Sidewalk Labs Partners With DOT To Releases Flow

March 17, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

If you live in a large urban hub or a subdivision caught in the midst of urban sprawl, it may or may not be practical for you to drive everywhere. Crowded places like Manhattan can make driving a nightmare and the problematic public transport systems seem a godsend by comparison. The United States Department of Transportation has been working hand in hand with states, counties and cities for years to try to end congestion and other issues facing public transport, but have largely lacked the data to make effective judgments on what changes should be made and where. Sidewalk Labs, a division of Alphabet, is looking to change all that with their new Flow system, created hand in hand with the U.S. DOT.

Flow has been developed in concert with the DOT and seven of Alphabet’s “Smart City” finalists. This new tool, billed as a “transportation coordination platform”, is able to pull and analyze citywide transit data and allow cities to integrate solutions based on that data. The data is pulled anonymously from smartphones in the target area. From there, cities can have guided parking automatically direct drivers instead of having them amble about the city looking for parking, as well as dynamic adjustment of mass public transit routes according to demand. Automated reallocation of curb space is also on board. Cities can check out the origin points and hangups of trips in key congestion spots, allowing them to figure out how to alleviate that congestion. Before doing that, of course, cities can run test models to see the impact of a solution before spending the money and time to integrate it. As an added bonus, the program will look to incorporate cutting-edge technologies as they become available.

Alphabet is hoping to eventually roll the new technology out worldwide, but it is limited to a few test markets and partners for the time being. The platform is open and can work with most data sets, allowing a wide range of applications across the many open and proprietary platforms that the planning outfits for various cities may use. If you happen to be a city developer or planner and want to ask Alphabet about signing up, or you just want to check out Sidewalk Labs’ website, head on through the source link.