Jeff Wood
Urban Must Reads

Bad Police Data and More Light Rail

The first installment in our new city-focused column.

By - Apr 29th, 2017 01:47 pm
A Google Self-Driving Car. Photo by Grendelkhan

A Google Self-Driving Car. Photo by Grendelkhan

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a new column from our partner The Direct Transfer. Curated by Jeff Wood, The Direct Transfer is a daily email newsletter focused on cities.

Every day at The Direct Transfer we sort through over 1,500 news items about cities and share the best ones with our email list. At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and share them with Urban Milwaukee readers. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Want autonomous vehicles sooner? Update your infrastructure

The technology for autonomous vehicles is coming fast, with new innovations seemingly revealed each week. One problem, however, is that many of these vehicles depend on up-to-date infrastructure and safety markings to guide their path.  If we can’t keep lanes painted, the future is likely to be delayed (Salon). Read more.

Police data is biased

Predictive policing tries to show where crimes might happen in the future. It seems like a great idea until you see that the underlying data is biased because of decades of existing cultural prejudices and systemic racism. To prove this point, a team from The New Inquiry built its own predictive policing program and used existing white collar crime data to determine that midtown Manhattan and the financial district were criminal hotbeds (Fast Company Design). Read more.

Fighting tech employment sprawl with transit

Suburban campuses have become a staple of Silicon Valley’s growth over the last few decades.  Unfortunately that trend has led to even more traffic and less certainty in the commute.  A new report by Bay Area advocacy group SPUR says more tech companies should locate near transit lines to stem the growth of traffic and support more sustainable transportation options (Governing Magazine). Read more.

Public private partnerships have big pros and cons

Transportation and infrastructure projects that governments and private companies collaborate to fund often seem like safe bets for pension funds. They’re also boons to governments that don’t have the political will to make hard choices about funding. But these arrangements come with several known problems, two big ones being that they often include tolls, which people don’t like, and that political interests can change during projects (Economist). Read more.

Nashville Mayor signals future election for light rail

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has indicated that an election is on the horizon to approve transit expansion in the region that includes light rail. The first transit corridor slated for construction, if approved by voters, would be along the most heavily traveled bus route running in dedicated lanes (Tennessean). Read more.

Quote of the Week

“We’re not making a city policy argument here. We’re being very blunt about maybe the only thing that will make this city run better—around three times as many people need to bike for our planning to make sense.”

Matthew Korfhage in the Willamette Week discussing Portland’s transportation future

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Categories: Urban Must Reads

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