On February 20, 2018, the fifth event in the Lunchtime Tech Talk series took place and featured speaker Kenneth M. Leonard, Director of the U.S. Department of Transportation Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office. Leonard spoke to a full crowd of attendees including NJDOT personnel. Leonard, a recognized leader in the field of ITS, focused his presentation on the USDOT Smart Cities Challenge and the way connected cities and communities could become “smart”.
The Smart Cities Council has deemed a Smart City to be one that uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability. Leonard explained that connected infrastructure technology can support a smart community through such things as connected vehicles, sensor-based intelligent infrastructure, smart grids, data management and urban analytics, among others. He shared an example of components of a connected city, citing that “Transportation is critical to making a city work—in commuting to work, education, entertainment, as well as shipping and receiving products”.
Leonard highlighted the Columbus, Ohio demonstration project where a $140 million investment in Smart Columbus will create the Columbus Connected Transportation Network, which will include integrated data exchange, enhanced human services, and electronic vehicle infrastructure.
Leonard suggests that smart communities produce desired outcomes that include safety enhancements and efficiency in services. The Smart Columbus project has measurable outcomes, such as: enhanced safety through reduced truck accidents, increased mobility through minimized travel times, improved employment opportunity by reaching underserved communities, and improved air quality from reduced truck congestion and increased access to EV charging stations.
Columbus was selected as the 2016 winner of the USDOT Smart Cities Challenge competition, which included the participation of 77 cities nationwide. To read about the Smart Cities Challenge, please visit: https://www.transportation.gov/smartcity
View the presentation: Leonard, K. (2018). Smart Cities and Transportation.