Secretive Alphabet Division Taking Control Of Public Transit?

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This article claims that Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet, is offering its cloud software to cities to upgrade bus and parking services and bring them under Google’s management.

Sidewalk Labs, a secretive subsidiary of Alphabet, wants to radically overhaul public parking and transportation in American cities, emails and documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. Its high-tech services, which it calls “new superpowers to extend access and mobility”, could make it easier to drive and park in cities and create hybrid public/private transit options that rely heavily on ride-share services such as Uber. But they might also gut traditional bus services and require cities to invest heavily in Google’s own technologies, experts fear.
 

Mav451

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This part is particularly interesting, if you have experience with permitting:
The contract glosses over likely political resistance to Google transforming and managing city services. “During the demo period,” it reads, “the City will be responsible for … clearing policy hurdles in order to make implementations possible.” For instance, Sidewalk requires cities signing it to establish policies allowing minimum parking requirements to be reduced for developers or businesses contributing to the transit fund. Demand-based pricing for parking could also require legislative action.
Shouldn't surprise anyone that things usually inhibiting developers (confusing/slow permitting schedule) are greased and expedited in this case - to increase possibility of success anyway.
Not that Sidewalk Labs needs help - I'd trust private industry to work faster/more efficiently than the public sector, every time.
 

Dunnlang

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Google is home to more abandonware than I care to think about. So many parts of Android are just left to rot on the vine. They start with a great idea, then leave it in perpetual beta. Sometimes we are lucky and the beta is fully serviceable, other times it just ends up breaking over time and never quite works how it should.

Google as a company has become accustomed to not having to actually produce a working product. That will not work for actual transportation infrastructure. Some things are best left to the government who are actually accountable to the people and for their actions.
 

Dunnlang

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Government and Accountability....hmmmmmmmm
Snicker all you like. At least governments are beholden to Freedom of Information, have open budgets and provide you with a vote.

Maybe you should try moving to Illinois with their privatized automated red light cameras. They are so lovely and budget efficient. They also work wonderfully by never ticketing the innocent. Also, it never costs more to fight the ticket than to pay it. /s
 

pothb

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Snicker all you like. At least governments are beholden to Freedom of Information, have open budgets and provide you with a vote.

Maybe you should try moving to Illinois with their privatized automated red light cameras. They are so lovely and budget efficient. They also work wonderfully by never ticketing the innocent. Also, it never costs more to fight the ticket than to pay it. /s
You say that, but isn't it also part government. I mean, some random guy or company can't just add red light cameras and send out tickets, right?
 

Armenius

I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital
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For instance, Sidewalk requires cities signing it to establish policies allowing minimum parking requirements to be reduced for developers or businesses contributing to the transit fund.
Great, so they want to "encourage" people to use transit by decreasing available parking. Sounds reasonable to me.
 

amddragonpc

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Snicker all you like. At least governments are beholden to Freedom of Information, have open budgets and provide you with a vote.

Maybe you should try moving to Illinois with their privatized automated red light cameras. They are so lovely and budget efficient. They also work wonderfully by never ticketing the innocent. Also, it never costs more to fight the ticket than to pay it. /s

LOL. I live in Illinois. I wasn't snickering, by the way. That was the WTF look.
 

Armenius

I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital
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I believe you're looking for the i-word, incentivize haha.
Well incentivize would imply that you're getting something in return. What do people using the transit get in return instead of driving their own cars? People are getting the short end of the stick on this one.
 
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