- The City of Los Angeles and Transport for London (TfL) announced Monday they will partner to tackle some of the biggest transportation issues faced by cities around the world.
- Calling themselves "Innovator Cities" in this new collaboration, the pair will work to identify common transportation problems and develop solutions that can work at scale anywhere in the world. They will give companies the chance to participate in "startup exchanges," allowing early-stage businesses to pitch ideas in both cities.
- The approach will be piloted through TfL's London FreightLab challenge, which the agency said calls for ideas to make the movement of goods "safer, cleaner and more efficient." Winning innovators could then pitch those solutions to LA to test in that market. The cities hope to eventually expand the "Innovator Cities" network to more cities that could benefit from these pilots.
In launching this partnership, both cities touted their similarities, especially in areas like traffic congestion, efforts to cut carbon emissions and plans to build resiliency for the future.
Though it is worth noting they are at different stages of these efforts. While Los Angeles is dabbling with the idea of congestion pricing to help pay for transit and infrastructure improvements, London has led the way on such a scheme and is looking to go even further, especially as it has found a significant drop in air pollution in its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
Both have also had fractious past relationships with companies looking to disrupt the transportation sector, specifically Uber. London pulled the company’s operating license last year over a "pattern of failures" that "placed passengers and their safety at risk," while the LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) is locked in a dispute with the company over data-sharing from its Jump scooters.
This partnership indicates that both cities want to work closely with innovative companies and refine their approach to collaborations.
The announcement builds on LA's Urban Movement Labs, a public-private partnership (P3) launched last year to encourage new thinking to tackle some of cities’ most pressing transportation problems. At the time of that launch, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said he hoped it could find solutions applicable to counterparts across the United States and the world.