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Paving the way to better urban living

Photo of John Reed
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We are all on a journey. A journey for a better tomorrow where greenhouse emissions are not challenging our planet. Where traffic jams and car crashes are a thing of the past. And where lost time in traffic now becomes time for new experiences.

We all share these universal yearnings—whether you are in New York, New Delhi, or anywhere in between, we all aspire to better urban living.

For those of us living or working in cities, this aspiration is also becoming a more urgent necessity. Cities are being challenged by overpopulation, traffic congestion and pollution, rising costs of infrastructure maintenance & improvements, and safety for their residents. And as urban living rises—by 2050, the UN estimates that nearly 70 percent of the global population will live in cities—these challenges will continue to grow.

To address these concerns and build cities that are more sustainable, safer, inclusive, and easier to get around, no one person or organization can do it alone. At Microsoft, we strongly believe in partnerships and all of us working together—residents, businesses, governments and community leaders—to build the cities of the future for a better tomorrow.

That’s one of the reasons we are a proud partner of Ford and its City of Tomorrow Challenge. The challenge is designed to help prepare cities for the future and uses an innovative crowdsourcing platform to bring groups of people together to design and pilot new solutions to help transform transportation and mobility in cities.

It aligns to the goals of our Microsoft CityNext program to help empower cities to improve the urban experiences of the citizens they serve, using today’s technology innovations and intelligence.

Ford’s inaugural challenge city projects in Miami, Pittsburgh, and Grand Rapids, Michigan have been exciting collaborations, with residents sharing their stories and feedback to inform city planning and then working with a great community of people and experts to brainstorm and create solutions that could best address their needs.

It’s been an honor to bring our investments and learnings to Ford’s Challenge program—from our connected and smart mobility initiatives in the automotive industry, to our cloud innovations and partnerships to help support smart cities and autonomous development, to Microsoft’s broader AI and cloud investments to accelerate innovation—and explore the real-world possibilities they bring to these cities.

A significant focus for us is helping enable a connected ecosystem between cities, our infrastructures and vehicles, made intelligent by data and insights. This smart, connected ecosystem will enable new opportunities for our societies and the cities in which we live.

For the cities in Ford’s City of Tomorrow Challenge, this could open new doors to address their individual needs, like enabling smarter transportation choices through connectivity in Pittsburgh that could expand mass transit and create safer roads. Or helping address traffic in Miami-Dade County using local geographical, map, traffic, even weather, data to alert Miami commuters of congestion and hazards, and suggest alternate routes.

With the current advancements in technology, there is so much that is now possible, and the City of Tomorrow Challenge offers an exciting opportunity to put these innovations to work for you and collectively build the cities of tomorrow today.

We invite you to join us in the City of Tomorrow Challenge as we all pave the road to better urban living!

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Photo of Daniel Tisone

John, very good point. My senior thesis in College a little over a year ago was on researching and measuring the economic effects of traffic congestion and the implementation on congestion pricing.

With micro-mobility companies - Lime, Bird, JUMP - currently having infrastructure issues on already crowded streets and walk ways and the near term commercial availability of autonomous taxi networks, there will be a great need for off-street infrastructure to serve these companies.

Shared vehicle ownership will certainly reduce the number of vehicles in cities. We can't grow any more streets, however we can utilize the real estate we currently have. It's going to take multiple parties to realize the onset of last-mile solutions and autonomous vehicles so our platform - RUB A DUB - works to provide "Mobility HUBs as a service" to landlords whether they be commercial developers owning a parking structure or parking management companies.

These HUBs serve as a property amenity to daily parkers and vehicle owners, but our platform also utilizes vacant parking spaces for mobility companies wishing to have a "service hub".

This prevents the government from allocating scarce curb space and allows developers to repurpose their parking structures now.

I would love for you to check out my solution for City of Tomorrow challenge and get your feedback!

https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/pittsburgh/propose/mobility-hubs-as-a-service

Photo of John Reed

Thank you for your reply - I’ll review your proposal at the link above.

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