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September 30, 2022

Waterfront Tech Series Episode 15: Transportation Tech

The 15th Episode of the Waterfront Tech Series brought together thought leaders throughout the Baltimore tech space to discuss recent advances in transportation. Panelists at the event included representatives from Baltimore City Department of Transportation and from Smart Cities in Chattanooga, TN. Discover what they had to say regarding future innovations in Baltimore transportation today. 

 Using Smart Transportation Tech in Baltimore 

Baltimore is going through a culture change when it comes to transportation in and around the city. In the past, the primary goal of transit was moving as many cars through the city as possible. Starting in 2018 however, focus shifted specifically to the transportation needs of Baltimore residents. Baltimore City Department of Transportation (Baltimore City DOT) has been hard at work leveraging partnerships, applying for federal funding, and ensuring their staff have the knowledge to support new transportation technologies as they become available.  

Prioritizing Transportation in Baltimore 

Baltimore City DOT is currently prioritizing transportation efforts in what they call “equity zones”. There are many factors that go into determining equity zones but in many cases, these are communities that have not been invested in for years. This in combination with the fact that 30% of the Baltimore population doesn’t have access to a personal vehicle is a major reason for the focus on smarter transportation.  

The Maryland Department of Transportation is even working with Baltimore City DOT to help bridge a connection at BWI Airport. Improving the connectivity of transit between BWI and Baltimore City would allow for more Baltimore residents to get jobs at the airport. By implementing more micro transit systems, it’s Baltimore City DOT’s hope that employment opportunities will grow for the residents.  

Future of Baltimore Transit 

Setting themselves up with partnerships between the University of Maryland and Morgan State University has put Baltimore City DOT in a good place going forward with smart transit. Technologies such as traffic monitoring systems that help increase response times when issues arise have already been deployed to help make Baltimore’s roads safer. BGE is also helping push Baltimore ahead in the tech space by supporting electric school buses. After initially exploring electric school buses in Howard County, BGE looks forward to working with Baltimore City schools if they win their upcoming grant to acquire the vehicles.  

Panelist Kevin Comstock, previously from Smart Cities in Chattanooga, TN, said that he felt Baltimore City is following the right path forward to making transportation smarter. Transportation needs to be thought about as a system for moving people and less so moving vehicles. If you’re interested in learning more about the tech space throughout Baltimore, check out a previous Waterfront Tech event recap today. 

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