Sally Eaves 

Good afternoon everyone. It's my real pleasure. I'm Sally Eaves. I'm a doctrine emergent technology. CTO. Absolutely Pleasure here to introduce this afternoon's session, a topic very close to my heart. And I think it's very important to really make this so accessible to people. We've got a great panel here to bring this topic to life. So we're going to be focusing on mobility, and really how to bring the real world applications and mobility to the fore, and our panelists Hardik Bhatt, who is the Smart Cities vertical lead, Amazon Web Services, we also have Seleta Reynolds, who's doing a fantastic job in Los Angeles, as we speak, was General Manager of the Department of Transportation. And of course, last but certainly not least, we have Marcus Welz who CEO of Siemens Mobility IPS, in North America. Just to give a little bit of an overview really, mobility is such a critical topic. When we look at our cities, we look at our transportation systems, there are a great number of challenges at the moment. Some of them are around congestion. Some of them are around traffic control, some of them around pollution, we need to address that technology can be amazing enabler to overcome these challenges, but we need to share about this we need to share knowledge and I think to start off with Let's look at AI, machine learning and big data. Let's take away the hype. Look at the reality. And I think Marcus, perhaps we could start with you and look at some examples of what's happening there to make a difference.

 

Marcus Welz 

Yeah, absolutely. So Hello, everyone, I live in Austin, Texas. And this is one of many places where nowadays data is the more valuable than oil when it's enhanced with artificial intelligence and machine learning. So it's all about drawing valuable insights from data that already exists in our transportation systems, and in assets to provide a solution for something currently not solved. So when we talk about big data and smart cities is not about connecting everything with everything else, we have to come from the use case and have to solve the come pleat, new problems. So and this is why we have built what we call a digital lab. And we made it to a vision to bring state of the art artificial intelligence into the IPS and into the transportation industry. And it's a team composed of dozens of data scientists, data analysts, and software developers which are building cloud based architecture which can be integrated with the existing infrastructure. And one of the example is where we have created value together with our customers by using connected vehicle raw data in the US the OT pilot project in Tampa, where besides the use cases, which have already been part of that project, we built a mechanism to identify near misses and the near miss is a very important KPI for road traffic operators to make traffic way more safe. And but we could actually take that one step further by using data for simulation to actually predict and prevent congestion. Combined combining patterns of historic traffic data and real data feeds from infrastructure, cell phone data, satellite data, we can paint a very accurate picture of the upcoming traffic situation on an intersection on a corridor or in a complete city. And with that, we can help The operators of a city control room to actually deploy congestion mitigation strategies. First, in the virtual world, knowing the impact what these congestion mitigation strategy might be before this is actually put into we about operations. And those congestion mitigation strategies could be redirecting traffic, or changing the patterns on a traffic light, closing a lane, and we enable the cities to simulate this and simulate the impacts of those before it's put into operation.

 

Sally Eaves 

Fantastic. Thank you a great example there as well about how tech is integrated. I think so often we talk about one particular type of technology. I love the way that's really bringing the integration to the fore. I think next, perhaps we could talk about the software aspect, I think from an AWS perspective would be fantastic to dive into that.

 

