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Smart city case study: Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista, the second largest city in San Diego County, is well known for its plans to implement a number of smart city initiatives to improve the quality of life of local citizens

The beginning of this year was promising for the city in terms of the outlook for smart city initiatives. In January, Chula Vista, as part of a joint proposal between the San Diego Association of Governments and Caltrans, the state’s transportation authority, was one of 10 regions chosen as an autonomous vehicle proving ground by the U.S. Department of Transportation, with its local network of streets and roadways acting as a testing area for self-driving vehicles.

Also, in February, the city was selected as one of 10 finalists in the Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant program.

Chula Vista officials have been working over the last 10 years to create a broad smart city program in order to redevelop more than 530 acres of the city’s waterfront to include smart city technology. The city’s masterplan stipulates four phases, which are expected to be fully implemented in 24 years.

The first phase of the project aims to implement smart city solutions to reduce energy use in the Bayfront development, while the long-term plan mainly focuses on city-wide energy efficiency and smart devices, data analytics and software to revamp the city’s critical infrastructure such as lighting, garbage collection, Wi-Fi and other city services.

The initiative also stipulates the construction of a 1,500-room hotel and convention center in the Bayfront area as well as a residential building. City officials believe that this phase of the smart city program could be fully completed by 2021 or 2022.

The city has also unveiled plans to implement an autonomous driving shuttle bus on a path from the downtown area to the Bayfront to transport visitors.

In order to develop its smart city initiative, Chula Vista had hired engineering and construction company Black & Veatch to develop the city’s plan for incorporating smart infrastructure. Black & Veatch’s Smart Integrated Infrastructure (SII) services combine expertise in energy, water, and communications.

The smart city master plan includes the deployment of high-speed fiber internet service that can support new services such as live streaming video to the police department to improve public safety in the city.

City officials said they aim to implement smart city initiatives under the master plan, including public kiosks, smart lighting, smart parking, vehicle automation and electrification of vehicles.

Some of Chula Vista’s partners in its smart city project include Cleantech San Diego, Qualcomm, Cisco, AT&T, Cox and M3.

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