Still, some cities are open-minded to the idea of a virtual command center. “We’re not on the same points as L.A. on a lot of things,” said Noah Siegel, the interim deputy director of Portland’s bureau of transportation. In contrast with L.A., Portland’s city council recently released a set of privacy principles that will inform how all of its agencies handle personal data. “But I think the twinning approach is a strong starting point for discussion. The notion that cities should direct trips based on the system as a whole isn’t outrageous.”
For their part, the cities joining OMF say that they hope to learn about what their peers are doing with data, and to have a role in shaping important conversations about the future of urban mobility. “Reasonable minds can differ over certain facts, but I don’t think that should distract from larger visions,” said Siegel in Portland. “As public leaders, we need to have public regulations, and MDS is one tool that will help us get there.”
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