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In a rare move, this transportation startup is adding equity experts to its board

Startups don’t usually put outsiders—let alone experts on equity and technology—on their boards of directors.

But Lacuna Technologies, a startup that develops digital tools to help cities regulate traffic, announced last week that it’s adding Tamika L. Butler, an expert on “issues related to the built environment, equity, anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion,” and Rashida Richardson, a legal scholar with expertise on race and technology, to its board.

Lacuna’s technology is designed to help cities better understand and regulate transportation, including tech-linked transportation services such as app-based ride-hailing and scooter rentals. CEO Hugh Martin anticipates that Butler will contribute her knowledge of transportation and related equity issues and Richardson will help guide Lacuna on challenges related to equity and data privacy. This is a potentially tricky balancing act since the company and the cities it works with likely want to understand the demographics of who is using transportation and how without tracking too much about individuals.

Lacuna’s products include tools for cities to study and regulate the use of curbside areas for parking and other purposes, and a similar tool specialized for use in helping airports avoid passenger pickup logjams. Ideally, Richardson says, the company can help give regulators more of a level playing field in negotiating with tech-savvy transportation companies, which can allow cities to push for more equity in transportation.

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