Hardik Bhatt 

Absolutely. No, thank you very much, Sally, and thank you very much CT and CS. So as Sally was talking about, I am part of AWS and AWS is as we talked about, Basically how cloud computing got started. And we are all about data, but then data in the absence of customer really doesn't make sense. So if you think about Amazon, and when Amazon thinks about what we want to deliver, it's always in the context of the customer. Whether it is an Amazon goal, which is basically you can simply pick up what you want and walk out from the store without waiting in the checkout line or whether the Amazon wants to invest in one day deliveries because you know, we want something that we want right away. It's always driven from the context of what our customers want. Same thing, I lead our digital government business for the US, state and local governments. And that's what we are seeing in our customers. I was before AWS. I was a CIO for the state of Illinois. I also have in the CIO for the city of Chicago. And in both cases, whether it's the city where the rubber meets the road, or whether it's sustained Mostly the elected officials as well as the the the leaders within those governments are also in the service business and are thinking from the customers perspective. So, when we think about mobility and the use of data and AI, it always goes back to how are we solving the customer problem, which is, obviously the elected officials, the leaders are the customers, but it's the it's the user of the mobility services is what we are always thinking about, and how do we provide that services. So whether the city of Louisville, Kentucky who have solved the traffic analysis problem using AI and the machine learning learning algorithms, or Kansas City who has solved the problem of the road surface management and maintenance and reducing cost, and that using machine learning algorithms, it's always about how are we solving those problems. And that's basically at the crux of how we think about solving problems and how we should all thinking about solving problem. The person who was trying to go from point A to point B or the package that's trying to go from point A Point B, how can we make it easiest, faster, smoother, to get that from point A to point B?

 

Sally Eaves 

Fantastic, really, I love the fact there about the community voice really coming to the fore, and really enabling choice. So informed decision making. I love that, I think also related to that partnership. So from an LA perspective, it'd be fantastic to share some of the work you're really, really doing to actualize mobility in your city, and share some of the partnerships that are helping to make that happen.

 

Seleta Reynolds 

Sure. So cities do some pretty basic things, all cities do these basic things, we plan and invest and build infrastructure, we operate that infrastructure, and then we regulate entities that want to operate on top of that. And up until now, that's sort of been enough. And we've been sort of the only ones doing those things on our streets. But now, we've got a huge sort of unprecedented amount of investment in mobility coming through private companies, and our job at cities is to be really clear about what problems we're trying to solve and what outcomes we want. So it led ot We've said it's pretty simple. We want to build safe, beautiful streets. So 250 people die each year on the streets that we manage and operate. About half of those deaths are the most vulnerable folks, people walking. We want to continue to build physical infrastructure. But we also want to build digital infrastructure that helps manage people's mobility that gives them real choices to connect them to opportunity, because mobility and transportation, it's not a money making endeavor, I'm sorry, to all of the companies in the audience he might be. But the return on investment for mobility is indirect, because it's about connecting people to opportunities, allowing them to have real economic mobility to pull their families up out of poverty, to keep their families from falling into poverty, to achieve their dreams, all of those things. And that really has to be about managing mobility and not just delivering infrastructure. And then the last thing we're trying to do is be a really great place to work and workforce development in the future of the people who are doing these jobs. Could Be more important. And under underpinning all of those is that we are trying to correct historic racial and socio economic inequities. So this is a really tall order. And I haven't even mentioned climate change or public health or any of the other things we're trying to solve. And we won't solve them if we stay in our public and private silos. So we've been able to sort of go out and use partnerships and actually technology and the data that we already receive and kind of Breathe in and breathe out to accomplish some really interesting things. So for example, we dynamically change the price of parking, using partnerships that we have with private companies and also data based on how busy it is. So if a lot of people want to park in an area, the parking becomes more expensive. If there aren't a lot of folks who are trying to park there, it becomes less expensive, because what we're trying to do is have about 20% parking availability at any given time, because that's really important for local businesses. The problem though, is that up until Till now, the things that we've counted have been mostly cars. And so the other partnership we have with Toyota mobility Foundation, is to take all of our existing traffic cameras, and use those to get some really good counts of people walking and people biking, which up until now look something like this. So I would hire an army of interns, they would all have clipboards with literally clickers mechanical clickers on four corners, and they would stand on the corner and tally each person who walked or biked by. and cameras were really hard substitute for that, because what they were doing was just, they would film a day. And then the same thing would happen, you would put that intern in a room with a film, and they would still have that same counter. And so that was a nice improvement, but didn't get us all the way there. So what we're doing now is using sort of that partnership, to actually do the counts, using machine learning and to do them in a really sophisticated way because in the real world You have to make a decision about how to count a woman who is pushing a shopping cart the wrong way in a bike lane. The same way that you know, you have to figure out how to count and classify all these different users. It's really important, because it drives decisions we make that affect real people's lives. And that could save real people's lives.

