City Selection 2017-02-09T19:02:13+00:00

We are excited to announce the 2017 selected cities for Envision America workshop!
March 6th – 8th, 2017

Birmingham, AL
Burlington, VT
Chula Vista, CA
Detroit, MI
Greensboro, NC
Jackson, MS
Kansas City, MO
Providence, RI
San Antonio, TX
Wichita, KS

This will be an exciting event that you will not want to miss, register now – space is limited!

See below for the city projects:

Name of the City:  Greenville, SC

Goal of Project:
As a mid-size metropolitan area of 800,000, the Greenville Metro lacks full-service public transportation options for its citizens. The goal of our project is to use multi-modal solutions to improve connectivity in underserved communities, reduce traffic congestion in high volume corridors and promote innovative mobility solutions in partnership with specific developments and other communities. These goals led us to identify the following projects:

  • Legacy Integrated On-Demand Network (LION) Electric Shuttle
  • Greenville Spartanburg Airport (GSP) Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)
  • Verdae/CUICAR/Swamp Rabbit Trail aTaxi Shuttle system
  • PRT development plan for Downtown Greenville and Clemson University

Where is the project today:
In coordination with multiple industry and community partners, our projects are in the following stages:

LION – The plan involves using operator assisted and autonomous vehicles to connect low income areas to current bus stops, necessity retail locations, medical services and education facilities within a 1.5 mile radius around the Legacy Charter School (See attached Westside map). Discussions are underway with service providers, corporate sponsors and the community to find appropriate funding and operational solutions.

GSP/PRT – The airport board is vetting 2 proposals to bring a PRT solution to the airport campus that will initially connect the main terminal to remote parking and structured parking facilities. The selection committee is currently performing the due diligence necessary select a design-build partner team having a system operational by mid of 2018. See the attached plan proposal map.

Verdae/CUICAR/Swamp Rabbit aTaxi shuttle – Verdae Properties has agreed to fund up to $600,000 for the development and deployment of an on-demand aTaxi that will connect the development to CUICAR and downtown Greenville along an abandoned 3 mile rail line. Please reference the link.

A proposal to the State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) for a FHWA million dollar grant was not approved. We are seeking other funding sources. See the attached proposal presented to the STIC.

PRT Development Plan – In coordination with Clemson University and the City of Clemson, Envision Greenville Metro has proposed an elevated PRT system that will connect downtown parking facilities and major employment and entertainment venues. See the attached maps for Clemson and Greenville.

Key lessons learned:
Autonomous vehicles are coming and Greenville has the assets to be a leader in the deployment of this technology.

Every innovative idea is challenged by current society norms and the Greenville Metro is no different; however, innovation in the Upstate is driven by the current success that the community sees from organizations receiving international recognition and acclaim. Lack of operational solutions is not the challenge, funding and operation control are the issues we continue to find as our biggest challenge.

Several of the Envision America Corporate Partners have worked closely with our team to bring answers to these concerns. Additionally, both the City and County Councils unanimously approved resolutions to pursue automated projects. Attached are the council support resolutions.

The partnership organizations and community partners are also listed as part of this report.

Name of the City:  Spokane WA

Goal of Project:
By the end of 2016, Spokane’s street light pilot will include multi-sensor units installed on multiple street lights in the University District. The open architecture, standards-based open data array will inform and enable research projects in Spokane’s University District. Data collection is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2017. The project serves as a reference project for establishing the founding principles of Urbanova, Spokane’s living laboratory to design cities for the future

Where is the project today:
The project has been designed with two distinct installation types: 1) multi-sensor fully connected and 2) minimum lighting control connected. Subject to budget and schedule limitations, multi-sensor installations are expected to include capability to monitor noise, acceleration, tilt, temperature and motion. Several of the multi-sensor installations will include research prototype sensors to monitor particulate, carbon dioxide, humidity and air pressure. The research prototypes will help verify the viability of a low-cost, human-scale urban air quality sensor.

Communications, awareness, and engagement proceeded as scheduled with a late summer 2016 slate of deliverables and an official launch of Urbanova during Smart Cities Week in Washington DC.

