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Initiative aims to help cities better communicate and manage street closures

Populus is inviting cities and public agencies from around the world to take part in an initiative aimed at helping public officials create and communicate new street policies.

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The initiative aims to help cities respond to the changing transportation scene
The initiative aims to help cities respond to the changing transportation scene

Populus is inviting cities and public agencies from around the world to take part in a new initiative aimed at helping public officials create and communicate new street policies, such as street closures and “slow streets” that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.

 

Through the Open Streets Initiative, Populus will provide its street manager solutions to a select number of cities in 2020. This includes the recently launched Populus Street Manager, which helps cities respond to the rapidly changing conditions brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak. Applications are open until 15 May 2020.

 

Data-driven policies

 

Using the Populus platform, cities securely access data from shared bike and scooter providers such as Spin, Bird, and Uber. Transportation planners are then able to create and communicate data-driven policies for mobility services to more safely utilise city sidewalks, kerbs, and streets.

 

As cities grapple with Covid-19, many public officials have begun to open streets by closing them to cars, creating more room for pedestrians and cyclists for safe social distancing.

 

These recent policies build on over a decade of advocacy and best practices highlighted by organisations such as the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to consider the diverse ways that city streets can be used.

 

"How people move in cities is rapidly changing day by day." said Regina Clewlow, CEO and co-founder of Populus.

 

"With our platform, we empower city planners with digital solutions that help them manage the future of mobility in a dynamic way."

"Cities are seeking to better allocate limited public space more efficiently and equitably, including our streets, kerbs, and sidewalks."

The Populus Street Manager enables cities to identify and communicate temporary street closures and policies to key stakeholders including the general public, mapping platforms, and delivery services. Common use cases include:

  • Planned and approved construction activity
  • Temporary street closures to facilitate open streets
  • Partial or full street closures for major or special events.

Many cities around the world, including the cities of Oakland, Brookline, and Minneapolis have adopted open streets initiatives that prioritise cyclists and pedestrians on specific street segments and corridors.

 

The Oakland Slow Streets programme is one of the most extensive, which will eventually close 74 miles of the city streets to through motor traffic. Other cities have also closed streets for construction in order to accelerate existing planned improvements for public transit.

 

"Cities are seeking to better allocate limited public space more efficiently and equitably, including our streets, kerbs, and sidewalks," added Beth Osborne, director of Transportation For America, the advocacy organisation which hosts the Smart Cities Collaborative. "However, they often lack the tools to do so. Populus delivers the type of innovative solutions that assist city leaders manage their streets in a rapidly changing world."

 

In March, the Colombian capital of Bogota announced it was opening 76km of temporary bike lanes to reduce crowding on public transport and help prevent the spread of coronavirus, as well as to improve air quality.

 

This will expand the 550km of existing permanent bike lanes. In addition, 22km of the new lanes were converted overnight by reconfiguring car lanes.

 

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