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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils Plans for Innovation Zone

Garcetti used the first day of the CoMotion LA conference to announce the formation of a new Transportation Technology Innovation Zone, where new technologies can be tested and proved with local businesses and residents.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti_shutterstock_1574567563 (1)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaking at the LA Auto Show in November 2019.
Shutterstock/betto rodrigues
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the development of the new Transportation Technology Innovation Zone during his opening comments for the fourth annual CoMotion LA conference yesterday. 

“This venture has the potential to be a key driver of jobs in L.A., and to knit together the fabric of our transportation systems as a low-noise, all electric, accessible and affordable option for getting around,” Garcetti said in prepared remarks.

The Innovation Zone, located at the Warner Center in the West San Fernando Valley, will be an “urban proving ground” to support businesses in testing efforts and provide new mobility options for the area, according to the mayor.

The project follows on the heels of the Urban Movement Labs initiative launched during last year’s CoMotion LA conference, which has since taken on reimagining the FlyAway shuttle program connecting riders from the downtown Union Station to Los Angeles International Airport. 

Garcetti called the Urban Movement Labs a “ground-breaking public-private partnership that matches our toughest problems with innovative solutions sourced from around the world, and tested right here in L.A.” 

The Labs, a nonprofit, is part of Garcetti’s larger vision of a “safe, sustainable, multimodal transportation system” in the city.  

“L.A. is at the forefront of the mobility revolution in our country and across the globe,” said Lilly Shoup, interim executive director of Urban Movement Labs, in a statement, adding that the Labs “accelerates transportation solutions, and the Open Mobility Foundation, which gives policymakers the digital tools they need to govern emerging mobility.” 

Los Angeles — with its legendary traffic and vehicle-generated pollution — has positioned itself as a leader in transportation innovation, with plans to rapidly ramp up the use of electric buses, expanded passenger rail offerings and electrify the massive shipping ports complex. 

“If you have a big idea that has the power to change how people experience mobility in L.A. and beyond, if you have an innovative idea about how to move us closer to our climate goals, create jobs and inspire a new diverse generation of mobility leaders, try it here. Test it in Los Angeles,” said Garcetti. 

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.