SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata speaks to reporters at the Vision Lab. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The San Diego Association of Governments opened a state-of-the-art “vision lab” on Tuesday to encourage public-private collaboration on the region’s transportation planning.

The open office space in the same building as SANDAG’s offices in downtown San Diego is outfitted with giant, interactive map displays, meeting rooms, and computer access to extensive databases of transportation information.

The lab will be used to flesh out the “Five Big Moves” 2021 Regional Plan, which would emphasize using sensor technology to increase road capacity; expand public transit; develop a series of “mobility hubs;” encourage ridesharing, bikes and scooters; and connect all of these systems for maximum efficiency.

SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata said it is innovative to involve the public at this level.

“Normally planning is done in silos,” he said, adding that he is counting on “San Diegans participating because we are building their future.”

Political leaders in East County have criticized the emphasis on transit and technology, arguing that SANDAG should focus on building more roads. But Ikhrata, who took over SANDAG in December, has said it is time for a new vision.

“This region deserves and needs the best transportation system in the world,” he said Tuesday at the lab.

The lab will be open to the public on five days over the month of August: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 15, 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 20, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 22, 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 27 and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 29.

The lab is located on the 20th floor on the 401 B Street building in downtown San Diego.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.