Key lessons learned:

  • Patience is very important but it helps to have specified and tangible goal to help bring the vision to realization.
  • It is essential to invest the time and effort to bring all partners along together. Urbanova’s shared governance model means partners are committed to working together to create integrated solutions that will have a much higher impact than if the entities continued to work in silos.

Name of the City:  Pittsburgh PA

Goal of Project:
Coordinate and Align Infrastructure Investments, Policy and Smart City Project deployments

Where is the project today:
The City of Pittsburgh was a finalist for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. The project was developed and advanced through the leadership of the City of Pittsburgh, with the cooperation and support of the Smart PGH Consortium. The Consortium serves as a critical convening and governing structure to help align policy, infrastructure and data management needs of the largest public and private infrastructure investors in the City of Pittsburgh. Representatives include local government, utilities, universities, transportation agencies and business community leaders. The consortium is in the process of developing a strategy plan for future engagements and activities.

Key lessons learned:
Coordination of key entities is critical for resource cultivation and the alignment of existing resources. Convening the members of the Smart Pgh consortium opened critical lines of communications and the creation of shared objectives that strengthened our DOT application, but also is enabling the development of additional resources and better use of existing capital.


Name of the City:  Greenville, SC

Project name: Smart Transportation Corridors and Smarter GreenVillages Development

Sustainability sector/topic: Transportation

Keywords: multimodal, multi-jurisdictional, mobility hub, automated transit network system, personal rapid transit, bus, bicycle, greenways, first/last mile, transportation, sensors, data management, elevated transit, driverless car

Project description: Since 2005, Greenville City, County & GTA (Greenville Transit Authority, dba Greenlink) have worked together to improve transportation options. Clemson University built its new International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in Greenville near I-85. Bus services were improved, increasing ridership by 100% and expanding service to the surrounding communities of Clemson, Simpsonville and Mauldin.  Greenlink installed bike racks on all buses. Upstate Forever installed bike share stations in the City and County that allow for connections to transit stops.  A coalition completed a 10 mile bike/walk “Swamp Rabbit Trail” in the northern part of the city.

Electric charging stations were added. But the community has wanted to do better, developing numerous studies and plans for improvement, and applying without success for TIGER grants to implement plans.

New opportunities embolden the community. The 2010 Census expanded the Greenville Urbanized Area (UZA) to include Clemson Area Transit (CAT). In 2015 Greenville Pickens Area Transit Study (GPATS) has transitioned into the MPO for both GTA and CAT service areas with higher total population, vehicle miles, and ridership. New safety and technology advances have opened consideration of innovative, shared, automated transport solutions that can help attract more choice riders. Club Car recently proposed a pilot shuttle service using connected, assisted, and/or automated LSEVs in mixed use campus communities like Verdae with access to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

The new vision is a multimodal and multi-jurisdictional transportation plan across GPATS from Greenville Spartanburg (GSP) airport through Greenville’s urban areas to Clemson University.  The vision includes a new connected, assisted, or automated LSEV shuttle services, elevated, driverless car transit network system (ATN), or personal rapid transit (PRT), smarter bus transit proposed in TIGER 7 (including bus and traffic light sensors and electric buses) and more bike and pedestrian-friendly greenways with a focus on GreenVillages development.  A new integrated, smart transportation plan will create mobility hubs along GreenVillages developments that connect people living along urban

corridors so they would not need to own a car. This plan would deal with the issues of first/last mile transport, community health and safety, sewer and stormwater infrastructure improvements, traffic congestion, air pollution, transportation costs and traffic accidents. While improving mobility, an elevated ATN system itself would not contribute to stormwater runoff; however, development along its path would require improved sewer capacity and a system to handle stormwater from that and future commercial/residential development. Major issues to address include hardware and software options, data collection, and management and system integration.

GSP airport has already completed a feasibility study for their plan and will be issuing an RFP in 2016 for an ATN system similar to the Heathrow Airport system. In addition, GCEDC (Greenville County Economic Development Corporation) is revising an RFP for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to build a 20+ mile ATN system connecting attractor locations along major urban corridors. Clemson University and City want an ATN system to complement their CAT bus system, when funding is available, to reduce congestion.

