The Transportation Coordination Platform for Cities

Cities are wrestling with growing congestion, aging infrastructure, and the challenge of providing more equitable transportation access. Meanwhile, lower-income Americans are traveling farther and spending more money on commuting, raising their cost of living and creating new barriers to social mobility. But the answer cannot just be building more roads when we are struggling to maintain existing ones.

Sidewalk Labs is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation and its seven Smart City Challenge finalists to design Flow, a transportation coordination platform that uses analytics and messaging to help cities work with citizens to increase the efficiency of road, parking, and transit use, improving access to mobility for all.

Flow analytics help cities understand how roads are being used and how people may respond to policy, infrastructure, or technology changes. Flow can:

  • integrate aggregated, anonymized smartphone data from billions of miles of trips (starting with Google’s Urban Mobility program) along with sensor data (for example, via LinkNYC Wi-Fi kiosks) to create a real-time view of road and curb usage.
  • select and analyze specific road segments to understand what’s driving congestion based on the type of trip being made and the neighborhoods where traffic originates.
  • simulate the impact of new roads, transit routes, mobility services, and incentives on traffic by asking “what if” questions and sharing data across Flow cities.
  • test new technologies like autonomous vehicles by deploying sensors and assessing mobility impacts on the overall system.

Flow interactive messaging helps cities create more efficient and equitable mobility options in popular mobile apps or on-street platforms (such as LinkNYC):

  • Dynamic parking routes drivers directly to available parking, provides them with pricing, and shows availability at the beginning of their journey to avoid circling and encourage alternative modes of transit.
  • Dynamic transit adjusts transit routes based on real-time ridership demand and provides on-street interfaces to new shared mobility services to citizens without a smartphone.
  • Dynamic curb space enables limited curb space to be used for freight, car-sharing, and bike-sharing based on changing conditions and demand.

Flow is an open platform that can work with most data sources and can share insights to any interface. We work with mobility apps, infrastructure operators, transit operators, sensor vendors, and others. If you’re interested in working with Flow, email partners@sidewalklabs.com.