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Top 3 smart cities in North America

A growing number of smart cities are currently under development in North America. City authorities in several cities across the U.S are taking steps in order to implement smart city schemes, mainly in the energy, traffic and transportation fields. Here, we describe three of the top smart city projects in the region.

Chula Vista

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.

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.

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.

Kansas City

Kansas City has partnered with Cisco, Sprint and ThinkBig on a smart city program, which aims to make it the most connected city in the world and attract technology, innovation and the entrepreneurial community. The initiative’s goals include enhanced internet availability, energy savings, new revenue streams, and improved connectivity with citizens, including efforts to bridge the “digital divide”. In the process, the connected city will also produce vast amounts of data, which will serve as a “living lab” for Cisco, Think Big Partners and other entrepreneurs.

The city has adopted a public-private partnership approach, whereby Kansas City will invest $3.8 million over the next 10 years. Sprint is investing around $7 million and Cisco around $5 million, according to Startland News.

As part of the initiative, free outdoor Wi-Fi will be deployed in more than 50 square blocks in downtown Kansas City. Sprint will roll out and manage the Wi-Fi network in partnership with Cisco. A network of 125 smart streetlights responsive to citizen activity will also be installed along the newly launched 2.2-mile downtown streetcar line. Sensors and integrated LED street lighting installed by Cisco will be able to capture data. Kansas City expects the light sensory network to save money and energy and reduce light pollution while the KC Streetcar Authority is interested in using the sensors to ensure safe, high quality rides.


Dallas is creating a Phase I living lab by incorporating five to seven projects in the downtown, West End area. These projects include smart lighting, waste management, digital citizen-centric kiosks, smart irrigation, smart parking and public Wi-Fi. City authorities are testing KPIs around economic development, energy and water cost and usage, public safety, transportation and others.

The outcome of all of these initiatives is to provide a case study for the city to see what worked and what didn’t and determine what to build going forward. The project has been successful so far, with many new tech companies moving to West End, like Snapchat and Accenture.

More specific project plans include:

-Intelligent LED Lighting: street lights in the living lab have been converted to LED and are on intelligent controls for remote adjustments and outage tracking.

-Sensors measuring environmental impacts, including air quality and crowd/noise detection.

-Waste management: solar powered waste management system increases capacity and productivity, sensors reduce CO2 and tells trucks when waste is high.

-Interactive digital kiosks allow for public Wi-Fi, energy services and wayfinding/transit options.

-Free Wi-Fi fiber/cellular LTE to provide coverage.

-Smart parking – There is access to parking downtown, but no one knows where to find it.

-Smart irrigation – demonstrate water and maintenance savings.

-End-to-end mobility solutions. Working with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), the DIA is giving citizens a single-point solution, incorporating all modes of transit, including: mass transit, car, rideshare, bike sharing, walking and smart parking solution.

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