Potential Envision Greenville partners include GE, Duke Energy, IBM, AT&T, Schneider Electric, Club Car, Clemson University as well as the surrounding communities of Clemson, Simpsonville and Mauldin for this project.  Through the development of their implementation plan at Envision America, they will be working to develop a model that could scale to other cities and towns in the United States.

Name of the City:  Cambridge, MA

Project name: Sustainability Metrics & Data Dashboard

Sustainability sector/topic: Sustainability metrics & data management

Keywords: building energy, data management, dashboard, open data, sustainability metrics, communication strategy, common language, data collection, eco-district, neighborhood testbed

Project description:  The City of Cambridge, along with other partners of the Cambridge Compact for a Sustainable Future (Compact), would like to develop a common system for collecting, analyzing, and communicating sustainability data  and impacts in near real time at the building and district scale to foster greater sustainability awareness and action. Examples of the types of data the Compact might be interested in communicating include aggregated energy use, daily bike counts, waste diversion rates, renewable energy production, number of energy and climate related startup companies, wastewater treated onsite, impervious surfaces, tree cover, etc.

Major issues to address include data collection and data management as well as deciding what data to make public, which data is most meaningful and will inspire action and what data analysis and dashboard tools are available and can be leveraged.  Last year, the City of Cambridge passed a building energy disclosure ordinance that requires energy reporting to the city.  As a result, the City has been collecting annual energy use data on building energy usage in properties over 50,000 square feet and is now working to communicate the metrics to the public.  The building energy data will be made public by the City in 2016, however it may prove to be a good test case for developing a data collection, analysis and display system and for expanding the existing data set to include monthly or real time data.

The Compact was developed by MIT, Harvard University and the City of Cambridge to work in a more coordinated fashion and to leverage the combined capacities in research, teaching, innovation, entrepreneurship, and program development to tackle local sustainability challenges.  One of its main goals has been developing a framework to  document progress toward the goals of the Compact.

In addition to members of the Compact, potential partners include energy and telecommunications firms that provide the services and products that are needed; university researchers that could help design and plan systems and state agencies such as the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Department of Energy Resources. Members of the Compact include MIT, Harvard, Draper, Alexandria Real Estate, Boston Properties, Biogen, BioMed Realty, The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Genzyme, Novartis, Homeowner’s Rehab, Twining Properties, Whole Foods, Eversource, CDM Smith, Forest City Enterprises, Akamai Technologies, Google, and the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC). There is great expertise in these institutions and organizations that could be brought to bear in their initiatives.

Name of the City:  Portland

Project name: Powell Corridor Sensor Network

Sustainability sector/topic: Transportation

Keywords: data management, dashboard, open data, sustainability metrics, eco-district, neighborhood testbed, sensors, smart bikes, smart transit, GPS, air quality, community health, hardware, software, traffic, housing affordability, urban

Project description: The Powell-Division Transit and Development project will bring more rapid and reliable bus transit to a pair of the region’s busiest thoroughfares: Powell Boulevard and Division Street between Portland and Gresham.  Portland’s first bus rapid transit line (BRT) is expected to begin service in 2020. This allows several years to deploy instruments, such as sensors, that can measure parameters before, during, and after construction, including meteorological conditions, air quality, and noise along the Powell Corridor neighborhood test bed.  Information about mode splits and volumes before, during, and after the implementation of the BRT will be evaluated with several physical, social, and public health measures, including several species of air pollutants, demographics shifts in adjacent neighborhoods, and respiratory illness at household scales. The city is also deploying a smart bike system which features technology and GPS functionality on the bike within the Powell Corridor to help address first/last mile options.

The City of Portland has recently installed a series of air quality sensors to test and monitor activity in the Powell Corridor and is in the process of assessing various low cost sensors that are smaller and easier to deploy.  The City’s goal is to assess the hardware options in the field, test the proof of concept, and evaluate the effectiveness and accuracy of deploying low cost sensors throughout the city. The results will help to create standard data collection methods, and support decisions making efforts about planning along the Powell Corridor. Other issues they would like to address are how to standardize the sensor data and determine who hosts it as well.

