Finding more accurate and efficient ways of using data and technology to drive decision making has long been an urban planning dream. But now, with the introduction of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, it looks like the pathway towards a smart city future is becoming much more achievable.
With a wealth of funding opportunities – including a $500 million grant program specifically designed to power a smart city future – this is a piece of legislation that should definitely be on your radar if you work in city planning, civil engineering, or construction.
But what’s been standing in the way of smart city development up to this point? How exactly will the Infrastructure Bill help? And can Wejo enable you to eliminate these barriers? Let’s take a closer look…
One of the biggest annoyances for many city dwellers is traffic – that’s why reducing congestion is a key concern within smart city development plans. An example of this is shifting public transport routes to meet real-time demand, and intelligently optimizing traffic signals to improve traffic flow. In smart cities, public transport users could also keep track of their chosen transportation method and alter their route if needed.
Despite the above, there remain huge barriers to smart city adoption – with lack of funding being one of the biggest. After all, there’s a level of risk that comes with being a smart city trailblazer. If a project is the first to deploy a particular type of technology, without tangible evidence of how it will integrate into the existing infrastructure, investors are reluctant to commit.
America’s digital divide is also a common obstacle to smart city adoption. Currently, over 30 million Americans live in areas lacking broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. What’s more, internet access is costly, and viewed as an unnecessary expense by many – limiting smart cities at an interconnectivity level.
The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill could finance a number of meaningful smart city projects that can improve US citizens’ quality of life. In addition to rebuilding America’s roads and bridges, $89.9 billion of spending under the bill has been pledged to modernize public transit over the next five years. This sum could facilitate smart roadway technology implementation within a city’s transportation network – allowing urban planning teams to monitor road conditions in real time and in turn, make better decisions about future roadway optimization, such as the placement of traffic lights.
To address the digital divide, the Infrastructure Bill will also channel $65 billion into ensuring that every American has access to high-speed internet – another historic investment from the US government, and a huge step towards smart city development. Increasing connectivity throughout the country will serve to level the digital playing field, enabling smart technology adoption in more areas, and facilitating renewable energy expansion.
With the funding now available, local planners and agencies can start acting on the smart city opportunity. But first, they need to understand how their cities move, and visualize the knock-on effects of any improvements. For example, ‘if we pedestrianize this street, how will that affect traffic flow on this road?’.
Connected vehicle data can help you answer those questions. With coverage on over 95% of US roads, and location data accurate to within a three-meter radius, you can paint a more detailed picture of how your city is moving, in real time.
Where traditional data capture methods are often expensive and time consuming, connected vehicle data goes straight to the source, allowing you to extract only the data you need in a cost-effective manner.
Wejo is a SaaS provider committed to enabling a better and more efficient way of life through smart mobility. With our help, local governments and city planners are making improved, more informed decisions about infrastructure strategy.
See how we put this into action for Traffic Technology Services. By swapping traditional data capture methods with our solution, they were able to improve signal timing, design greater signal networks, reduce congestion, better manage overall traffic flow, and more.
Discover how else we’re paving the way for a smarter future here.