Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists


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    Courtesy of Sound Transit

    Transit-oriented development catches on as cities need to boost ridership and housing supply

    Cities are opting to build mixed-use developments near public transportation, but experts in Seattle, Atlanta and elsewhere say getting it right is a big challenge.

    Adina Solomon • April 1, 2022
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    Permission granted by MBTA

    More electric buses join transit fleets as costs and technology improve

    As zero-emission buses are added to more transit fleets, officials and bus manufacturers are optimistic about their potential, but they caution that planning, training and learning from other cities are needed.

    Dan Zukowski • Jan. 31, 2022
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    Retrieved from Ford on December 22, 2021

    The road ahead: How legacy auto brands will level the EV playing field in 2022

    After setting the stage at CES with lofty product announcements, carmakers will focus on value, range and brand heritage to close the gap with disrupters like Tesla.

    Peter Adams • Jan. 5, 2022
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    Permission granted by Selfhelp Community Services

    Older adults turn to technology during an 'epidemic of loneliness'

    The pandemic kick-started local efforts to get more older adults online with the help of federal broadband investments to bridge the digital divide.

    Cailin Crowe • Jan. 4, 2022
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    Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

    Living wage ordinances' greatest effect may be on public opinion

    The living wage movement fought to boost pay for city contractor employees. These efforts had limited community effects, but they likely laid the groundwork for today’s movement toward higher minimum wages, researchers said.

    Adina Solomon • Dec. 13, 2021
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    Reklamlar/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

    'A long way to go': How utilities are helping 6 cities meet big EV goals

    From New York City to Los Angeles, cities and utilities face cost, land and grid challenges in their efforts to electrify transportation systems.

    Robert Walton, Emma Penrod, Jason Plautz and Scott Van Voorhis • Nov. 30, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    Flying taxis, hyperloops and driverless cars: Is it too early to start planning for future mobility?

    Miami, Orlando and Pittsburgh are planning for air mobility and other novel modes of transport decades ahead. Critics say focusing on flashy, futuristic technologies distracts from simpler solutions for today.

    Jason Plautz • Nov. 19, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    The future of smart cities: Leaders forecast more digitally just governance

    Over the next five years, smart cities will emphasize digital justice, community trust and data-led decisions, city leaders say. But roadblocks — like funding and a public sector aversion to risk — could stand in the way. 

    Cailin Crowe • Nov. 17, 2021
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    David Dee Delgado/Getty Images via Getty Images

    Flooding risk complicates cities' push to legalize basement apartments

    In the age of extreme weather, amid the deaths of 11 New Yorkers living in basement units following heavy rainfall from remnants of Hurricane Ida, cities aim to balance safety with affordable housing accessibility.

    Jason Plautz • Nov. 11, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    Smart city evolution: How cities have stepped back from a 'tech arms race'

    Following the 'first wave' of the smart cities movement, local leaders describe how they have largely shifted from a tech-first to a resident-first approach.

    Danielle McLean, Maria Rachal and Dan Zukowski • Nov. 9, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    As Tesla, Ford and others invest billions in EVs, will the power system be ready?

    The new White House zero emission vehicle target of 50% of new car sales by 2030 has a long way to go, a short time to get there, and big challenges ahead.

    Herman K. Trabish • Nov. 3, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    15 city leaders define a 'smart city'

    Smart Cities Dive asked major U.S. cities to weigh in on the past, present and future of their smart city efforts. In the first story of a multipart series, we highlight how city leaders define the term today.

    Danielle McLean • Nov. 2, 2021
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    Permission granted by The Boston Planning and Development Agency's 3D Smart Model

    Are digital twins the future of urban planning?

    Digital 3D models can help city leaders plan for the future, but their value will depend on the data.

    Adina Solomon • Nov. 1, 2021
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    Joe Raedle via Getty Images

    Amtrak plans major expansion by 2035 if infrastructure bill passes

    Amtrak's expansion plans could connect small towns and reduce inequalities, while boosting development, housing and jobs in cities. However, those ambitions face some hurdles. 

    Dan Zukowski • Oct. 20, 2021
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    Dave Einsel via Getty Images

    The pandemic changed car ownership. How can cities adapt?

    Car buyers are thinking about protection from the coronavirus rather than convenience or traffic. That could be bad news for cities looking to get cars off the road for good. 

    Jason Plautz • Aug. 9, 2021
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    Samuel Corum via Getty Images

    10 ways the PRO Act could change the game for employers and organized labor

    Currently being considered in the Senate, the bill would strengthen the ability of unions, including those of public sector workers, to form and collectively bargain.

    Emilie Shumway • Aug. 2, 2021
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    Courtesy of Cruise

    California's first AV public passenger service could provide key industry and market data

    General Motors-owned Cruise will operate the first-ever driverless car service in the state. Others in the space said they hope to learn a lot — including how the public reacts — from its efforts.

    Chris Teale • Aug. 2, 2021
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images

    Philadelphia's eviction diversion program is a 'lifeline' for tenants

    The "nation's largest poor city" has adopted one of the most aggressive eviction diversion efforts in the U.S., in an effort one city council member said she hopes will remain post-pandemic.

    Amanda Loudin • June 16, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    Automakers and universities team up to fix AV industry's talent gap

    Schools are evolving their courses to keep pace with autonomous vehicle technology changes and build the industry's pipeline of workers.

    Chris Teale • May 3, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    Satellite internet: digital divide solution or 'science experiment'?

    SpaceX and Amazon have said the technology can help rural America get online, but opponents say it's unproven and not worthy of federal investment.

    Chris Teale • March 30, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    Local leaders reckon with ShotSpotter's ambiguous ROI

    ShotSpotter CEO Ralph Clark said the company saw 12% YOY revenue growth in 2020, during a recent earnings call. Meanwhile, some experts question the tech's efficacy as cities face strapped budgets and high homicide rates.

    Cailin Crowe • Feb. 26, 2021
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    Danielle Ternes/Smart Cities Dive

    Power sector experts fight misinformation around Texas outages

    Operators will often prepare for peak loads based on historical data, but those forecasts can be less predictable under a changing climate, one expert said.

    Catherine Morehouse • Feb. 18, 2021
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    Yujin Kim/Smart Cities Dive

    Transit workers face growing rate of assaults: 'There's not much we can do'

    Some transit operators are asking for reassignments off the frontlines as they face increasingly violent threats from frustrated riders amid COVID-19.

    Chris Teale • Feb. 17, 2021
  • Lawmakers vs. regulators: The fight over Arizona's zero-emissions mandate

    Conservatives say the Arizona Corporation Commission's proposed zero-carbon mandate oversteps its constitutional authority while defenders say the legal debate is an excuse to impede the state's climate fight.

    Herman K. Trabish • Feb. 11, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Smart Cities Dive

    Transit agencies brace for vaccination push amid murky guidance

    Though federal agencies have deemed public transit a priority sector for COVID-19 vaccinations, states are charting their own plans to address rider demands and union resources.

    Chris Teale • Feb. 1, 2021