Key partners include the City, Portland State University, TriMet (the local transit agency), and technology providers.  This diverse set of stakeholders is interested in using the Powell Corridor as the designated test bed for the city and the region and would also like to use the data collected to assess the socioeconomic impact of development activity in the neighborhood.  The interconnected issues of air quality, traffic, transportation choices, public health, and housing affordability are foundational urban concerns, and the Powell BRT is an unparalleled opportunity to monitor the impact of policy interventions.

Name of the City:  Pittburgh, PA

Project name: Uptown Eco-innovation District – Integrated Smart City Systems

Sustainability sector/topic: Eco-district data management and Eco-district

Keywords:  smart city research, design, sensors, open data, sustainability metrics, eco-district, neighborhood testbed, smart transit, building optimization, WiFi, air quality, community health, hardware, software, traffic, housing affordability, urban, governance

Project description: The City of Pittsburgh will be developing their Uptown Eco-innovation District plan over the next two years. The plan is designed to be environmentally and economically innovative and to enhance equitable land use, mobility, energy, and infrastructure and will embody sustainability in all aspects of development; both people and place. The city would like to utilize the Eco-innovation District as a platform for smart city research, design and deployment.  This district geographical area will serve as a test bed to help solidify system integration and optimization for the various projects within the zone.  A variety of specific projects are launching in 2016 including smart street lights, a microgrid and district energy system and a network of smart buildings.

The deployment of smart street lighting and an information technology network will help reduce energy costs and serve as a platform for integrating information technology networks. The ability for the city to provide WiFi and cellular access via street lighting creates a new system of infrastructure that can serve as a host for additional smart city applications. The city also has a planned energy system within the Eco-innovation District. Integrating innovative new technologies, while minimizing disruption to existing systems is a concern. Also, the introduction of new building optimization technologies often requires reliable information technology networks. Matching IT infrastructure needs with building optimization technologies requires awareness and coordination. Other major hurdles to overcome include coordination between partners, such as utilities and local government as well as governance issues.

Key partners in their smart city efforts include local utilities Duquesne Light, Peoples Natural Gas and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. University partners such as Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh are key to the city’s activities as well.

Name of City:  Spokane

Project Name: The University District (UD) Smart City Accelerator smart street lights

Sustainability sector/topic: Streetlights

Keywords:  sensors, sustainability metrics, university eco-district, smart street lights, traffic, safety, data collection, data management, open data, open architecture, building design, public health

Project Description: The goal of the University District (UD) smart and connected street lights project is to install sensors on street lights in a portion of the 770 acre University District that will address multiple urban resiliency objectives including public safety, reduced environmental impact, cost effective operations and maintenance of public infrastructure and defining value streams across multiple owners. In addition, the project will allow the team to explore the viability of using street light based sensor technology for increasing the efficiency of parking and for traffic management. This project will also serve as a platform for related research projects at Washington State University (and other universities in the district) working with smart systems and smart environments targeted at community health initiatives.

The project partners have a vision of the UD serving as a smart city technology proving ground. The smart and connected street lights project meets all of the criteria for the initial prototype of how the District will serve as a sensor rich environment for proving urban innovations. The key challenge is the disaggregated ownership of the lighting infrastructure and developing one integrated plan for the smart street light sensor deployment as well as data collection, ownership, stewardship, management and analysis.  The various partners are committed to creating a unified optimization strategy and controlled research opportunity around the smart street lights. A central component of the project is further development of the open architecture, open data and open analytics platform set in the boundaries of the UD which connects the core strengths of infrastructure providers, industry leaders, universities, and the healthcare industry.

The smart city proving ground planned for implementation will leverage a wide variety of public and private data sets in proximity of multiple education and research sector partners to develop continuously improving smart city applications. Spokane intends to establish a policy and regulatory innovation zone overlay in the University District to sync up the implications of policy in concert with the user applications.

