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The Future of Mobility: Remaking Buffalo for the 21st Century

December 09, 2020

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By David Dixon, Greg Rodriguez and Ralph DeNisco

New mobility paradigms are set to unfold over the next two decades—what can cities learn from Buffalo's approach to preparation?

Emerging transportation technology like automated vehicles, e-scooters, and dynamic parking pricing are accelerating changes in how we design, operate, and plan for mobility in our cities. In its strategy to get ahead of the curve, the City of Buffalo asked, “how can we and similar communities across North America start today to put these transformational mobility innovations to work, unlocking a new era of opportunity, access, and equity?” 

In February 2020, our team participated in a week-long charrette in collaboration with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and the City of Buffalo to answer that question. We spent the week exploring how advancements in mobility can unlock a new generation of mixed-use, mixed-income development that nurtures an innovation economy, social equity, and inclusion. Over the course of the charrette, industry experts from companies like Ford, AAA, and Via, community leaders, elected and appointed officials, citizens of Buffalo, and diverse advocates participated in lively conversations, presented ideas, and outlined various scenarios on how to implement financially feasible ideas for the City.

Following those discussions, we’ve created a report detailing the themes and ideas stemming from the charrette as well as reviewed existing reports, codes, and policies to determine the recommendations for making Buffalo’s vision of its future a reality. The recommendations within the report embrace the spirit and intent of policies and strategies already in place, while proposing additional measures to ensure that they can provide even more effective guidance in the midst of a rapidly changing world. Below are the recommendations found in the report:

  • Establish Lower Main Street mobility and equity innovation zone
  • Create east-west and north-south smart mobility spines
  • Accelerate re-imagining of downtown streets as public spaces for 21st century
  • Create new benchmark for Universal Design
  • Manage the curb for high people volumes, not cars
  • Marry Green Code with smart mobility
  • Create a mobility and equity innovation zone urban design framework
  • Create a Buffalo strategic development fund
  • Incorporate workforce readiness, education, and training

To provide feedback on the report, please send an email to contact@raceforplacebuffalo.com.

  • David Dixon

    Residential Architecture Magazine named David to their Hall of Fame as “the person we call to ask about cities"

    Contact David
  • Greg Rodriguez

    With his experience as an attorney, Greg provides regulatory and policy guidance to clients as they develop the policies and operational frameworks that support innovative transportation technologies.

    Contact Greg
  • Ralph DeNisco

    Ralph uses his deep technical knowledge to show stakeholders how smart transportation decisions can create the vibrant, functional places people want

    Contact Ralph
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