Date:September 08, 2017
Innovation is happening all around us. From smart phones and Fitbits to on-demand car hailing, cars parking (and semi-driving) themselves, smart traffic and street lights and license plate readers… just to name a few technologies making their way into our everyday lives.
The pace at which stories around innovative technologies like drones, automated and connected vehicles, and even Hyperloop are being rolled out daily is rapid. Is our innovation vision and planning keeping up? How do we want new technologies to be incorporated into “smarter” communities to make our lives more efficient and productive? Innovation is more than just tangible items — it is also about policies that promote it and address critical issues like privacy and cybersecurity that emerging technologies bring with them.
With federal regulations, such as the “SELF DRIVE Act,” moving forward in Congress, new drone regulations for flying overhead of people expected to be released for public comment in early 2018 and ongoing rulemakings at the Federal Communications Commission concerning 5G deployment… where do, or should, local governments fit into the discussion? Right now, there are more questions than answers about effectively integrating emerging technologies into communities, which involves gaining public trust and adoption. However, the excitement is real and rightfully contagious.
With these challenges and questions in mind, I am looking forward to participating in five different forums next week to discuss laying the important legal and policy foundations around innovation – from smart traffic signals and water meters, to drones and automated and connected vehicles. The focus of the week, which I’ve dubbed “BB&K Innovation Week,” is how public agencies operating at the local level must participate at every step, from planning and policy to development and implementation. This is important to ensure the long-term success of these new innovations that have the potential to transform lives for good.
We already know how innovative technologies are benefitting local communities. I saw it on a recent trip to South Africa, where I was visiting my wife who is working there. I took Uber to get around, I spoke with planners about bike lanes (see the photo) in Cape Town and observed smart technologies being integrated 8,000 miles away from Washington, D.C. Clearly, innovation is not just a national phenomenon, but a global one.
With such excitement and opportunities in mind, I hope you will consider following along with me on an enlightening path filled with updates. I will share my presentations and discussions, and thoughts from the week, which will focus on envisioning the long-term success of emerging technologies in our communities. As I travel to Seattle, San Diego, Sacramento and Big Sky, Mont., I encourage you to join the “live” discussion next week using the hashtag #BBKInnovation on Twitter or following me @smartertranspo.
Looking forward to enjoying the ride on the “BB&K Innovation Week” path and hearing your thoughts, concerns and ideas!