Equitable and Ubiquitous Converged Data & Transportation Services for Underserved Communities
Lead PI:
Micah Beck

This project will plan a powerful research capacity. The research will be centered on data divide and transportation services. It will also plan development of a solution to infrastructure inequality. It will take advantage of strong, existing relationships between the University of Tennessee and its community partners. The planning project will occur in Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is a low-density mid-size city in the southeast United States. The project is a collaboration among three institutions. (1) University of Tennessee is the state's flagship and land grant university. (2) Knoxville Community Development Corporation builds and maintains affordable housing in Knox County. (3) United Way of Greater Knoxville funds and coordinates many poverty fighting initiatives. Knoxville is an ideal natural laboratory for designing and implementing innovative solutions based in the community. Knoxville deals with social and technological challenges. These challenges drive racial and ethnic health and wealth inequality. These challenges have been made worse by COVID-19. Racial and ethnic income inequality is high in Knoxville. Knoxville faces geographical and economic barriers to infrastructure development and maintenance. These have created a transportation system dominated by automobiles. There is a clear digital divide based on race, income, and rural vs. urban. The project will engage traditionally underrepresented populations. It will create a collaborative team structure and develop and deploy a working prototype.

The overall project investigates the viability of convergent systems for transportation and information technology infrastructure. The capacity for communities to use intelligent systems to bridge spatial and technical mismatches in the built environment and expand equitable access to resources is predicated on the ability to coordinate data systems efficiently and share information securely and easily. Moreover, this proposed planning project will demonstrate a process of engaging the community at the front-end and throughout such that a broader group of stakeholders is invested, and multiple perspectives are considered in the development, deployment, and scaling up of any prototype. Such methods increase likelihood of acceptance, adoption, and transferability of technologies and altered planning and service systems. This project will identify key components necessary to develop community-driven intelligent transportation systems. Replicated across other communities, this will lead to development of more relevant intelligent systems and successful uptake among communities. Over time, this will lead to greater technical capacity across communities which they can leverage emerging transportation data to make smarter, more resilient, and adaptable transportation and communications infrastructure-planning decisions. with equitable access to economic opportunities.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Micah Beck
Micah Beck has been an active researcher in a number of areas of computer systems, including distributed operating systems, the theory of distributed computation, compilers, parallel computation, networking and storage. He leads the Logistical Computing and Internetworking Laboratory.
Performance Period: 10/01/2021 - 09/30/2022
Institution: University of Tennessee Knoxville
Award Number: 2125288