 

Sally Eaves 

Absolutely brilliant point. And I thought we could really talk about that for quite some time. But we're going to move on to our second topic. Now. That's autonomous driving, kind of one of the big mega trends we've been talking about in the lead up to CES. And certainly at the moment, most people consider in level two particular relation to cars, obviously, and we've got challenges, for example, legal frameworks, getting standardization around that ethics around decisions if something goes wrong. So little roadblock roadblocks along the way. Excuse the analogy, but um, how do you think that we can move to more levels three to five? And I think rail was a great example where we were kind of already there, but maybe Marcus, if you could look at that question. I think that'd be a great one to move on to.

 

Marcus Welz 

Yeah, well, I think nothing really has to be We have already made level five autonomous driving a reality on rail. So, taken for granted that I mean, there was a complete other level of complexity when we talk about autonomous driving on public roads, but certainly what we have learned and observed from autonomous driving on rails instead it can have a very positive impact on cost of operation of any transportation system. One key aspect for of make making autonomous vehicle on roads happen, besides all the technologies which go into the vehicle is also looking at the infrastructure and ultimately enabling the infrastructure to integrate autonomous vehicles safely and efficiently. So we've all heard the disturbing news of the first death of a pedestrian struck by self driving vehicles already two years back in temporary Sona. So in this case, neither the machine learning algorithms or the forward looking sensors nor the live abroad could prevent that accident from happening. And this is exactly where smart infrastructure, or more precisely connected vehicle infrastructure comes into play. Because with the projects we have already realized, in cities like New York or in Tampa, or in states, like Michigan, we have building an use case and an application for connected vehicle technology where pedestrians vulnerable road users getting detected, and the warning is sent to the driver if a pedestrian is stepping to the intended path. So by constantly comparing the movement of vulnerable road users with the precision the direction and the speed of the vehicle, we can plot potential crash trajectories in real time and inform the vehicle whether it is human driver or robot to to break and so in very simple terms, we can predict accidents and can prevent collisions from happening. And maybe just one slide comment on autonomous driving. It's certainly the technology of the moment and I think it can vary Well be a part of the answer on how to improve the mobility situation, our cities. But we also have to think about the impact because frankly, thousands of self driving vehicles are still thousands of vehicles in a traffic jam with no human driver is still a traffic jam. So rather than thinking one for one, rather than thinking on how a self driving vehicle could replace an individual car for private usage, I think a perfect use case for a self driving vehicle is looking to enhance public transport solutions for to address the first and last mile issues, because one of the biggest challenges of public transit systems is getting access to as many people as possible and self driving vehicle could certainly address this in a very cost efficient way.

 

Sally Eaves 

Thank you. And then perhaps from a Los Angeles perspective, be great to share some of your thoughts about what you think is working really well. what some of your challenges you faced on were just looking ahead a little bit from from an autonomous driving perspective.

 

Seleta Reynolds 

Sure. So you know, I'm glad you brought up the crash in Tempe because it was tragic. And the NTSB report that came out recently actually does a pretty good job of highlighting the fact that it was really a series of decisions by humans that failed. the traveling public and that woman lost her life and the technology itself is neutral. And it can be used in a variety of ways and what my takeaway from that entire incident was that there is not nearly enough discipline and accountability and rigor being brought to the conversation of how autonomous vehicles are actually going to achieve safety outcomes. If they cannot do simple things like anticipate and break for a person crossing the street if half of the people who die in Los Angeles every year are on foot, then until we take that problem seriously, which I think is a two fold problem. It is both a technology problem and I think there was a also an article out from AAA not too long ago that the breaking the sort of breaking technology that is supposed to anticipate and break for pedestrians failed about 60% of the time for adults and 100% of the time for children. And part of the reason for that is that we have a form factor problem to the cars are larger, their grills are higher up off the ground. If you are shorter, if you are less April, if you are less visible, and you get hit by a car, you are more likely to have a serious head injury or to die from that collision than even 10 or 15 years ago. So I think there's a there are a lot of things to pick apart around sort of this utopian vision that autonomous vehicles are, will really make a big difference. I think that there is a lot of important conversation to be had around goods movement and goods delivery. I think that that by itself is changing fundamentally the way people use our mobility systems. And there are a lot of opportunities to automate different parts of that interaction which I think could be really interesting. But until we have a serious reckoning about, you know, the the causes and solutions for, you know, pedestrian crashes and things that are happening fatalities. We know what the solutions are right now today. And we could have them in place if we were having that conversation.

