and smart, digitally enabled transportation management. By Antoinette Meier | Director of Mobility and Innovation, San Diego Association of Governments The San Diego region has a well-deserved reputation for being a great place to live, thanks to our beaches and parks, our mountains and open spaces, our diverse communities and people, and our vibrant binational economy. Our great pride in this region, and our desire to protect it, are driving forces behind a far-reaching transformation of our transportation system — one that will offer everyone faster, equitable and cleaner mobility choices. The San Diego Association of Governments is at the forefront of this transformation. Right now, our region’s transportation system is out of balance. Travelers can get to most places at least twice as fast by car as they can by transit. Years of auto-oriented planning and development have created an overreliance on the car and a complex set of socioeconomic, environmental, public health and safety impacts that would be very difficult to address if we were to continue with the status quo. Importantly, many major technological leaps and new diverse private service providers are reshaping the industry. These advancements present opportunities to make public transportation better, but we run the risk of exacerbating our current challenges if we don’t plan proactively for technology by developing policies that guide it to serve the public good. As we look forward, we also acknowledge several factors that impact our long-term transportation plans. Among them are: Funding Constraints Tight government budgets and a funding approach that relies too much on gas tax revenues can barely support the operation and maintenance of our existing transportation system, let alone pay for new infrastructure and services that future generations will need. Population Growth An additional 300,000 people will call our region home in 2050. We are already facing a housing crisis and many roadways are already highly congested during peak periods. Expanding roadways and allowing for sprawl development far from transit is not a viable long-term solution for accommodating such growth. Changing Demographics About 17% of the population in this region will be over the age of 70 in 2050, which demands that we plan now for a transportation system that will meet the needs of seniors.

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In addition to these factors, transportation planners face more daunting challenges. Like the rest of California, the San Diego region is not on track to meet our state’s critical climate goals. Car traffic, as measured by vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are trending in the wrong direction. For this reason, the state put forward more aggressive targets that challenge planning agencies to go further to address climate change: specifically, to achieve a 19% per-capita reduction in GHG emissions by 2035. If our regional plan does not meet the target, we risk losing vital federal and state funding, which makes up about two-thirds of transportation funding in the region. Beyond the risk of losing funding, we understand transportation’s role as the largest contributor to pollutants that lead to climate change and poor air quality. If San Diego Association of Governments were to do nothing, air temperatures and sea levels will continue to rise, and the people who live here will experience more devastating wildfires and floods.

Integrating Mobility in 5 Big Moves As the agency charged with guiding this region’s transportation strategy and investments, SANDAG late last year announced a multifaceted vision for how people and goods could move with greater ease and efficiency in the coming decades. The vision is coming to life in the form of five key strategies for mobility, collectively known as the 5 Big Moves. The vision synchronizes the 5 Big Moves to deliver a fully integrated, world-class transportation system. The five strategies are interdependent and the success of one depends on the success of the others. Here are snapshots of each strategy, with some background and rationale for each:


THINK Issue 20 | 2021



COMPLETE CORRIDORS Enabling a Multimodal System

TRANSIT LEAP Attractive Alternatives to Driving

The first strategy is to create a regional network of Complete Corridors on our major highways and roads. These corridors will serve as the backbone of a multimodal transportation system, supporting our Flexible Fleets and Transit Leap strategies. Complete Corridors will help us provide a balanced mix of safe and efficient options for traveling, whether these involve moving freight, taking transit, driving, ridesharing, using bikes, or walking. Technology is the key to ensuring that these travel modes work together and can respond to changing conditions by using real-time information. Key elements of Complete Corridors are managed lanes, active transportation and demand management, transit priority (to boost adoption), high-speed communications networks for real-time data sharing among vehicles and infrastructure, active curb management, and broader support for electric vehicles (EVs). Having more electric vehicles on the road is not the answer to reducing roadway congestion, but it will help to advance us toward our GHG emissions targets. We are seeing more EV models being introduced every year, and adoption in California is particularly robust. So, part of our strategy is to support the expansion of EV charging infrastructure, such as public charging and hydrogen fueling stations, to sustain the momentum of mass EV adoption.

We know that we cannot meet our mobility or environmental goals without reducing vehicle miles traveled. Yet, by today’s projections VMT could increase by 24% by 2050. This means that we must give people attractive, convenient mobility options that can compete with their private automobiles. If residents have a viable alternative to driving, they will embrace it. We’ve known this from years of public outreach, surveys and market research. Residents consistently tell us that they would like to take transit, but they don’t have a viable option today. Transit currently is not fast enough or frequent enough, it doesn’t go where people need to go, and it is not well suited to the people who rely on it most. Here are some key findings: n Only 5% of people and jobs are within 10 minutes of transit n Only 8% of people have access to transit that provides late night and early morning service, which is when people in many service industries (e.g., hospitality, healthcare) require such service n 20% of transit riders do not have access to a personal vehicle n Transit riders’ median income is $18,000, which means that rideshare alternatives tend to be out of reach financially We are committed to creating a better alternative. Our Transit Leap approach is designed to create a complete network of fast, high-capacity, high-frequency transit services that connect major residential areas with employment centers and attractions throughout the San Diego region. The main components of this strategy include commuter rail, light rail, high-speed trains for regional journeys, rapid transit, which is truly rapid due to dedicated travel lanes and upgraded local bus and microtransit services.

