Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

SuperBlocks vs. C-V2X: Systems thinking in City Streets

With the rise of car-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, the cities with these services are now looking for the next “big thing”. Through systems thinking, Ford has created a product called C-V2X which “will enable our cars and cities of the future to share fast, safe, and secure communications”. This product will enable an increase in traffic flow and will open up more curb space within cities. Since the product uses data to determine these functions and changes, there will not need to be a change in city infrastructure. This will also increase safety on the streets by allowing other vehicles know of certain hazards. Currently, the navigation company, Waze, does have similar features, but they are elementary compared to the data that this product will provide. On the other hand, systems thinking is being discussed in Barcelona through the idea of “superblocks”. This plan has a goal to reduce traffic, pollution, and noise by redesigning traffic flow and restricting certain vehicles in certain areas. While both of these ideas implement systems thinking and redesigns, they are completely different in regards to the process taken to get to the same shared goal. What do you think about these two ideas? Will they work? Is one idea more viable than another? Are these ideas feasible at all?

Sources:

https://medium.com/cityoftomorrow/taking-back-the-streets-using-systems-thinking-to-return-our-city-streets-to-the-community-dc404cbee50f

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/17/superblocks-rescue-barcelona-spain-plan-give-streets-back-residents

3 Responses to SuperBlocks vs. C-V2X: Systems thinking in City Streets

  • I think C-V2X could work in the near future. We have the ability to connect all sorts of devices today and these devices can share an incredible amount of data with one another. If cars can share data with one another and with other devices around them, this will increase safety and decrease traffic especially in large cities. The superblock idea that Barcelona introduced is a great way to make cities more pedestrian friendly. I also believe this idea is feasible and something cities in the United States should implement. Cities that have limited car traffic on certain streets have seen an increase in commerce and decrease in air pollution. These two ideas can complement one another and ideally, in the future cities can implement both of them. C-V2X will be able to detect which streets are blocked off to through traffic and direct the driver accordingly. I have attached a video that explains the superblock idea and argues why cities in the United States should implement it.

    https://www.vox.com/2016/8/4/12342806/barcelona-superblocks

  • I think both ideas can be very viable in the real world scenario, especially when worked together. Today, we have depended so much on cars to get us from point A to point B, but their safety has become a concern. Adding on to safety, cars also pose a serious risks for pedestrians in many large urban cities, with numerous pedestrians accidents happening every year. What Ford is proposing with the C-V2X, can help redefine safety among both passengers and pedestrians. By having cars talk to each other, you will be able to increase safety and efficiency among your commute. I don’t think the data can stop there as cars can be able to adjust routes according to any issues that were to arise. To help support cities looking to go towards a superblock perspective, data from these car can help them analyze what roads are heavily used by cars and what areas of their city are heavily used by pedestrians. These two theories can go hand-in-hand too because autonomous cars can make sure traffic is often never used in the blocks focused more on pedestrians, and when needed use sensors to avoid any pedestrians related causes. I think both ideas are very realistic, but we have a better chance of seeing a superblock before we see cars sharing data with each other.

  • I think both of these ideas are definitely a viable future to be seen in the next handful of years. The interconnectivity of all the devices that exist today could easily portray a holistic view of the driving environment around us as a “digital view” in order to communicate best with drivers on the road. I assume the greatest issue at this point would be working out the kinks and simply getting an effective rollout of such a grand-scale project. The idea in Barcelona is another that definitely seems possible, but I definitely think this will be met with resistance. The typical difficulty of “organizational change” would be present here, with the city acting as the organization. Getting the businesses of the area on board along with the people will be problematic due to the humanly inherent attitude towards change.That being said, I know there are people/organizations with the ability to best guide these types of fundamental changes and would likely be able to do so with the best acceptance methods available. Thanks for sharing this, Leah, very interesting!

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