 

Sally Eaves 

Yes, absolutely. I think that's also a great point around trust as well, in terms of, you know, when we're talking about these subjects, we have to have trust, of course, everybody's involved to make sure we want to be able to use that as well. So I think that's a big part of the conversation too. related to the last point, I think maybe now talking about seamless mobility might be a good topic to focus on. And people the expectations of travel, and their everyday life experience is changing. And we want that seamless experience the ability to change between one mode to another in the same way as we are shopping, for example. So for example, holiday pressure come to you on this one. What do you think, is the next steps in seamless mobility, what you feel what the areas you're focusing on the challenges and the opportunities? No, absolutely.

 

Hardik Bhatt 

I think there are two areas one is and in both of them connect back to infrastructure and the role of the public sector. So we talk a lot about the the innovation that comes from the private sector when it comes to autonomous vehicles and the mobility and everything else. We work with the City of San Jose on a pilot where their infrastructure in fact there is traffic light infrastructure is is very good. I mean, I don't have to wait for the signal to turn green. If there is no traffic on the other side, it automatically turns green, the nice emergency vehicle preemption technology also implemented there. What how we wanted to help or how they wanted help was they wanted to get as much reimbursement as possible for providing emergency services from the county. And for that, they wanted to make sure that they capture all of the parts of the different aspects of data. And then they can create they can show that point A to point B, the emergency vehicle went from started at this time reached it here and with the change The emergency vehicle preemption technology, it saved three minutes every trip or on average. And that means that it saved X number of more lives based on the calculation. And that changes the presentation that you are making to the county. So that's one way of looking at you have the infrastructure you need to now start connecting the the session topic is connecting the dots and we need to start connecting the dots because when it comes to seamless mobility, you have multiple players at generating multiple types of data. You need to make sure that you are connecting that. Another example is take any expressway corridor whether it is I-5 in Seattle, I-19, Chicago, LA, you have multiple entities that are players in their rather raise the local public safety entities like police, fire EMS, you have the private about public image, a hospital entities, everything else. You've got the transportation department at the state level at the county level at the city level. All of them have data sitting in their own silos and for the driver. It really Doesn't matter where the data goes, I mean, the data has to connect because I am connecting from point A to point B. So we are now seeing a lot of these jurisdictions coming together, building a data lake and building machine learning and AI algorithms using multi jurisdictional data that's happening in multiple of these corridors. And lastly, coming back to how we are seeing cities kind of starting to connect dots, because there is mobility, but then a city has a responsibility of everything from public safety, to mobility to Health and Human Services and so on and so forth. So we are also seeing that cities are now starting to connect that because mobility, your your economic mobility is important, as well as the educational mobility. So basically, we are also starting to see cities like Kansas City, and others and even cities like Virginia Beach, they are starting to connect dots between these various verticals through data. And that's what I think we are going to start seeing a lot more focused If we are connecting the dots for mobility, we need to connect the data coming from different aspects. And that will kind of drive the next round of innovations.

 

Sally Eaves 

Great examples. Thank you. And perhaps Marcus, can I come back to you on that question as well?

