Los Angeles, the city that is synonymous with car culture, is getting a citywide advisor on autonomous vehicles, rideshares, and bicycles.
At Fast Company‘s FC/LA counter-conference today, Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement while on stage with editor Robert Safian. The new position at Los Angeles’s Department of Transportation will be a year-long fellowship made possible by a grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation. According to the city of Los Angeles, the new advisor will be responsible for creating a citywide strategy for road safety, route efficiency, traffic regulation, and traffic enforcement. Most importantly, they’ll be responsible for crafting this into a government policy plan.
“It’s about time the car capital of the world planned for the future of transportation in the digital age–moving beyond the car to bikes, ride-shares, and autonomous vehicles,” said Mayor Garcetti in his announcement. City CTO Peter Marx, who previously worked on emerging technology products for Qualcomm, added that sample technologies Los Angeles could implement include autonomous vehicles, subways wired for Wi-Fi, and integrating electric vehicle chargers into streetlights.
Earlier this year, Mayor Garcetti announced plans to allow ride-sharing services like UberX to pick up passengers at LAX, and also entered into a data-sharing partnership with Waze.
Due to its sprawling size and decentralized nature (core urban areas like Santa Monica are independent, self-governing cities), Los Angeles’s transportation system poses a particular problem to urban planners. According to an interview with the Los Angeles Times last year, the city’s government is working on a project alongside Xerox to create a single payment card good for public transportation, taxis, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and bike-share programs.
Fast Company reported previously on the mass subway and light rail construction efforts currently underway in Los Angeles.