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Civic Lab: New Local Government Innovation Platform Accepting Applications

Sacramento, Calif. – The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) launched Civic Lab on August 17. A new initiative, Civic Lab challenges the local governments in the six-county Sacramento region to address local transportation challenges and to pilot test technology-based solutions. Civic Lab will take local teams through a series of intensive workshops with local and national transportation and technology experts to spark innovative solutions to current regional and local transportation challenges.

At its launch convening, Civic Lab brought together over 130 city and county elected officials and staff, nonprofits, startup innovators, and service providers to learn about disruptions in transportation and smart mobility through technology. Keynote speaker Christy Wegener of Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority shared her experience and lessons learned from testing new technologies. Wegener discussed partnerships with ride hailing companies and taxis to provide first and last mile transit solutions. Wegener challenged the audience to embrace risk-taking and to think outside the box as transportation issues become more challenging.

“Civic Lab challenges our region to think more like a start-up company in addressing new challenges we are facing. Civic Lab signals to the private sector, the state, and nation that our region wants to be an innovator in disruptive transportation solution. The Sacramento region is ready to be the test-bed for transportation technology and innovation”, said Brian Veerkamp El Dorado County Supervisor and SACOG Board Chair.

Over the next nine months, Civic Lab will focus on developing pilot projects that incorporate smart mobility, car sharing, ride sharing, on-demand shuttles, intelligent transportation infrastructure and autonomous vehicles. The kickoff event has set the stage for the critical thinking strategies needed as technology disrupts the norms of today.

“Civic Lab gives us the opportunity to solve transportation issues through testing and piloting projects in rural, suburban, and urban communities. With innovative thinking and pilot testing, there might come some failure, but with failure, we grow and learn. Civic Lab is the place for local governments to explore the possibilities of smart mobility and new technologies,” added Veerkamp.

SACOG Board Member and Rancho Cordova Council Member David Sander said, “All communities in our region today face some type of mobility challenge. For the suburban residents, one challenge lies in having frequent, affordable, and convenient transportation options aside from single occupancy vehicle trips. Civic Lab creates the space to learn from industry leaders and testing new ideas. Working together through Civic Lab will be a path to solutions for local transportation challenges. Transportation technology is rapidly changing, and it shapes our residents’ travel choices, through Civic Lab our local agencies can be at the forefront of innovation and change.”

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