 

Marcus Welz 

Yeah, I think the best way to conceptualize these changes is looking at the American road trip. I mean, the road trip has been a constant through our culture, right. So I mean, you could argue we had road trips, even before we had roads. But the and if you think about an American road trip, we always immediately think about the car. But technology is not only transforming the car technology is remaking the quintessential American road trip. So there is this pattern that good things must be somewhat painful. And I believe the public transit in many of our US cities is somewhat painful. By do don't many people want to get into something that doesn't start where you want it to start. It doesn't leave I wanted to leave it doesn't end way wanting to end it doesn't go all the time. So people decide to go in car and get stuck in traffic, but we need an efficient and attractive transit system to improve the overall mobility situation in cities. And this is why we are focusing so much on mobility as a service. And that we, we want to enable cities to integrate all modes of transportation into one system, and help cities to offer to the citizens and visitors door to door mobility to help you understand what I mean just think about how you got here today, maybe your grab your phone, Hail the car and to join CS. Or if you're living in a bit further outside the city, then you may took your car in order to take a train and then walk. I mean what we have done in cities like Columbus, we have integrated all the existing modes of transportation, so cars, buses, trains, right tailing car sharing, bike sharing into one system so that citizens and visitors can grab the phone, planet trip booklets And pay a trip truly end to end using intermodal solutions with one app. And this was one key differentiator for the city to do that having their own app, because then they can, let's say have access also to the riders of the system, they can get feedback about the various transportation service and frankly, only be such technologies. Cities stay on top of the various mobility solution and can own let's say, what is really happening and, and, and it gives a lot of advantages to ride us and also supports the transit system ultimately. So when we talk about first to last mile and everything in between, I think this is a good example how to do that.

 

Sally Eaves 

Fantastic, thank you some great examples of intermodal mobility and props kind of drawing on that. What one final questions later about the difficulties or challenges you experienced with different types of providers, so public sector and private institutions coming together to deal with those kind of issues?

 

Seleta Reynolds 

Yeah, you know, we we tried to we were working with a private sector partner and tried to put together a similar app in Los Angeles that failed spectacularly partially because, you know, it's it's very difficult to get sort of widespread adoption of another new app. And, and also, but the second problem was the relative willingness or unwillingness of various private sector players to be listed against their competitors in a single mobility marketplace. And what that revealed to me one of the the two key takeaways there were, number one, the hidden sort of nut to crack to get to true door to door sort of seamless mobility is payments, having integrated payment on the back end and having one way to pay for everything is really important. And when you've got sort of legacy systems inside public transit agencies, which are many of whom are sort of trapped through monopolistic kind of agreements with certain vendors, and then you've got, you know, various platforms on each that are proprietary for each Private mobility operator, the trick is going to be figuring out and I think this has to happen at a state level or perhaps a federal level, how can we figure out that payments piece, because the the real problem around door to door is that if you have means, if you have money, if you live in certain parts of the city, you already have mobility as a service, you have seamless door to door, you have choices, you can pay for those choices. You're not as price sensitive, and you save time, and you're able to recapture that. But the second takeaway for us was really that that wasn't so much that that sort of one app wasn't going to be maybe our lane for led IoT. And really, we decided that our Lane was going to be figuring out how to create the connective tissue between the the analog API's and the physical world, the stop signs, the concrete, the steel, the traffic lights, and the digital version of our set of our streets and of the public realm. And so we built a system called the mobility data specifications. And we built it an open source as a way to start creating a sort of digital version of the city, that private companies can come into the city and operate, they can call the city's API and get information about, you know, where we might have a street closure or where we might have a protest happening or where we might want to change the operation of a street. Really as a catalyst for innovation. We wanted to create something that was consistent that was a single source of digital truth, so that companies could come in to Los Angeles and if they were compliant with MDS, bring your delivery robots bring your air taxis bring your scooters, because we have this sort of consistent platform and through that platform, we can express our values and our policies. If we want more deployment into a certain neighborhood or certain area that's being underserved, then we can immediately see that that's not happening and we can start to create the incentives and disincentives to show kind of nudge the the market in the direction that we want. Wonderful. Yeah.

