Oct 2017

Smart Mobility

Wexner Senior Leaders (WSL) participate in an executive program geared to getting us to use our positions in the Israeli government to innovate projects that will make Israel a better place to live.  We are high-level government civil servants working in ministries that don’t often collaborate to get things done, and therefore we call these projects “XBC’s,” or “Cross Boundary Collaborations.”  The formal part of the WSL Program lasts a year beginning with our first meeting — a creative day of final interviews that already gets us started in exploring areas where we have ideas that can contribute to improve the daily lives of Israelis — followed by institutes in Israel where we find teammates and refine our ideas, a four-week intensive executive seminar at the Harvard Kennedy School and then more meetings in Israel.  My class of 40 people, WSL 17, has already begun implementing some of our best XBC’s.

The above film explains our project “Smart Mobility” which is geared to cutting down the “pkakim” (traffic jams) that take a real toll on Israelis’ daily lives.  The pilot program will be up and running soon and we hope to replicate it all over Israel.

Refined Project Description:

In the past 130 years, the invention of the car and the internal combustion engine have taken humanity an enormous step forward. This revolution has also taken a large toll, causing widespread traffic congestion, road accidents and high air pollution resulting in significant mortality. This is a worldwide problem and a huge problem in Israel. In Israel.  Approximately 370 people are killed annually in road accidents and approximately 1250 people are killed annually from transportation pollution.  Annual costs are high, including road accidents: 16 billion shekels; traffic congestion: 17 billion shekels; and high air pollution: 5 billion shekels. Governments have the power to make a big difference, both in the field of automated electrically-powered vehicles and in promoting shared travel. Both may lead to a dramatic reduction in congestion, pollution and road accidents. Our Israel Smart Mobility National Program will reduce traffic congestion, road accidents and high air pollution by promoting public transportation, shared travel, automated electrically-powered vehicles and advanced transport technology.  

Here is a general overview of our thinking (and doing):

Drivers in Israel like to drive in their private cars.

The lack of quality public transportation prevents the creation of an effective alternative to private cars.

There is a strong desire by employers to solve transportation problems and traffic jams at the entrance to the large industrial areas, as this will increase the productivity of their workers.

Much of the travel in the Dan region stems from the use of company vehicles.

Drivers are willing to consider alternatives to private cars, provided they have an incentive to do so, and will be a reasonable alternative at hand.

We will pilot in the city of Ra’anana where traffic jams are among the worst and where there are many industrial parks bringing a concentration of workers to the area.

The Ministry of Finance has an interest in promoting solutions to transportation problems, including a model of incentives for drivers. However, it is not clear what is the best way to realize this.    

There is a risk in implementing the proposed incentive model, since it may be construed as providing a financial benefit to an already strong population (although it causes most of the traffic loads).

Because we worked in many of the ministries who could help actualize a pilot, we detailed which ministries would be responsible for each part and why it would be in their best interest to get on board:

An effective Last Mile solution (frequent shuttles) — Ministry of Transport
A financial incentive to users (benefits card) — Ministry of Finance
An improvement in synchronization of PT — Ministry of Transport
Communication Plan (Campaign) — Ministry of Transport & Employers
Measurements & Evaluation — Ministry of Transport

Our team consists of the following WSL 17 Network Members: Chaled Kabul (Judge, District Court), Daniella Possen (Ministry of Finance – Head Planner, Central District), Eitan Pisetzky (Head of Info and Analysis Division, Prime Minister’s Office), Gido Kramer (Head of Subdivisions, Prime Minister’s Office), Haim Cohen (Ministry of Defense), Michael Levinrad (Head of International Cooperation, Prime Minister’s Office), Mira Mines (Vice GM, Head of Directors Affairs Division, Ministry of Finance), Shay Soffer (Chief Scientist Division, Transport & Road Safety) and Yehoud Marciano (Chief Officer for IT and Innovation, Beer Sheva Municipality).

Please take a look at the video above to get a better feel for our project.

Dr. Shay Soffer (WSL 17) is the Chief Scientist of the Israel Ministry of Transport. Prior to his current position Shay was the Chief Scientist of Israel National Road Safety Authority. Shay holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and Master’s of Science in Physical Chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a PhD from Weitzman Institute of Science in Physics and Industry. Shay lives in Mevo Betar with his wife and their three children.