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Denver Joins Transportation for America’s Smart Cities Collaborative to Tackle Urban Mobility Challenges

In a new collaborative supported by Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, Denver will work with cities across the country to improve transportation and help residents get around easier, faster

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced today that Denver 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. Denver 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. 9-10, 2016.

“Our goal is mobility freedom – accessible mobility choices that can help each and every one of us live better, easier lives,” Mayor Hancock said. “This collaborative approach to improving transportation and mobility will allow our city and others to launch pilot projects, test ideas, and learn from those experiments.”

Over the coming year, Denver will work with the collaborative’s other chosen cities to tackle the challenges related to implementing smart city policies and projects, including sharing best practices and technical assistance, and piloting new programs.

“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, Denver 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.

Denver representatives 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.

During 2015/2016, Denver participated in the Smart City Challenge grant competition offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation and was selected as one of seven finalists from the 78 cities that applied. Denver’s local work created a clear roadmap that will help city officials pursue a vision to provide residents with safe, reliable, sustainable and affordable options to get around town. 

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, Washington, DC


Transportation for America is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions — because these are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity. T4America is a program of Smart Growth America.

Sidewalk Labs is an urban innovation company that works with cities to develop technology that solves big urban problems across transportation, housing, energy, and data-driven management. It’s the result of a partnership between Alphabet and Daniel Doctoroff, the former Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York and the CEO of Bloomberg LP.