 

Hardik Bhatt 

Can I add to one points Seleta mentioned. So one of the things that she says she, they build the solution using open source and hopefully it's available to all the municipalities across the country or the glow, and we are seeing a lot more of those things happening. I mentioned briefly the city of Louisville, Kentucky, developing a traffic analysis solution. That solution is built using open source code is available on GitHub, any municipality can basically download that set that up, set the environment up, get the data from ways and basically start doing traffic detour mapping or traffic signal interval, timing and everything else using machine learning algorithms that Louie will spend so much time building and we have seen so many such repeatable solutions. So either available on the on the open source forums or available on places like AWS marketplace or other marketplaces that will help accelerate solution in this space because 80% of the things municipalities do, whatever. I mean, it's similar, we can really use a lot more reusable solutions, like Absolutely. I think that sharing

 

Sally Eaves 

Is absolutely key, unfortunately, running short of time. So maybe one kind of quick takeaway. And that was a great starting point. I thoroughly believe in civic tech, and every voice being at the table. So perhaps for each of you, one quick takeaway, what were you think, and I do a lot of work with you and around tech for social good. So 2030 is quite a nice framework to work with. So maybe over over that time period, where do you think we are going to be with the key three themes we've been looking at today?

 

Hardik Bhatt 

So on top of what I just said, The other key thing is I, again, going back to the public sector leaders, and that's what we're hearing. And we are then repeating what we're hearing from them is data is going to be the key. It's going to be what's going to connect the dots and we don't need to treat data as a new thing. Because the the the autonomous vehicles are going to generate set of data That has to connect with petabytes of data that are already sitting with the cities and states and counties. How do you How will you start kind of making sense of that? So let's not treat data as new data is there. Let's start using it better.

 

Sally Eaves 

Absolutely.

 

Seleta Reynolds 

Yeah. I mean, I hope that, you know, we've been able to rebuild and reform our infrastructure so that nobody dies on our streets. I hope that we've been able to lift up and empower voices and leaders so that the leadership of our cities looks more like the people who live in our cities. And, you know, I hope that mobility is really a means to advance the common good and the collective good and not be sort of caught up in a race for constantly individualizing sort of people's people's one on one efficiencies. Wonderful. Thank you. Thank you.

 

Marcus Welz 

Yeah, so I think I mean, we've all seen the futuristic scenarios and having a cities with self driving vehicles, no infrastructure and magically all cars approaching the internet. I mean pass without creating an accident. Honestly, I don't think I will experience such a scenario within my lifetime. But what I believe is that that we have already proven and reliable infrastructure such as signs, signals, sensors and detectors, but they will all be equipped with more it technology. And they will all be more integrated and and talking to each other. Right. So, and we will certainly and already today we have digital twins of the existing infrastructure. So it's not only the driver of a vehicle watching the traffic light, it's also the vehicle or the traffic light providing the information to the vehicle. If it isn't an impending red light violation. I think the point is, while road trips are still often painful, and include too many fatal accidents, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. And that's the core of our vision to build a mobility operating system for smart cities based on data driven digital traffic and fleet management, where we integrate the various infrastructure elements more holistically and ultimately provide better trips faster trips. more reliable and safer trips.

 

Sally Eaves 

Wonderful, thank you, I think just a personal one for me, let's work together using technology to really move from, for example, the Smart City concept to one for smart society. So it comes to me just say thank you for the awesome panel here. It's been really fantastic discussion. And really, we want this to be the start of a conversation, not the end of one. So in a minute, we've got a coffee break. So everybody here I know, is really welcome to to continue these conversations. And let's move this forward. Everybody here is on Twitter, on social media, we want to carry on this and make change happen. And to do that we have to work collectively and set up a massive part to help make that happen. And also we got the Siemens booth as well, which is number 813 in the West Gate paradise center. So thank you so much for being part of this conversation and please feel free to join in and carried on. Thank you

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