What’s a “Smart City”? No, we’re not talking about IQ or test scores. Smart Cities are places that are stepping up to the plate to tackle goals related to transportation and sustainability. These cities use technology in innovative ways in order to reach their goals, and are turning their streets into “urban laboratories” of sorts to manage the flow of the city and find ways to improve accessibility.
From free WiFi to reducing traffic, this list of the Top Smart Cities in the USA will make you think about packing your bags and living in one of these cutting-edge cities.
Pittsburg is working to eliminate carbon emissions by creating solar and geothermal energy grids that can be closely monitored. They also are increasing the amount of charging stations for electric vehicles to encourage people to drive green, while also making their streets more bike and pedestrian friendly. Pittsburg is one of several smart cities that is partnering with Comcast, the parent company of Xfinity, to provide free WiFi hotspots across much of the city.
New York, New York
New York City has made phenomenal strides in reducing electricity use by switching out most commercial light sources to LED bulbs, many of which are powered by smart controls. This means these lights can be controlled by remote access or a motion detector to help reduce energy usage. Now that’s a bright idea.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids is working on making Internet hotspots free for everyone. They’re also working to provide people access to information in real-time, sending traffic and public safety reports right to your phones. They are also implementing their “Complete Street” program. This program is used to ensure that every street is equally accessible to pedestrians, bicycles, motorists, and transit riders of all ages with all forms of accessibility needs.
Austin is one of the leading Smart Cities in the US when it comes to utilizing technology to improve transportation. The city has set up “Beacons,” or alerts that update people with real-time travel and public safety alerts. Austin is also working to improve efficiency on their transit routes by having passengers “check in” at certain pickup points. This public transportation “by demand” helps to calculate better bus routes.
Columbus is all about tackling one of the most dreaded problems of the modern metropolis: traffic. The city has created a system of sensors that feeds real-time traffic conditions straight to the street lights. The data is then used to help reduce time spent idling at traffic lights — which is a gamechanger, especially during rush hour. I think we can all agree that saving us from the scourge of traffic is a pretty smart goal.
Internet access is critical when it comes to job searching and finding hilarious cat videos. LaGrange understands this, and they’re working to make Internet free through a series of hotspots across the city. They’re also reducing Internet costs for your home when you bundle it with cable TV. This kind of access has the power to transform people’s lives and job prospects, making its residents more educated and plugged in to the latest viral video trends.
Fresno is also on the free Internet bandwagon (which is a bandwagon I think we can all get behind) and have partnered with local companies to provide free WiFi hotspots around the city with more rolling out soon. Their goals are to encourage ride share and the use of electric vehicles wherever possible, which makes streets more accessible for bikes and pedestrians while stopping that pesky thing known as pollution.
Louisville is using technology to improve data collection about the use of electric cars, starting with the use of charging stations. Through monitoring charging stations, they can keep them from using energy when they’re not in use, and also figure out whether or not they’re well-placed. By gathering this data, they can better place new charging stations, which adds convenience for consumers who are thinking about making the switch to electric.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco has always been hip to green trends, with initiatives like tree planting programs and mandatory recycling. They’ve rolled out a network of free WiFi hotspots across the city. They’re also working on making electric vehicles available for city employees and making sure that charging stations can be accessed for free to encourage everyone to switch. But San Fran isn’t stopping there: they’re also moving public transit over to electric power and want every aspect of the city to move over to renewable energy and produce zero carbon emissions by 2020. San Francisco is definitely the “overachiever” in this class, but we’re here for it.
Boulder is here to make its city more energy efficient, starting with efforts to move away from carbon based energy for their power plants. They’re also working to switch their buildings to solar power. When it comes to the politics of preventing energy companies from having a monopoly, they’ve also instituted a city committee to help with oversight and prevent price inflation.
Even if you don’t live in a Smart City here in the US, you can still get smart with your own home. Using SmartMove’s tools, find ways to optimize your home with smart home technology and find ways to save energy with things like smart thermostats and save money by bundling your utilities together. Now, that’s a smart move.