SF leader on ‘Smart City’ challenge leaves SFMTA for Google X

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Office of Innovation, which looks to pioneer transit of the future like driverless cars, needs to find a new chief dreamer.

Tim Papandreou, head of the Office of Innovation, is leaving his city job to join Google X, the company’s self-driving car project, Papandreou announced at the SFMTA Board of Directors meeting in late June.

He was the lead point of contact with Google and other tech innovators on developing policy initiatives around driverless cars and other transit innovations.

When asked if losing Papandreou would slow down those efforts, Ratna Amin, transportation policy director at SPUR, wrote in an email, “There could be a lag,” but not if “someone else is made accountable soon.”…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future.

“The immediate reaction we had from our partners was, ‘Let’s continue forward in any case,’” Reiskin said…

Who are these partners?

SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan congratulated Papandreou on his new job, and added, “Can we each get one of those new driverless cars? We can test them for you!” … (more)

If there was any doubt about the connection between SPUR, SFMTA, MTC and Plan Bay Area, and the Tech titan’s plans to privatize and control public streets and transportation, that doubt is now gone. In their own words we hear their plan.

It is up to you now, Bay Area citizens to vote for your preference in November. Do you favor a private corporation deciding where and how you should get around, while tracking your every move and purchase, or would you prefer to step back into a world where you decide what you want to do and where you want to go?

RELATED:
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs working to revolutionize public parking and transportation in American cities

Uber Is Experimenting With a Service in Manhattan That’s Cheaper Than the Subway:
How dose putting more private buses on the streets that compete with the subway help the traffic flow? Is there nothing these corporations can’t leave alone? Bring back private jitney buses that do the same thing but don’t rely on apps. Just roll along the streets and pick up passengers for a few bucks and allow private citizens without smart phones and apps. How dose putting more private buses on the streets help the traffic?

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