State of Place proposes to use its data and software solution to identify areas in most need of people-led mobility interventions (both in terms of built environment quality and density of vulnerable populations); prioritize urban design changes most likely to maximize walkability, bikeability, livability, and inclusivity; create community-led, scenario(s) for specific interventions, and quantify the impact of making places better and more equitable.
State of Place is an AI-driven, built environment database, benchmark, and analytics software. To date, we’ve helped citymakers - municipalities, developers, communities - use data to 1) identify the best ways to make places more walkable, livable, equitable, and sustainable, while unlocking maximum value across the triple bottom line; 2) make the investment case for these places by quantifying their return on investment, to get faster approvals, funding, and buy-in for projects; 3) and objectively market and communicate the value of these projects.
We do so by collecting data on over 290 urban design features, like sidewalks, trees, and benches, from digital imagery, and aggregating that data into a score from 0-100, known as the State of Place Index that measures the quality of people-led mobility, including walkability and bikeability, using our proprietary algorithms. This index is broken down into sub-indices that measure 10 aspects of urban design that have been empirically tied to people’s decisions to walk, known as the State of Place Profile. Our software visualizes this data using heat maps and charts, which makes it easy for users to quickly understand an area’s built environment assets and needs (e.g. why it scored the way it did), prioritize blocks, groups of blocks, neighborhoods, or districts based on their existing conditions and performance - or those that need the most improvement - and inform planning and development strategies and policies. Our recommendation engines show what specific built environment changes are most needed to improve mobility, while maximizing social, environmental, and economic value. Our Sim-City-like scenario tool allows users to test unlimited proposals and project ideas and compare how they would impact the State of Place Index and Profile, helping them identify the best ways to increase mobility. And finally, our forecasting tool quantifies how proposed projects users create in our scenario tool increase value and calculates their return on investment. Ultimately, State of Place serves both as an effective communication tool to justify the value of better urban design, walkability, and mobility, and as a decision-making tool that optimizes outcomes across the triple bottom line and maximizes the bang for the buck.
Historically, State of Place’s proprietary forecasting models have tied the built environment (as measured by State of Place) to higher real estate values (office, retail, and residential properties) These forecasting models have been used to make the investment case for better places as well as identify interventions that are most likely to lead to the most value. We sought to expand the rationale for better urban design beyond economic value, and given the increasing popularity around Vision Zero programs and the surge in people-led mobility options, we focused on tying State of Place to improved road safety. We found that a one-point increase in the State of Place Index lowered the likelihood of collisions between drivers and pedestrians and bicyclists by 12.3% on average, with some aspects of urban design reducing the odds of a collision by nearly 30% on average for every one point increase. We also found that even a moderate increase in the index, say from 40 to 60 points decreased the chances of a collision.
We believe that this recent expansion in the capacity of our forecasting models to evaluate and predict road safety is particularly relevant and valuable to the goals and areas of focus outlined in the Mexico City Challenge, particularly those centered around neighborhood mobility and the needs of vulnerable populations. No matter which mobility option you choose, good street design is necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of pedestrians, bicyclists, scooterists - and even drivers. In fact, streets that are designed with the most vulnerable in mind are actually the best kind of streets for all mobility actors.
Some features in urban design are particularly critical for safety and comfort. For the most vulnerable mobility users including the elderly, women with children, children, and those with physical disabilities, comfort and safety are influenced by the design of features such as sidewalks, curb cuts, crosswalks, signage, street trees, public plazas, and outdoor seating. State of Place has linked street design to road safety; it is a key factor in accessible mobility options.
Our team proposes to use our software to assess the quality of mobility infrastructure and street design, create priority areas in which improvements are most necessary, and make recommendations about how to improve each area in the most impactful way. Our tool will do this by overlaying our current State of Place index data onto demographic data that indicates a high-level of vulnerable populations, creating a new sub-index within our software to measure "inclusive design," and delivering specific recommendations for street design and infrastructure changes needed to increase safety and accessibility.
Our proposal helps meet the Opportunity Area (Neighborhood Mobility) by focusing on providing easier options for mobility, particularly thinking of women, older adults and people with disabilities. It also prioritizes creating new street and sidewalk designs that are safer for users. It will provide recommendations for key areas of need and will offer Mexico City a tool to think carefully about vulnerable areas of the city, places where urban design is most challenging for vulnerable populations. Not only will it identify key areas of need, it will offer information about the current conditions so that the city can understand which urban design dimensions are most lacking or present in each area. So this will offer some nuance to the recommendations, allowing our team to give guidance about precisely which changes matter the most in which areas. The recommendations we make will prioritize providing easier options for mobility, particularly thinking of women, older adults and people with disabilities.
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