Smart Transportation


The City of Chattanooga announced on Tuesday it has been selected to join Transportation for America’s (T4A) new smart cities collaborative, supported by Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, to explore how technology can improve urban mobility.

Over the coming year, Chattanooga will work with the collaborative’s other fifteen cities to tackle the challenges related to implementing smart city policies and projects – sharing best practices and technical assistance, and piloting new programs. Chattanooga was selected from the nearly 60 cities that applied to be a part of the collaborative, which will hold its first meeting in Minneapolis on Nov.

“It’s no surprise to me that we were selected for this national initiative; we’ve been a smart city for years. We have already implemented smart traffic lights that enable super fast timing adjustments, and we’re in development for a new smart transportation application that will help Chattanoogans choose the best route, find parking, and enhance how we move around Chattanooga,” said Blythe Bailey, administrator of the Chattanooga Department of Transportation. “Being chosen for this collaborative acknowledges Chattanooga’s history of innovation and puts us in the best position to learn from other cities to maximize the function and safety of our street system.”

“We’re in the midst of the most transformational shift in urban transportation since the start of the interstate era more than 50 years ago. And just like that era, cities have enormous potential to help or harm their residents with the decisions they make,” said James Corless, director of T4America. “It’s incredibly encouraging to see this long list of cities proactively shaping the future to ensure that this monumental shift in transportation doesn’t shape their cities without their input and produce a new generation of transportation haves and have-nots.”

“We have spent the past several months speaking directly with cities across the country, and what we’ve heard is mobility is a major issue across the board. There is a desire to do something to solve these challenges, but it is not always clear how emerging technology can be helpful,” said Sidewalk Labs Chief Policy Officer Rit Aggarwala. “Cities understand that they need to work together, but the question has always been how best to band these municipalities in partnership. This collaborative will be an unprecedented step in unifying these urban areas and hopefully accelerate solutions that provide affordable, efficient ways to get around.”

Through the collaborative, the City of Chattanooga and the other member cities will form working groups that will focus on three core areas:

– Automated vehicles, and their potential impact on urban transit systems, congestion, transportation equity, and the environment.
– Shared mobility, and how it could help cities provide equitable, affordable, and more sustainable transportation choices.
– Performance measures and data analytics, and how to use data to manage complex transportation networks and achieve transit equity and environmental goals.

Initially, representatives from Chattanooga will participate in a variety of information-sharing meetings, both with other member cities and with industry-leading transportation experts. From there, city representatives will receive direct technical assistance, create pilot programs and share results with the rest of the collaborative to drive best practices across the country.

The collaborative is the result of the partnership T4A and Sidewalk Labs announced in June to engage cities in developing efficient and affordable transportation options for all. The partnership builds on T4A’s experience collaborating with state and local governments to develop forward-looking transportation and land-use policy, combined with Sidewalk Labs’ expertise working with cities to develop digital technology that solves big urban problems.

The full list of participating cities in the collaborative includes: Austin, TX, Denver, CO, Boston, MA, Centennial, CO, Chattanooga, TN, Lone Tree, CO, Los Angeles, CA, Miami-Dade County, FL, Madison, WI, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Nashville, TN, Portland, OR, Sacramento, CA, San Jose, CA, Seattle, WA, and Washington, DC.