Los Angeles major Eric Garcetti’s plans for a smarter LA

Nov 2013, L.A. Tech Summit

"L.A. city government has a monopoly," he said, "but it has really crappy products."

Plan to become ‘L.A.’s first “tech mayor”‘:

  • Bring technology into City Hall. The goal is to improve the “product” — basic city services — by applying metrics, making them public, and holding managers accountable.
  • Boost L.A.’s nascent tech sector. For the most part, that means marketing the city as a place where creative people can thrive — “the greatest platform in the world,” as the mayor put it. But it also entails removing some of the regulatory hurdles that can make it harder to start a tech business.
  • Encourage the city’s pension funds to invest in local tech companies.

Status quo:

  • Basic city website offers basic statistics on city functions
  • Service request app (MyLA311) fields less than 5% of total service complaints, with the vast majority still coming in over the phone
  • Taxi vs Uber conflict

Garcetti also talked about driverless cars as a way to alleviate traffic, and about how to create neighborhoods that would be optimally designed for them.

“I would love to find a neighborhood, and be the first big city in the world to have a driverless car neighborhood,” Garcetti said.

via Driverless Cars? Eric Garcetti Spins Visions of the Future at L.A. Tech Summit | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly.

Sept 2014, CityLab 2014 summit

L.A. “could be the first place really in an urban center where we have autonomous vehicles that are able to be ordered up [like] a car service, right away in a real neighborhood, not just in a protected area.”

“While we’re building out this rail network, we simultaneously should be looking at, I think, bus rapid transit lanes, not because BRTs are [good]—of course they’ve been proven successful—but because autonomous vehicles are going to be here,” he said. “How do you spend billions of dollars on fixed rail, when we might not own cars in this city in a decade or a decade and a half?”

Win-win plan: investing in infrastructure that is relatively low cost (roads are cheap(?) compared to dedicated rail lines), already useful (dedicated bus lanes), and versatile to anticipated new technologies (self-driving cars).

Potential challenges: safety, dedicated lanes is not complete separation from other lanes, throughput will still be limited by intersections, security of cyber-physical systems (physical attacks, as well as network attacks, sensor spoofing), demand estimation/prediction, system scoping

That’s not empty talk: Garcetti says the city is working with UCLA to develop a neighborhood for driverless vehicles, perhaps around the university in Westwood. He’s also working [with Xerox] to manage such a driverless network, as well as more traditional manned vehicles from bus down to bicycle.

“Now through a single app, I could order a taxi, an Uber, a Lyft, a Sidecar; I could get on the bus, I could get on the rail, I could take out a shared bike, I could get a shared car like a Zipcar or something like that. And you never have to stress out anymore about how you’re going to get some place. You know you have the options…. And maybe the city makes a small transaction fee off of that, or MTA, so it’s actually in our interest to build that and then share that open-source again with the rest of the world.”

Unified app for all modes of ground transit, including ride sharing services, taxi, zipcar, bikeshare, self-driving car, etc.

Incentive to open source

Other sessions of note at CityLab 2014
– What’s Mine is Yours? The New Dynamics of the Sharing City
– Case study: Rethinking Resilience in a Post-Sandy World
– Wheels of Change: What’s Driving the Future of Urban Mobility?

via L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti: We Will Be the First City to Do Autonomous Vehicles Right – CityLab.


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