UMii Report: innovation in the North and Latin America regions

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The Urban Mobility Innovation Index (UMii) Final Report was released on 9 November 2017. Sponsored by the Roads & Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) and implemented by UITP in partnership with Future Cities Catapult, UMii seeks to empower city leaders to implement urban mobility policies and measures that are relevant to their ecosystem and enable innovation, whilst promoting knowledge sharing and dialogue.

Distinguishing itself from other surveys by focusing on good practices sharing instead of pure competition ranking, the UMii Report illustrates the performance of the 30 cities according to the maturity level of their innovation ecosystem.The index has been based on the testing of nine innovation levers divided in three categories: readiness, deployment and liveability. A contextual dimension was taken into consideration for each city when evaluating the performances in the different domains.

The results of the survey will be presented in a series of six different news articles, covering the regions in which the UMii cities are located and their specificities. The second article of the UMii series covers the North America and Latin America regions, in parallel with our UMii forum being held in California at LA CoMotion.

                  Los Angeles                                      Chicago                                           Montréal

Leading by engaging

Cradle of some of the most important recent technologies, the United Stated of America has often been seen as a land of innovation. The opening of the LaCoMotion event on Wednesday 15 November in Los Angeles, California will showcase new examples of the American approach to progress.

From New York, to Chicago and, of course, Los Angeles itself, the USA is well represented in the recent UMii Report, but they were not the only UMii cities in what was once called the ‘New World’. Indeed, the innovation ecosystem of the mobility sector in Montréal, Mexico City and Sao Paulo were also scrutinised in the report… and the results are inspiring!

If there is one element that really stands out for these six cities, in terms of innovation in mobility, it is the engagement of stakeholders at all stages of the process. Indeed all of them have, each in their own ways, found different approaches to engage users and third parties, especially startups. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is a good example of this involvement. Not only are they inviting users to create their own alternative future scenarios through workshops, but they are also closely collaborating with the University of Chicago which has created a $20 million ‘innovation fund’ to invest in viable ventures.

If there is one element that really stands out for these six cities, in terms of innovation in mobility, it is the engagement of stakeholders at all stages of the process

                    New York                                       Mexico City                                      Sao Paolo


 

Extradordinary offices for remarkable results

The establishment of an innovation fund is also a strategy put forward by the city of Montréal to support startups that are working on developing solutions to urban challenges, including transport. Montréal is also counting on its Smart City department to help foster innovation, an approach also taken by the city Los Angeles with its now famous Office of Extraordinary Innovation. The latter is working on projects such as Mobility on demand and ‘Microtransit’, but also on developing new ways and mechanisms to improve user involvement.

A similar creative mindset is driving the New York Department of Transport, which on its part has been engaging users directly on the ground with its Street Teams, collecting data on their experiences with the transport network. All of the city's data related to transport is then shared on the New York Department Open Data platform for third parties to develop new innovation.

Mexico City has unified all the data between the different operators, modes of transport and agencies into the city’s system using an open–source application. However, it is the ‘Laboratorio para la Ciudad’, a department dedicated to providing users with a platform to test and experiment with innovatiive ideas, which really is the main initiative to engage citizens in improving their transport network.

Launching a laboratory is also what the state of Sao Paulo did with its ‘E Lab – Experiments in Transportation’. Focused on collaborating with startups, the authorities of Sampa also offer an incubator (MobiLab) and organise hackathons to bring together experts, software developers and technologists to ideate and create solutions for mobility challenges in the city.

The six cities from the Americas presented in the UMii Final Report are leaders in engaging all stakeholders in innovating to provide mobility solutions to users. They each have specificities and challenges, but the approach they are implementing is adapted to their own realities and needs. 

Read the full UMii Final Report here!

Don't miss the International Rail Forum for North America in Washington D.C. from 7-8 December 2017! Register today to participate in a global discourse about best practices in rail and how to implement them in the region. 

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