Edward D. Reiskin is the Director of Transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Ed is in charge of San Francisco entire municipal transit system and oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), public parking, traffic engineering, pedestrian planning, bicycle implementation, accessibility and taxi regulation.
The Smart Mobility 2018 team recently sat down with Mr. Reiskin to discuss all things mobility ahead of his appearance as a keynote speaker at the Smart Mobility Summit this February in San Jose, CA. Mr. Reiskin was asked to discuss how smart mobility can be used to solve a wide variety of transportation issues, its impact on infrastructure, the roadblocks to implementation, the priorities, the future of smart mobility and a number of other topics. Here is what Mr. Reiskin had to say on Smart Mobility.
What transportation issues does your state currently have that smart mobility will fix?
Safety and congestion are among our top challenges in San Francisco. We are not using our public rights-of-way as efficiently and safely as we should be to support the quality of life and economic vitality that we want.
How will smart mobility impact infrastructure? And what initiatives do you believe will have the greatest impact on current infrastructure?
Attracting people into more shared modes of transportation will reduce needs for on- and off-street parking and will enable us to further redesign our streets to better accommodate sustainable modes of transportation such as transit, bicycling, and walking. It could be a self-reinforcing cycle: improvements to sustainable modes of transportation reduce the need for infrastructure to support private automobiles, which in turn frees up space to better support sustainable modes of transportation.
What are the smart mobility roadblocks specifically impacting your sector? What changes and adaptations need to be made to accommodate?
Some current technology platforms are working in the wrong direction when it comes to safety, congestion, accessibility, equity, and other areas important to cities. A change in the regulatory environment to better align new modes of transportation are possible and necessary – the technology is already there.
What are your current priorities regarding smart technology initiatives?
Our main priority is to prepare our city for all emergency transportation services and technologies. We have established guiding principles, based on and supportive of existing city policy, to ensure smart technology initiatives work not just for the convenience of the individual but for the good of our city.
Where do you see the future of smart mobility heading and what do you think will be the leading reason for the changes that transportation will see?
Smart mobility is heading towards a future where people have good options for how they get around, good information about those options, and easy ability to access and pay for them, seamlessly. Leading reasons are that technologies exist today to enable this future to some extent; with the right policy framework, coordination, integration, and collaboration, that future can be achieved, all of which will be necessary for our city to grow sustainably and our residents, workers, and visitors to thrive. Current conditions with respect to congestion, safety, inequities, along with growing threats of climate change create the imperative for smart mobility done right.
What is one thing you hope someone who attends your speaking sessions will learn?
I want people to be mindful about the need to establish good ground rules to ensure that smart mobility works for cities and all of the people who live in them, especially those that are and have historically been disadvantaged. Just because something is innovative doesn’t mean it is good; we need to be deliberate in how we embrace, support, and advance smart mobility to ensure it does indeed work for the greater good.
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