Blockchain has the potential to create countless smart networks and grids, altering how we do everything from vote and build credit to receive energy. In many ways, it could be a crucial component of what is needed to circumvent outdated systems and build long-lasting solutions for cities.
Take, for instance, electricity. With the help of blockchain, we can turn microgrids into a reality on a macro scale, enabling communities to more easily embrace solar power and other more sustainable sources, which in turn will result in fewer emissions and lower healthcare costs and rates of disease.
For all the promise of electric vehicles, we can’t lose sight of one simple fact: The environmental burden of transportation in the United States isn’t a vehicle problem, it’s a problem with our transportation system as a whole. Simply swapping out internal combustion engines for electric motors won’t be enough to meet that challenge.
Lighting infrastructure is a perfect example of futureproofing. As cities are swapping out traditional high-pressure sodium street lights with energy-efficient LEDs and smart nodes that can remotely monitor and control the lights, don’t just be thinking about a smart lighting solution. Think about the position those streetlights are in to support so much more, like intersection safety analytics, parking optimization, and gunshot detection.
The idea of multi-channel civic engagement and the role of the grassroots community marketer is being implemented by forward-thinking smart city leaders who understand the importance—and economic benefits—of giving their constituents a voice. More investments are being made into digital systems that reach and engage the public.
From an energy type standpoint, a city’s electric utility can make a big difference regarding which actions cities should undertake. For instance, a city in the service territory of an electric utility with ambitious plans to decarbonize its generation mix may want to focus greater attention on future emissions scenarios versus current emissions when making decisions on priorities. This would mean focusing actions on transportation, space heating, and industrial processes, since those would likely be greater contributors to emissions (vs. electricity) in such a future scenario.
Because curated data have definitely become a currency, private data – characterized as establishing relations or transactions between persons/actors – gives the power back to the user when it is retrieved through a self-data mechanism.
Cities and private parking owners can use parking analytics to create policies and rates, adapting them to changing conditions or shifts in demand. Parking analytics help managers better understand pricing and maximize revenue in different parts of the city. This can also be adjusted for special events or if new businesses move into a location.
The Sunlight Foundation is investigating how open data can inspire community action around issues that matter to residents.
I envision a blended “future of work” that includes automation and augmentation — with the latter in the form of “decision support” tools that speed up and improve human performance, rather than compete with it. Computers are good at computing, surfacing potential decisions – and humans are good at context, or understanding the situational environment. When these two attributes are combined, it results in good judgement.
MaaS has a lot to offer to public transit and it’s time to take a closer look at those benefits. Contrary to a common misconception, integration of third-party transit services into the wider public mobility offering doesn’t hurt transit, it actually encourages wider use of public transit, maintaining and even actively increasing ridership. Alternative transit services can address first/last mile problems as well as serve routes that are typically very costly and require a high level of government subsidy (e.g. paratransit), not only increasing revenues for transit agencies but also helping to direct funding and investment back to core transit services.
After years of laying the proverbial groundwork with a fibre network, citywide Wi-Fi mesh network, four-acre Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) test facility and Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) rollout, Stratford, Ontario, is a small city with plans to stay on the forefront with 5G upgrades and public-private partnerships.