Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Announcing Bit City: 2011: Transportation, Data and Technology in Cities

Here is evidence that I am a productive member of society. Sarah Williams and I are organizing a conference titled Bit City: 2011: Transportation, Data and Technology in Cities. Details at this link. We have some of the best thinkers is the business coming to talk, and the conference is open to all. You should come. More details to follow, and here an overview followed by the schedule:

There is more data in the world than ever before, and there will soon be far more. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) , “In 2011 alone, 1.8 zettabytes (or 1.8 trillion gigabytes) of data will be created, the equivalent to every U.S. citizen writing 3 tweets per minute for 26,976 years.” New data collected from embedded devices in common items such as clothing, cell phones, vehicles, roads, buildings and anything else you can think of will fundamentally change the way we plan, finance and move about our cities.
Over the last several years many private and public sector agencies have been interested in how data, social media, mobile technologies, and data visualization can help us plan for an manage our urban environments. IBM has coined the term “Smart Cities” to describe the recent development in this area, while CISCO calls it “Intelligent Cities”.
BitCity is how we describe the recent conversation about the possibilities to use data and technology to enhance our cities. On the most basic level a “bit” is at the core of recent discussions around how data and technology can enhance our cities because it is “the basic unit of information in computing and telecommunications”. It’s our increased capacity to store, communicate, and visualize our everyday lives in the form of bits that has renewed a conversation about how data can be used to plan and manage the future of our cities.
The BitCity debates are meant to expose innovation and innovators, highlight the current state of research, and provide room for a conversation about the policy needs and implementation barriers for using data and technology in planning our cities.
This first in our series of BitCity debates will provide historical precedents for this debate and focus on current applications as they relate to transportation. We have focused BitCity: 2011 on transportation because of the field’s strong links to data and technology. Many examples have already been developed by planners, engineers, logistics firms and software developers giving us an opportunity to present and analyze them at BitCity 2011.
David King, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning
Sarah Williams, Co-Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab AT gmail DOT com

Welcome to BityCity : 2011 – Transportation Data, & Technology in Cities, The Sig Grava Symposium on Infrastructure.


Elliot Sclar
Professor Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation & School of International and Public Affairs

9:30AM-10:30AM | KEYNOTE


New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner
Janette Sadik-Khan

10:30AM-10:45AM | BREAK

10:45AM-12:15PM | PANEL
“Start-Up” Transportation Planning: Entrepreneurial Approaches to Transport Problems

Many planners and software developers have embraced smart phones as a potentially transformative technology to improve urban mobility through better, faster and more accurate information. New York City actively supports developers through annual “Big Apps” contests, and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched a similar project to encourage “start-up” developers to build apps that improve service. This panel discusses recent applications and successful projects where new data has improved transportation and mobility.


Candace Brakewood & Michael Frumin
Doctoral Student in the Engineering Systems Division, MIT
Systems Engineering Manager, MTA Bus Customer Information Systems

Di-Ann Eisnor
VP of Platforms & Partnerships, Waze

Rachel Sterne
Chief Digital Officer, New York City Media

Moderator : Benjamin De La Peña, Rockefeller Foundation

12:15PM-1:15PM | LUNCH

1:15PM-2:45PM | PANEL
Travel Surveys to Crowd Sourcing: Using New Forms of Data in Transportation Planning

Transportation planning has always been reliant on data. Travel surveys, traffic flows and other data have long been used to inform policy and investment. Yet one of the biggest conversations around data in the city are new sources of data (cell phones, GPS tracking systems, sensors), that offer a new way for transport planning. Real-time information, traffic management and on-the-fly routing can lead to efficient use of existing facilities, reduced congestion and lower environmental damage.  Transit agencies can use location and user data to increase ridership and lower costs. This panel explores how new and crowd-sources data complements conventional planning and how these data may lead to transformational ways of thinking about transportation problems.


Michael Batty
Director, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London

David Levinson
Director, NeXus: Networks, Economics and Urban Systems Research Group, University of Minnesota

Mitchell Moss
Director of the Rudin Center for Transportation, New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Moderator : David King, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation

2:45PM-3PM | BREAK

3PM-4:30PM | PANEL

Private Data, Public Good: Issues of Copyright, Contract and Content

New sources of data and the influx new firms to transport policy and planning present unique legal issues. One of the biggest questions is whether data collected and stored by private companies be used for a public good?  Developing software and collecting data for planning purposes in an opportunity to improve public services and transport planning, but these services have new legal precedents and need contracts that reflect that in order to ensure the benefits for the City. This session highlights the legal issues surrounding copyright, contracting and public use of data collected through cell phones, GPS devices and other sensors.


Matthew W. Daus, Esq
University Transportation Research Center
Former Commissioner of the TLC

Francisca Rojas
Postdoctoral Fellow, Transparency Policy Project
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Jane Yakowitz
Visiting Assistant Professor, Brooklyn Law School

Moderator : Kenneth Crews, Director, Copyright Advisory Office, Columbia University Libraries; Faculty, Columbia Law School and Munich Intellectual Property Law Center


BitCity will also be series of conferences designed to help unravel issues at the core of how we can use the overwhelming amount of data available to help make better cities. Each conference will explore how data and technology are used in different urban specialty areas (Transportation, Public Health, Criminal Justice, Housing, Environmental Policy) in order to better understand the real world impacts of these technologies.


Dr. Anthony Townsend
Research Director, Institute for the Future

Moderator : Sarah Williams, Co-Director, Spatial Information Design Lab; Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation


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