We asked, you answered!: The most pressing questions on urban mobility and transportation

After a month of public voting, we unveil your most important data-actionable questions around urban mobility and transportation.

Image from Unsplash/Dennis Siqueira

BROOKLYN, New York, Monday, August 1 — The Governance Lab (The GovLab) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, along with CAF — Development Bank of Latin America, the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), and the New Urban Mobility Alliance (NUMO) have drawn on sustainable mobility and data science experts, as well as the public, to pinpoint key areas in urban mobility and transportation that warrant further, data-driven research via the Urban Mobility and Transportation domain of the 100 Questions Initiative.

After two months of consulting ’bilinguals’ — sustainable mobility and data science professionals — on the landscape of urban mobility and transportation problems and discerning what aspects could be transformatively and effectively answered with data, we turned 113 initial questions into a 48-question shortlist of data-actionable questions. Following the sourcing and clustering phases of the 100 Questions methodology, our bilinguals prioritized the top ten questions to explore.

We then turned to you, the public — through social media and newsletters, we advertised the public voting process, whereby anyone can vote for which of the top ten questions you deem the most pressing to solve. Voting was held in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and was open until July 28.

We asked, you answered — with over 1000 votes! Below are the three most voted for questions:

  1. How can we incentivize people to take trips by sustainable modes, such as walking, biking and/or public transit, rather than by personal motorized vehicles? Which governance frameworks and regulatory tools can we use to change transportation behaviors?
  2. How can we incorporate technology-enabled spatial analysis methods (such as location-based data analysis) and validate open data (e.g., census data, satellite data, GTFS data, POIs, etc.) to understand and respond to people’s public transportation needs in a responsible manner?
  3. What sources of data and methodologies are nowadays the most effective to use to calculate the modal share of a city?

Having both expert and public feedback allows for a holistic framing to fine-tune how researchers and policymakers gather and use data in a valuable and productive manner. With this information on the top questions, we have a foundation to guide evidence-based work and create meaningful data collaboration partnerships to improve the way cities are designed and provide inclusive and sustainable access to their residents.

Want to take part in data collaboration around mobility and transport issues? Professionals interested in collaborating should email contact@the100questions.org. For more information about the 100 Questions Initiative, visit the100questions.org or contact Stefaan Verhulst, lead of the initiative at sverhulst@thegovlab.org.

About the 100 Questions Initiative

The 100 Questions Initiative is presented by The Governance Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. This initiative seeks to map the world’s 100 most important questions in the most critical domains, such as gender, migration, and air quality, that could be answered if datasets and data science were unlocked and leveraged to their full potential, in a responsible manner. It is supported by a global advisory board comprising data science and subject matter experts from the public, corporate, and non-profit sectors. Members include Ciro Cattuto, scientific director of ISI Foundation; Gabriella Gómez-Mont, founder and former director at Laboratorio Para La Ciudad; Molly Jackman, leader of Content-Product Data Science and Engineering at Netflix; Vivienne Ming, founder of Socos Labs; Wilfred Ndifon, director of research at AIMS Global Network; Denice Ross, fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation; and Matthew Salganik, professor of sociology at Princeton University. For more information, visit the100questions.org or https://the100questions.org/faq

About The Governance Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering

The Governance Lab’s mission is to improve people’s lives by changing the way we govern. Our goal at The GovLab is to strengthen the ability of institutions — including but not limited to governments — and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively, and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems. We believe that increased availability and use of data, new ways to leverage the capacity, intelligence, and expertise of people in the problem-solving process, combined with new advances in technology and science, can transform governance. We approach each challenge and opportunity in an interdisciplinary, collaborative way, irrespective of the problem, sector, geography, and level of government. For more information, visit the thegovlab.org

About CAF — Development Bank of Latin America

CAF — Development Bank of Latin America is a development financial institution committed to improving the quality of life of all Latin Americans. CAF´s actions promote the sustainable development and integration of the region through loans, non-reimbursable technical assistance resources, and support in the technical and financial structuring of programs and projects in the public and private sectors in Latin America. CAF works in 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as in Spain and Portugal through 13 offices, to serve the region.

About the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative

TUMI is the leading global implementation initiative on sustainable mobility, formed through the union of 11 prestigious partners. Facilitated by GIZ and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Development (BMZ), TUMI’s vision is thriving cities with enhanced economic, social, and environmental performances in line with the New Urban Agenda, the Agenda 2030, and the Paris Agreement. TUMI is based on three pillars: innovation, knowledge, and investment. Website: www.transformative-mobility.org

About the New Urban Mobility Alliance

NUMO, the New Urban Mobility Alliance, is a global organization that channels tech-based disruptions in urban transport to create joyful cities where sustainable and just mobility is the new normal. Founded in 2019 as an outgrowth of the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, NUMO convenes diverse allies and leverages the momentum of significant revolutions in mobility to target urban issues — including equity, sustainability, accessibility, and labor — impacted by the shifting transportation landscape. NUMO is hosted by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Learn more at www.numo.global

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