The Innovation Plan
Sidewalk Labs has a comprehensive six-part vision to integrate street design and placemaking, innovative policy, and transportation technologies — new and old — to provide a broad menu of affordable choices for every trip, reducing the need to own a car and setting a bold new course for urban mobility.
The first step towards achieving this vision of balanced mobility is to focus on expanding traditional public transit. No other transportation mode can carry as many people, as efficiently and affordably, through a dense urban environment. Sidewalk Labs proposes innovative financing mechanisms that do not rely solely on public funding and can accelerate existing plans for light rail expansions.
The next step is to make neighborhoods like Quayside even more pedestrian- and bike-friendly than comparable downtown areas, stitching the waterfront back into the city and connecting people to a range of jobs and essential daily needs through walking or cycling. Taken together, transit extensions and walking and cycling improvements should allow almost all residents of Quayside to meet their daily travel needs without a car.
The critical third step is to help households make the occasional car trip without owning a car. A new generation of ride-hail services makes it possible to serve these trips at a far lower cost than privately owned cars do today, without adding more vehicles to city streets, through pricing that encourages sharing. These services are poised to become even more convenient and affordable with the prospect of self-driving technology.
Self-driving vehicles could become both widely available and demonstrably safer than today’s drivers over the next 15 years. Their ability to operate as fleets or shared services could enable cities to recapture most of the street space once devoted to parking, and to repurpose this space for bike lanes, wider sidewalks, transit services, or pick-ups and drop-offs that would make it easier to live comfortably in the city without owning a car.
Another set of benefits would come from freight and management innovations. To help keep trucks off local streets, Sidewalk Labs plans to create a logistics hub connected to neighbourhood buildings through underground delivery tunnels.
And to coordinate the entire mobility system, Sidewalk Labs proposes a new public entity that uses real-time traffic management tools, pricing policies, and an integrated mobility package to encourage transit, walking, cycling, and shared trips.
Finally, as a foundation for this entire system, Sidewalk Labs proposes a people-first street network specifically designed to keep traffic moving while enhancing safety, comfort, and street life for pedestrians and cyclists.