mobility data (arleksey/Shutterstock.com)

Mobility briefs: Solutions for smart cities

The SMARTCenter automated and connected vehicle testing facility opened at the Transportation Research Center in central Ohio, offering  a safe, secure and repeatable real-world environment for advanced automotive and mobility technology testing.  Covering 540 acres within TRC’s total 4,500 acres, the SMARTCenter features  a 1.2 mile, six-lane connected, signalized intersection, full site access to Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and high-speed wireless communication and an underground power distribution and fiber network to support current and future test technologies. The SmartCenter was funded by the State of Ohio, JobsOhio and Ohio State University.

New York City ridesharing data sheds new light on use of the service. Researchers at the University of Connecticut analyzed aggregate data about Uber and Lyft ridesharing trips using available data from New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. They found that, in addition to increased use of the service within the city (46% growth from 2014 to 2017), trips originating in the outer boroughs increased to 56% of the market in low-income neighborhoods that are typically underserved by public transit. The researchers called for more data transparency on ridesharing trips so policy makers can make informed decisions.

Mounting sensors on taxis can provide data on air pollution, weather, traffic patterns and road quality, but researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab have shown that it takes surprisingly few taxis to collect a large sample of data. Ten taxis can cover one-third of Manhattan streets in one day, and about 30 taxis can to cover half of Manhattan in a day. A similar relationship occurs in Chicago, San Francisco, Vienna, Beijing and other major cities. The study can help city planners scope the number of mobile sensors necessary to cover different urban areas at specific times.

EV charging ports are coming to national parks, thanks to a donation by BMW of North America. One hundred electric vehicle charging ports are being installed in and around national parks. BMW installed the first of these stations in April 2017 at Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey, and more than 90 EV charging ports are currently available in or near more than a dozen national parks. In addition to these locations, charging stations in other areas were donated for use by National Park Service fleet vehicles as part of its effort to minimize fuel costs and reduce its own carbon footprint. Through this joint effort, electric vehicle drivers will have more places to charge the car while recharging themselves with nature and parks.

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