In addition to smart street lights, the City of Spokane, Itron, Avista Utilities, The University District Development Association, McKinstry and Washington State University are working to: implement shared advanced metering infrastructure, to develop microgrid projects with advanced storage features, and to apply advanced building design/materials/monitoring concepts between and among new and established buildings with occupants engaged to achieve the objectives of improving health through the built environment.

Name of the City: New York City

Project Name: Neighborhood Innovation Labs

Sustainability sector/topic: Innovation Labs and procurement processes

Keywords:  smart city research, innovation labs, sensors, open data, sustainability metrics, eco-district, neighborhood testbed, community, WiFi, air quality, community health, traffic, urban, community engagement

Project Description: New York City is establishing a new citywide network of  Neighborhood Innovation Labs to accelerate the testing and deployment of new smart city technologies across all five boroughs. These labs will place a special emphasis on traditionally underserved communities. Community groups and residents will be front-and-center throughout the process, defining sustainability, quality of life and equity problems where smart city technologies can have the greatest impact. Responding to these community needs, the City will challenge the private sector to offer new, innovative solutions, which will be tested through pilot deployments the Neighborhood Innovation Labs.

Developed by the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), and New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Neighborhood Innovation Labs will leverage the City of New York’s significant broadband expansion and LinkNYC Wi-Fi network that is increasing access to free, high-speed Internet across the city. The labs will also build on the work of the CUSP Quantified Community research facility and the City’s development of new Internet of Things (IOT) deployment guidelines.

The Neighborhood Innovations Labs will bring a comprehensive, citywide strategy to the City’s smart city work, streamline the process by which private sector companies partner with government to test and deploy new solutions, and ensure compliance with IOT best practices.  By involving the community every step of the way — from problem definition to feedback on new technologies — the Neighborhood Innovation Labs will ensure that smart city innovations are best positioned to improve the lives of all New Yorkers.

The first set of pilot projects from the City’s inaugural Call for Innovations are slated to roll out in early 2016.

Name of the City: San Diego

Project Name: Streetlights and smart poles

Sustainability sector/topic: Street lighting and sensor technology

Keywords:  sensors, sustainability metrics, smart street lights, traffic, safety, data collection, data management, open data, public health, deployment, roadmap, LED, climate action planning

Project Description: The City of San Diego is working on a variety of technology-related initiatives that benefit our communities and citizens. The focus is on both operating more efficiently and thus saving taxpayer dollars, and improving the delivery of services. Complementary to this “smart” approach to running city business, the City adopted a visionary Climate Action Plan in December 2015. The goals include achieving 100% citywide renewable energy citywide, 50% smart transportation, and zero waste as well as initiatives around energy and water efficient buildings and climate resiliency.

One project that supports these goals is San Diego’s streetlight retrofits. San Diego leads the way with the largest deployment of LED fixtures with adaptive controls, and in 2015 was the first U.S. city to pilot GE’s LED lighting fixtures with wireless sensor and controls technology.

The pilot focused on smart street-lighting fixtures that can provide data for parking optimization. The City is now evaluating the feasibility of deploying smart streetlights citywide with further opportunities to include sensors, wifi, and other technologies. Additionally the City will be identifying the optimal locations for deployment, services that can be provided using sensor data, resolving interoperability issues, and creating a business case for policy-makers to invest in this technology.

This project has been highly successful to-date, but was not without many challenges and lessons learned, primarily related to how traditional government procurement processes can often stifle the use of new technology in operations. As a result, City staff along with academic and private sector technology partners are now focused on creating a model that will allow a more nimble approach to incorporating innovative technologies into city projects, using streetlight technologies as the vehicle to explore this process. This model could include a checklist of necessary considerations, a flow chart for potential funding opportunities, and a deployment template.  Other key issues to address include maximizing the use of resulting real-time data collection such as predictive analytics and sharing of the data generated.