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3 MOBILITY HUBS Points for Transferring and Connecting Across the region, we plan to create a number of Mobility Hubs, which will be a point of convergence for several different travel options, such as walking, biking, transit, shared mobility and others. At one level, these hubs will integrate mobility services, amenities, and technologies to help connect people from their points of origin to highfrequency transit options. At another level, these hubs will offer people on-demand options for making short trips, perhaps of just a few miles, around the local community. Depending on where a hub is located you might find: bikeshare, carshare, neighborhood electric vehicles, micromobility parking and charging, real-time traveler information, on-demand ridesharing and microtransit. Importantly, these areas will feature smart intersections and other technologies to make it safer for people who walk and bike in these “beehives� of vehicles and activities. We envision these hubs to be places where people will want to go. There will be restaurants and coffee shops, and other places to hang out. Additionally, these hubs will have facilities where people can drop off or pick up packages, which will alleviate another hurdle for many people who want to take care of errands while also using public transit or flexible fleets.


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FLEXIBLE FLEETS Supporting Mobility in All Its Forms

NEXT OPERATING SYSTEM Stitching It All Together Digitally

This element of the 5 Big Moves relates to an “all of the above” approach to helping people get exactly where they need to go, with a focus on bridging the “first and last mile” gaps at the beginning and end of their journeys. We want to ensure that residents can take full advantage of the available shared mobility services — public and private — that let them get to and from public transit options, as well as to make complete trips within their own neighborhoods and communities. In essence, we want to make it much easier not to rely on a private automobile. As we build out this strategy we are drawing on the availability of many alternative transportation solutions, including micromobility (such as e-scooters and bicycles), ridesharing and ridehailing (such as on-demand car services from Uber, Lyft and others), and microtransit (which involve vehicles that carry a dozen or so passengers and offer rides within a service area, with on-demand or book-in-advance flexibility for riders). Additionally, our plans are factoring in the promise of emerging solutions for LastMile Delivery, which we envision to include driverless vehicles, e-bikes, drones, and robots. We will be the first to point out that the mobility options in our plans today may multiply or look very different in the years ahead. Ten years ago, transportation planners could not have envisioned how quickly app-driven ridehailing services would be embraced by the public and how those services would impact both the public transit model and vehicle miles traveled on our roads. Similarly, just months ago, planners were taken by surprise by micromobility as millions of scooters appeared overnight to both expand mobility options and introduce new complexities to urban safety. Such disruptive innovations will continue to emerge and we intend to integrate them into the transportation system in ways that enhance mobility, safety, and quality of life.

The brain of our forward-looking transportation system will be a digital platform called the Next Operating System (Next OS). This platform will catalog and share secure data that’s being generated in real time directly from “smart” transportation infrastructure, as well as public and private transportation services, and related resources. For the traveling public, the Next OS will make possible a new generation of integrated tools with which to plan, book and pay for trips across multiple transportation modes. The idea is to make it much easier and more seamless to travel across the region. By harnessing the Next OS platform, transit agencies, freight operators and others will be able to monitor their fleet operations in real time, so they can quickly optimize their services and provide relevant information to their customers. Real-time data from highvolume roads will help highway managers dynamically adjust traffic flows by assigning lanes — to transit vehicles or freight trucks, for example — based on current demand or time of day. Importantly, planners and policy makers will be able to access transportation data and use visualization tools to inform their decisions. Also, the Next OS platform will be open source, meaning that both public and private service providers can use it to create new applications and services. Unleashing the full potential of Next OS in the coming years will require a new level of cooperation among the SANDAG team, public agencies, transit operators and other industry players. We all will have to move beyond traditional operational siloes and legacy governance models to form a complete regional network of systems. Specifically, this means that we must commit to achieving common objectives regarding user experience, operations and policies — no matter who owns or runs a particular part of the transportation infrastructure. THINK Issue 20 | 2021 17

What is SANDAG? The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is a public agency that brings together leaders from 18 cities and county government to make decisions that impact every resident and business across the region. The organization is governed by a board of directors, which comprises mayors, councilmembers and county supervisors from each government being represented. A key focus of SANDAG’s work is to plan, design, build, and fund transportation initiatives in the region. Significant funding for these initiatives comes from a half-cent countywide sales tax, which voters first approved in 1988, and which in 2004 they voted to extend for another 40 years.

Looking Ahead It’s important to note that the 5 Big Moves are strategies that create a complete and balanced transportation system when they are combined. Complete Corridors are not truly complete without Transit Leap and Flexible Fleet services, the dynamic connections of Mobility Hubs, or the Next OS platform that manages them in real time to create capacity and keep them operating smoothly and safely. We look forward to seeing these strategies continue to come to life in the years ahead. All of us at SANDAG are committed to working with the leaders of our 18 cities and County of San Diego, as well as with regional, state, and federal partners to move transportation forward both boldly and efficiently. As we proceed, our challenge will be to ensure that our region grows in a way that fuels our economy, preserves our environment, takes everyone’s needs into account, and still maintains our enviable quality of life.

Antoinette Meier, AICP is the Director of the Mobility and Innovation Department for the San Diego Association of Governments. She leads the development of plans, policies, and programs that create more sustainable transportation choices for the San Diego region. For the past 10 years at SANDAG, Antoinette has led regional commuter services and innovative pilot projects that reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility and air quality. Prior to joining SANDAG, she worked in community and economic development in both the San Diego region and the City of Seattle. Antoinette has a master’s degree in City Planning.


THINK Issue 20 | 2021

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