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CoMotion Launches Transportation Innovation Lab in Miami

On the opening day of the CoMotion conference in Miami, officials announced the launch of the CoMotion LAB MIAMI, which will focus on vetting new innovations around transportation technology across southern Florida.

Miami, Fla.
The Miami region is set to become a test location for innovative transportation technologies and partnerships, officials say.

CoMotion, a think-tank for mobility innovation, announced Tuesday that it will be partnering with Miami-Dade County to launch a consortium of regional public and private stakeholders called CoMotion LAB MIAMI (C-LAB MIAMI).

The primary goal of the lab, Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, is to improve mobility and transit in across Miami-Dade County and southern Florida.

“We’re the ideal location to develop everything from smart signal technology and ride-sharing apps, to solar-powered water taxies, vertical take-off [vehicles] and landing systems that operate like flying cars,” said Gimenez, during his keynote address.

C-LAB MIAMI will serve as a place to attract innovative transportation ideas, moving them from proof of concept to realization. Some of the private-sector partners in the consortium include: Uber, HNTB, Via, INRIX and others.

“It’s a marvelous project, and we’re so excited to roll up our sleeves with our other partners on this,” said John Rossant, founder and CEO of CoMotion, on opening day of the CoMotion Miami conference.

The mayor credited the region’s talent and entrepreneurial pool, an innovative culture, and a rapidly growing population that “is eager to embrace creative mobility solutions.”

Miami-Dade is a sprawling metropolis of more than 2.5 million residents, faced with challenes like traffic congestion, transit limitations, sea-level rise and most recently, an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases. The county has some 5,500 miles of public roadways threading together dense urban neighborhoods and suburban sprawl, making the region an ideal test-bed for a range of transportation technologies, say officials.

Traffic congestion and a need for better public transit are top concerns among residents, said Gimenez.

“So creating viable, long-term solutions to our transportation infrastructure has been one of the top priorities in my administration,” he added. “We are brimming with mobility solutions here at Miami-Dade. We have the talent, the ingenuity and the public-private partnerships to get the job done.”

The C-LAB will be overseen by the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works along with other key public sector stakeholders, and will explore areas like “mobility pilot zones,” and how administrative processes for new technologies might be streamlined.

Some of the initial areas of focus will be curb management, electric water transportation and public-private partnerships.

“When I look at new technology, I look at the possibility of that technology; not five years from now, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now,” said Gimenez.

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.