“Midtown in Motion” to Come With Rad Driver-Distracting Apps

As it is, the NYC DOT “Midtown in Motion” initiative is a bit of a head-scratcher. To learn that the city is devoting well over a million dollars in addition to staff resources to speed up car traffic in Midtown, which the mayor has declared the “lifeblood” of the CBD — is it 2006 again?

Here’s another jaw-dropping facet of the program, as reported in the Times:

[City engineers] also plan to offer this data to software developers so that drivers and passengers can gain access to this detailed information on their iPads or iPhones.

Distracted driving is a known killer, an epidemic so widespread and pernicious that it even has Albany’s attention. You’ve got to wonder about the logic behind encouraging drivers to pilot their two-ton missiles through streets teeming with pedestrians while not looking where they’re going.

  • MRB

    The choice to use an ‘app’ while driving is… up to the driver.

    Are you honestly suggesting the the city should NOT be sharing their data?

  • MRB

    The choice to use an ‘app’ while driving is… up to the driver.

    Are you honestly suggesting the the city should NOT be sharing their data?

  • Rob

    Could the city restrict data sharing only to implementations that are deemed safe?  I would be fine if traffic and parking data were linked to my onboard gps which then uses it to calculate the best route.  My gps is verbal.

  • Kaja

    Oh come on, it’s not suggesting they’ll use it while they’re driving.

    What should they do, not publish it?

  • Fanman26

    “Head-scratcher?” Like it or not, there are gonna be cars in NYC. And traffic congestion is a problem, plus creates pollution. Implying that people will only use the app while driving is just paranoid. Are you saying NYC should do nothing for drivers? Maybe you should go move to Amsterdam, or some deserted island far away from reality.

  • Releasing data to the public is one thing. Making it available specifically for the development of real-time applications to be used by drivers on their cell phones and tablets is something else. The intent is clear.

    Of course it’s up to each driver to decide to break the law or not, but nothing happens in a vacuum. Just as certain street designs increase urban speeds, giving drivers a toy optimally used while behind the wheel is roughly 100 percent likely to be used while behind the wheel.
     

  • Commish Sadik-Khan discussed this new project on Inside city Hall and had to go out of her way to point out that drivers would review the real-time data on traffic conditions “before they got int he car.” what a joke.  What’s the point of real-time data you can’t consult in real time.  People will definitely abuse this and drive distracted.  It strikes me as a sop to make drivers think Bloomberg’s DoT cares about them.

  • Kaja

    > Making it available specifically for the development of real-time applications to be used by drivers on their cell phones and tablets is something else. The intent is clear. 

    Hardly. I’m a driver with an iPhone; every time I get in my car, before I turn the engine on, I check Google Maps, to see what’s up with the BQE and the bridges.

    Then I put down the phone, turn the engine on, and drive.

    Get off the ledge, this ain’t worth jumping over.

  • Driver

    “Then I put down the phone, turn the engine on, and drive.”
    That’s good to hear, but I’m sure you realize you are in the minority with that thinking.

  • Driver

     On second thought, in the area of discussion, there should be ample opportunity to check ones iphone while driving  but not in motion. The only problem is these people cause more congestion by sitting at green lights because they are not paying attention. 

  • Eric McClure

    Yup. Right before the bike share roll-out. A spoonful of sugar for the driver lobby.

  • Driver

    Or the other 99.8 % of NYC that this app doesn’t apply to.

  • If the government would do its job and prosecute careless drivers when they kill, this data could be published without people assuming—with good cause—that it will lead to more deaths.

  • Driver

    Drunk drivers are regularly prosecuted, yet some people continue to drive drunk.  Consequences do not always prevent actions. 

  • Jeremy

    OpenPlans needs to decide whether to be on the side of open-ness or not, I thinks.

  • Georgie

    Save  $1.16 mil. Just undo pedestrian plazas in Times Square and on Broadway, eliminate pop-up cafes and bike lanes in Mnhattan, in fact–ban bicycles on Manhattan Streets, and make DOT part of NYPD under Ray Kelly and traffic will move just fine.

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