In a new US Department of Transportation pilot program, New York City and Pensacola, Florida, will test delivery and pickup of goods during off-peak hours, such as overnight, to help relieve traffic congestion on city streets. Federal funds will support the recruitment of retailers and food companies in New York and vendors of a hospital system in Pensacola to initiate the study on how business operations may be retooled and what benefits can be achieved. Daytime truck deliveries often block travel lanes, parking access, and increase congestion during commutes, aside from affecting delivery schedules. If the pilot is successful, other areas may adopt similar approaches to save time and money for businesses, truck drivers, and the commuting public.
Camden County, New Jersey, is launching a pilot program to support drug-overdose victims who are revived by police or at the ER and who need immediate rehabilitation. Under the present system, overdose victims who are revived using the overdose-reversal medication Narcan are treated then released, experiencing a gap in care before they can further receive in-patient treatment. Law enforcement officials and hospitals will work to provide a “warm hand-off” from the ER to in-patient detox, to intensive outpatient treatment. The plan will support the expanded treatment for about 50 people to start.
Although sharing-economy companies and municipalities often have prickly relationships, some are partnering to improve their communities’ service delivery and emergency preparedness. Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco have agreements with Airbnb through which the company identifies hosts who are willing to offer free lodging during declared emergencies, trains them, and waives service fees for the lodging they provide at such times. And, in Macomb County, Michigan, Uber provides transportation for those summoned to jury duty, giving them a safe and hassle-free ride where parking options are limited.
To encourage higher turnout at the polls, California has become the second state to automatically register its residents to vote when they receive state identification or renew their driver’s licenses. The “New Motor Voter Act,” which allows anyone to opt-out if they want, targets the estimated 6.6 million eligible but un-registered California voters. The new law will go into effect in January 2016.
Indiana hopes to harness the knowledge of its college students to combat cyber-threats in the state. The Indiana Security Operations Center, a joint program between the state and Purdue University, pairs state employees and students to monitor security incidents. The students learn the trade, and conduct the necessary but lower-level analysis to relieve the workload of more senior staff. When cyber-threats are identified, they are shared with other organizations fighting cyber-terrorism. While the center is currently only open during business hours and staffed with a dozen people, officials hope to bring in many more students to staff the center and create an around-the-clock operation.