Smart Policies for the Transportation Technology Revolution

Two weeks ago, the U.S Department of Transportation announced Columbus, Ohio as the winner of its $40 million Smart Cities Challenge. Columbus’ proposal centered on five important strategies: Access to jobs, smart logistics, real time information, connect underserved communities, and maintain a sustainable transportation network.

Here at Eno, we’re excited about this project because it represents an important next step: moving beyond the theoretical and abstract into specific deployment of advanced technology through the transportation network. The promises are vast: more efficient use of scarce resources, greater connectivity between people and places, and broader opportunity for all. Now that Columbus has won the Smart Cities Challenge, the next challenge will be to see if they can do just that.

Yet there are many metropolitan areas aside from Columbus where these new ideas are thriving, but where entrenched regulations and stakeholders present formidable barriers to change. Recognizing this problem (and several months before U.S. DOT announced its Smart Cities Challenge) we launched a Digital Cities project at Eno. Our effort is complementary to the federal government’s in that it aims to help cities like Columbus establish the policies necessary for these innovations to thrive.

This multi-year research and outreach effort is intended to provide a resource for policy makers to understand the technological forces that are shaping our transportation networks. We are wrapping up the first stage of this project: developing policy recommendations for the federal government and metropolitan areas that wish to attract and encourage the latest technological innovations. The Digital Cities project has also been successful in bringing together stakeholders from both the technology and the transportation fields, and from the public and private sectors.

Eno has now moved into the implementation and deployment stage. This next stage will begin the process of educating and assisting with the deployment of these innovative technologies. The idea is to move these technologies out of the lab and into cities.

In launching its Smart Cities Challenge, U.S. DOT provided cities all over the United States with a shot at creating smarter, safer, more efficient, and less congested cities. Eno is now working to help these cities and metropolitan regions make their visions a reality by giving them the tools necessary to implement and deploy the city of the future.

At Eno we firmly believe that technology is revolutionizing transportation. It is up to policymakers to ensure that decisions being made in response to these changes create an environment that allows new technologies to be successfully deployed. This means creating a flexible framework for innovation. Our policies must be agile enough to change or we must move quickly enough to establish new ones that will not stifle the change in transportation that is occurring.

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