What are Smart Cities?
Smart Cities are municipalities and urban areas deploying connected technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. It involves improving everything from critical infrastructure and public safety to city lighting and energy efficiency, better traffic flow, and mobility, aiming to make cities better places to live, work, and spend while lowering their carbon footprint.
Smart cities use information and communication technologies to support smarter and more sustainable development practices in transportation, water supply, and heating and promote safer urban environments.
It conjures up images of vast, futuristic sceneries, such as a moving sidewalk with a high-speed railway and a swath of wind turbines spinning in the background.
Top 5 Smart Cities in the USA
The United States is the epicenter of technological innovation and implementation. US towns are adopting cutting-edge technology to become smart to address the issues with urbanization like traffic, shrinking real estate, and pollution. Here are five outstanding examples of smart cities in the United States.
1. San Francisco
San Francisco is working on several smart city initiatives. This makes sense because, besides being close to Silicon Valley’s technology epicenter, San Francisco is also the country’s second-most densely inhabited city.
The smart city program in San Francisco prioritizes energy conservation. This covers commercial energy use, as San Francisco already has over 300 LEED-certified buildings and the objective of generating 100% of the city’s electricity from renewable sources.
The Global Smart City Index 2020 gave the city a BBB rating. Residents say it shines at providing internet access to employment listings and comments on local government projects.
Residents of San Francisco, like those of New York, DC, and Boston, regard the city as a global leader in cultural activities. San Francisco also wants to develop a smart infrastructure that will allow autonomous vehicles to operate across the city.
The main focus is creating a connected vehicle grid for autonomous vehicles to interact with and traffic guiding systems for self-driving cars to avoid crowded regions.
San Francisco’s dynamic and creative culture has resulted in the city’s adoption of numerous new smart technologies. San Francisco earns its status as an avant-garde city with various green initiatives and smart parking systems.
2. New York
Unsurprisingly, New York City appears on nearly every ranking of smart cities published in the United States and worldwide, and it ranks first on our list. The annual Smart City New York worldwide conference is held in New York City, providing opportunities for the future.
The city has implemented an Automated Meter Reading system to keep track of water usage and provide residents with a clear snapshot of their water consumption to understand better how that water is being used.
Hundreds of other smart sensors have been installed in New York City to monitor anything from waste bin levels to air quality.
Hundreds of touchscreen kiosks have also been put on city streets, where residents can get local information and charge their phones. NYC Challenges, LinkNYC, Midtown in Motion, and Cyber NYC are some of the other smart technology initiatives.
According to a poll of inhabitants of New York and more than 100 other major international cities conducted by the Global Smart City Index (GSCI), New York is one of the best cities for internet speed and reliability, traffic congestion information via mobile phones, and cultural events.
Many smart city projects in the United States aim to alleviate traffic congestion. After implementing their smart traffic system, Pittsburgh discovered that emissions were cut by 21%, and wait times were decreased by 41%.
Pittsburgh is ranked number six on our list of smart cities because of its unique system. In Pittsburgh, sensors are placed around the city to monitor traffic movement and relay the information to a central point.
The data is analyzed by an AI (Artificial Intelligence) system, generating a strategy to transport vehicles through the city with the fewest possible wait periods at crossings.
AI can operate smart stoplights and change the timing to control traffic flow properly. One of Metro 21’s dozens of initiatives is an artificial light survey of Pittsburgh at night, with resolutions finer than open satellite surveys.
Drone flights with cameras and spectrometers construct a high-resolution map of Pittsburgh at night. The information is used in scientific studies of light pollution and its consequences and identifies the city’s biggest light polluters.
One of the first smart city plans in the United States was Boston’s. Given its proximity to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus and other top-tier universities, Boston’s standing as a smart city innovator should come as no surprise.
The city’s approach to smart city technologies has varied over time, from embracing the most cutting-edge innovations to taking a more measured approach.
One of Boston’s primary concepts is to allow residents to contribute data to the city instead of relying solely on smart devices to collect data.
Residents can utilize numerous applications to report potholes in the roadway, various infrastructure problems, and even connect with local officials.
Residents in Boston can even use an app to track their child’s school bus. Boston hopes that the data they collect will reduce traffic congestion and improve the city’s services over time.
After years of failed pilot programs, the city’s Smart City Playbook encourages tech companies and researchers to focus on near-term practical advantages rather than data and algorithms.
The idea is to focus on solving genuine problems for real people rather than efforts that result in “glossy presentations and a collective yawn.”
Austin is one of the most technologically advanced cities in the United States, and it is using cutting-edge technology to better the lives of its citizens. It has a rapidly growing technology center and has had an open data directive in place since 2013.
Austin has been involved in several smart city efforts, including upgrading its electric infrastructure to a more efficient digital meter system.
A modernized electric grid makes it easier to integrate renewable energy sources and charge a growing fleet of electric vehicles. Free Wi-Fi in public parks and 5G trials are among the city’s other initiatives.
They have enlisted their mobility ambitions on their dedicated smart city page on the internet, including automated and linked vehicles, intelligent sensors, open data, and real-time traveler information.
They have created regional relationships with the Texas Department of Transportation, the University of Texas, and Austin Energy. Austin has the plans and resources in place to fulfill its lofty objectives.
One of the most appealing aspects of a smart city is that it does not always necessitate a large initial investment. These cities are just a few instances of how technology is being used to help us live better lives.
Each of them has developed its strategy for properly managing its resources, and other cities worldwide should take a page from their book to provide a better living for their residents.
By 2030, we predict smart cities will be mainstream in the United States, with city people across the country reaping the benefits.