Pittsburgh is the international leader in robotics research and development. We propose a two part development of a robotically enabled mobile printing technology (bots) that will serve to artfully remake Pittsburgh’s existing right-of-way.
The first bot will collect arterial and primary road path data feeds from transit services, ridesharing companies, bikeshare, eScooters, connected vehicles, delivery companies, and opt-in services such as social media check-ins, Strava or Nike Run Club and translate that data into colored stripes along the outside cartway of the street. The colored stripes would be keyed to the movement type and its thickness relatively scaled to the amount of use that it receives from that particular mode. The amount of use would not be vehicle based but people based to reflect the density of people or parcel movement to reflect the mode’s efficiency in moving people and objects around. In addition to providing an artful touch to the street, the PathBot would describe to users routes people using similar modes have safely traveled before, encouraging more use along that path. It would also allow advocates for a particular mode down a particular street a visual incentive to vote with their mode to educate users sharing the road by other modes and policy makers who are charged with making streets for everyone.
The second bot will use CAD design prototypes to “print” a new curb-to-curb street layout in full color, greatly reducing the time necessary to install and test new street configurations and designs. It will be used for both fun and functional applications. StreetMaker can be used to quickly install designed artwork for a festival, bike, scooter, or bus lanes for enhanced transportation, or wayfinding markings for a 5k. The paint would be temporary chalk paint allowing for easy removal and replacement. It might even account for existing striping to apply a temporary cover up to avoid user confusion. The coordinates of the as-built street could then readily broadcast to connected vehicles and services to improve functionality.
The two-bot solution embraces the Pittsburgh Challenge of improving the commute by:
1. Enabling “footprints” through physical data visualization to give street users confidence in their chosen mode along a particular path.
2. Provide intuitive and clear wayfinding for both explorers and regular commuters alike
3. Showing the overlap in Pittsburgh’s mobility suite to underscore the number of options and the connections between them
4. Creating kinetic art pieces in the street that allow users to experience street use in a new way
5. Leveraging this user data and responsive design solutions to quickly “print” new street designs and test their ability to meet current demand and influence behavior of future demand before spending millions on new permanent street designs
6. Unlock cultural and recreational uses of streets in powerful, dynamic ways with temporary street makeover capabilities