Ultimately, the City of San Diego has a desire to pursue a cross-departmental strategic deployment of smart city solutions with a focus on rethinking procurement policies. The ultimate goal of the Envision America project would be to use San Diego as a sandbox to explore and resolve challenges associated with deployment of intelligent infrastructure in a way that creates a roadmap applicable to cities around the globe.

Name of the City: Milwaukee

Project Name: Eco-Industrial District and microgrid

Sustainability sector/topic: Energy and microgrids

Keywords:  Smart city research, design, sensors, open data, microgrid, smart energy meters, sustainability metrics, eco-district, neighborhood testbed, building optimization, community health, hardware

Project Description: The City of Milwaukee is transforming several locations in the City into Eco-Industrial Districts that advance sustainability and economic development objectives. Toward those ends, the City is interested in piloting more smart technologies around distributed energy resource systems (DERS) and demand-side energy management in buildings. In addition, the City and the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) are interested in exploring how the “internet of things” technology solutions can be employed to make Milwaukee a “Smart City” that is a more attractive place to live and efficiently do business.

The City has partnered with M-WERC through its Energy Innovation Center, located in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor.  M-WERC has already completed technology “roadmaps” around DERS and building energy efficiency and is currently developing a similar technology roadmap around the Energy-Water Nexus (EWN). These technologies will help the City meet its energy reduction and climate mitigation goals while helping M-WERC test and market new technologies for global export.  In the 30thStreet Industrial Corridor, M-WERC has proposed an industrial  microgrid project in this central city redevelopment area, to be built to promote the intersection of technology and sustainability (and possible public safety) while spurring economic growth. Aspects of the Eco-Industrial District to workshop include the integration of the microgrid into smart energy meters in the district’s building stock and of sensors and other smart infrastructure to pilot public safety applications. Representatives from the City of Milwaukee, M-WERC (a partnership between local universities and Fortune 500 companies conducting research in the energy space), and other stakeholders will participate. With the support of these partners and others, the City of Milwaukee is preparing to support development of a unique, central city microgrid demonstration project.

Name of the City: Los Angeles

Project Name: Internet of trees.

Sector: Air Quality

Keywords: trees, canopy, drought, air quality, temperature, heat, water efficiency, water reduction, sensors, WiFi, radio technology, communication hubs, crowdsourcing

Project Description: The City of Los Angeles has the largest urban tree canopy in the nation, perhaps world, and they are facing serious considerations in light of necessary sidewalk replacement and the impacts of the California drought. Tree canopy can also be considered a proxy for healthy communities – improved air quality and stormwater capture, and reduced urban heat island impacts. The sidewalk replacement program will likely result in the replacement of 200,000 trees that must be monitored for the first three years until they achieve sustainable growth. The City envisions pairing its commitment to neighborhood-level air quality monitoring with the need to establish a network of connected sensors to existing and newly planted trees across the city in order to efficiently manage the canopy in the face of such issues. This will be happening during a time of historic drought.

This project would endeavor to pair the monitoring of air quality and monitoring of trees together to demonstrate how the Internet of Things can deliver healthy and engaged communities. This is an unusual and interesting smart cities project that would enable such environmental data to be connected to the Internet, monitored and sustained, and perhaps even adopted by the public.

Name of City: Dallas

Sustainability sector/topic: Transportation

Keywords: multimodal, multi-jurisdictional, smart transit, parking systems, integrated parking system, app, bus, bicycle, greenways, first/last mile, sensors, data management

Project Name: Smart transit/parking systems

Project Description: A growing challenge in Dallas is traffic and mass transit utilization and efficiency. Smart transit solutions around mass transportation that increase efficiency and the user experience could help increase ridership and get cars off the roads. Smart parking systems will also improve the user experience and congestion downtown.

Currently Dallas is working on integrating their parking system and developing a user-friendly platform.  This involves stakeholder engagement, assessment of current infrastructure and analysis of existing hardware and software options as well as identifying a pilot or testbed for the project.  The ultimate goal is to fully integrate multi-modal transit options, including car, bus, train, biking, bike sharing and walking.  Barriers include the development and standardization of technology around the mass transit system, buy-in from multiple parking lot owners and cost of adoption for infrastructure upgrades.