Changing Places and the Mobility Futures Collaborative launches platform at the Roxbury Innovation Center in Dudley Square
by Ryan Chin
The Mobility Futures Collaborative in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) and the Changing Places group at the MIT Media Lab have developed new interactive tools aimed to better communicate the possible impacts of new transit systems. The Media Lab and DUSP have partnered with the Barr Foundation to test these tools in a series of community engagement workshops to examine the impacts of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in Greater Boston. These tools include the CityScope – an interactive platform that utilizes physical models (built from LEGOs) and 3D projection – to enable community members to engage in neighborhood and street level decisions including alternative bus corridor designs and station level variations (such as pre-pay boarding). The second tool, CoAXs is a new interactive platform for collaborative transit planning that builds on open-source urban analytics tools like Conveyal Transport Analyst.
This set of new tools is designed to work in concert to bring key stakeholders from the community, NGOs, government, and planners to engage in constructive discussion and to encourage participation through new technology. Secondly, the tools aim to enable learning by developing understanding of BRT concepts, trade-offs, and impacts. Thirdly, these new tools allow individuals the ability to design their own proposals and by doing so enabling them to contribute their own ideas into future scenario planning. Finally, these tools intend to help build consensus through data-driven interactions and dialogue.
A series of public workshops that utilize these new tools, in collaboration with the Barr Foundation, will be held in October to explore the impacts of different BRT scenarios in Boston based on the Greater Boston Bus Rapid Transit Study Group. The Roxbury Innovation Center is partnering with MIT to host the event and Nuestra Comunidad is providing feedback on tools, workshop facilitation, and outreach support.
A project launch event will be held on Oct 7th at 530pm at the Roxbury Innovation Center (2300 Washington Street) in Dudley Square. Two-hour community workshops will be held between Oct 8-10th on a sign-up basis (tinyurl.com/BRTtools) in the same location. Language support will be available on Oct 10th with prior notice. An open exhibit of the interactive research tools will be held from Oct 11-14th from 1130am to 630pm. For more information please call 781-606-0278 or email at BRTtools@mit.edu.
Chris Zegras, Associate Professor, Mobility Futures Collaborative, MIT DUSP
Kent Larson, Director, Changing Places, MIT Media Lab
Ryan Chin, Managing Director, Changing Places, MIT Media Lab
Ira Winder, Research Scientist, Changing Places, MIT Media Lab
Ariel Noyman, Researcher, Changing Places, MIT Media Lab
Jeffrey Laurence Rosenblum, Urban Mobility Lab, MIT DUSP
Anson Stewart, PhD Candidate, MIT Transportation
Phil Tinn, MCP Candidate, Mobility Futures Collaborative & MIT Media Lab
Allentza Michels, Engagement Specialist, Greater Boston
Kuan Butts, Civic Tech Developer, MIT MCP ‘14