How can we be assured smart city tech will do more good than harm? It all comes down to governance

After a Green/Social Democrat coalition won control of the Hamburg state parliament in a February 2020 election, the new government, under Mayor Peter Tschentscher, moved quickly to launch an ambitious transportation strategy for a fast-growing urban region of five million people. “We need to change the way mobility is organized in our city,” says Dennis Heinert, a government spokesperson. (The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has long enjoyed state status in Germany.)

The coalition’s goal is striking: 80 per cent of trips within the city will be via transit, walking, cycling or other shared modes by 2030 in order to cut private vehicle use and carbon emissions. The plan calls for better transit service without fare hikes, a major expansion of the cycling network, and a strategy to load up transit hubs (known as “switch points”) with a range of mobility options, such as e-bike rentals, that cover the

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