A smart city is one that is currently testing or regularly using information, communications and technology (ICT) solutions in at least three areas, states IHS. These can include areas like transportation, safety, energy and the physical infrastructure of the city. It is estimated that the number of smart cities will rise dramatically over the next decade with projects in the U.S. and Europe embracing these energy-efficient solutions.
Currently, there are some cities in the United States that have adopted smarter and more efficient technological systems. For example, consider the following trio:
New York City
The Big Apple has been working towards a smart city mindset for some time. For example, they have already implemented a program called City 24/7, which is an interactive platform that combines data from government programs, residents and businesses to offer information to people at all hours of the day, notes Cisco. The City 24/7 smart screens combine touch, voice and audio commands to let people know about important information and services in the immediate area. In addition, people can access the smart screens through Wi-Fi on their own mobile devices. So, if you are visiting New York City and are trying to figure out where you should go for dinner, you can access reviews of local bars and restaurants that are in your immediate area as well as get discounts on meals right on your smartphone.
Another project that is helping make New York a smart city is Hudson Yards, located in Manhattan. The massive, 28-acre residential and commercial project will feature amazing and innovative systems like pneumatic tubes that are installed underground and will take garbage out of the area. In addition, Hudson Yards will feature technology that will allow it to keep tabs on air quality and energy consumption.
The leaders and citizens of San Francisco have been working hard for years to make the city as smart as possible, Freshome notes. For example, the city currently gets over 40 percent of its power from renewable energy sources, and there are a whopping 110 public charging stations for electric vehicles—the highest number in the country. In addition, San Francisco is working hard to make its public transportation system as user-friendly and accessible as possible. There are now more trains and buses than ever, and apps available through the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency offer real-time updates about commutes and other related information. The city also offers its citizens an impressive number of free Wi-Fi spots; for example, on Market Street in downtown, there are 3 miles straight of Wi-Fi hotspots.
Like San Francisco, Boston has been trying to use technology to boost the quality of life for its residents and visitors. For example, the city features Soofas, which are benches that use solar power to keep tabs on air quality and noise levels as well as to charge mobile devices and other items. Additionally, the Boston Department of Innovation and Technology has launched five apps that help residents do anything from finding parking to helping parents keep tabs on their child’s school bus. Boston also posts maps that identify some of the city’s “Wicked Free” Wi-Fi locations.