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SharedStreets Provides Foundation for Smart Cities

SharedStreets supports a data standard for urban environments that recently received important support from Uber.

Screen Shot of SharedStreets Transit APP

SharedStreets Transit APP

Just when you think you are getting on top of the latest developments in the highway and street data projects around the world, such as this past week’s article on OpenDrive, yet another one comes onto the scene that seems more important than the last.

SharedStreets is a non-profit digital commons for the street that is being developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials – NATCO. It’s a data standard and a platform that serves as a launching pad for public-private collaboration and a clearinghouse for data exchange.

More than lines and points on a map, SharedStreets is a system for sharing actionable information across city and company lines, and helps communities around the world better understand and manage their streets.

 The good news is that standards are being developed. The bad news is everyone wants to have their own. In this case it’s a battle for the curb, the most contested space in the urban world, but it’s all the same data whether an urban street or an interstate highway, plus or minus a curb and some street furniture.

As Aarion Marshall explains in this Wired article, “SharedStreets’ success is not quite guaranteed. The platform has plenty of competitors, like Coord from Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, and Ford’s Transportation Mobility Cloud. These big dogs want to be the operating system for the modern city, with everyone—governments, companies like Uber and FedEx—feeding their info into their all-knowing, number-crunching transportation platforms. For now, though, cities and private companies say they are attracted to SharedStreets’ non-profit status. With its connection to National Association of City Transportation Officials, it feels safe. Now the project just needs to execute.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were just one highway/street data standard?

For more information on SharedStreets click here.

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