Car Industry

Sidewalk Labs teams up with Transportation for America to get US moving

Google's transit-focused sister company is partnering with the policy organization to get cities working to find new-age solutions to an old problem -- efficient transportation.


Anything is better than this.

Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Data will solve all our problems. That's the working mantra for efforts such as the Smart City Challenge or automaker-led groups like Toyota Connected. When it comes to solving transportation issues and creating the city of tomorrow, many are hoping that Big Data can be the silver bullet, and two groups are teaming up to try and make it a reality.

Sidewalk Labs -- a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet -- is partnering up with Transportation for America (T4A), a cross-country gathering of business leaders and government officials, in an effort to get more American cities to use technology to address infrastructure issues.

Sidewalk Labs will bring the tech, as the group's already developing platforms for connected cities, like Flow, which lets cities aggregate and analyze data from multiple sources such as sensors, cameras and apps. T4A's bringing the muscle, as it already has experience working with cities and their governments, experience tech companies don't necessarily have. T4A will develop a study on the current state of transportation and tech, to help guide cities to answers for transportation issues.

By transportation issues, I'm referring to problems like a lack of public transit in underserved areas and the difficulty of first-mile and last-mile transportation -- not everyone lives or works within walking distance of the bus or train, after all. Between expanding services and mitigating congestion, without busting coffers wide open, cities will need all the help they can get, and this new partnership is ready to stand up and help out.