Smart City Deep Dive: City Infrastructure Planning

Smart cities harness data gathered from the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and other technology to connect components across a city and improve the lives of citizens. The move to smarter cities is driven by states, governments, and public and private companies, and the installations are usually completed by private contractors, utility companies and cities. Smart city infrastructure planning starts city planning and assessing the goals of each city. Project planning follows, then project execution begins. The projects are complex and involve many locations, people, and steps.

Smart cities can help ensure social good

Data and technology can leave behind large groups of the population who do not have access to the latest tech or who aren’t tech-savvy, specifically low-income residents and senior citizens. According to Erie Meyer, Code for Americal National Network director, “To me, a smart city is one that begins work centered on the resident and ends work centered on the resident. you’re fighting for the experience of the people in your city and, ideally, the most vulnerable residents first.” With that in mind, smart cities have the potential to give everyone access to technology through projects like the installation of city-wide accessible wifi.

Sitetracker customer, Intersection, is providing internet and other capabilities to New York City through 7,500 wifi kiosks across the metropolis. The City of New York partnered with Intersection to create LinkNYC, a pioneering smart cities program to convert over 7,500 public payphones to wifi kiosks and create the largest and fastest free wifi network in the world. Beyond the challenge of creating an all-new, purpose-built fiber optic network, each kiosk deployment requires approximately 450 tasks, spread across 15 teams, from start to finish.

This project process includes contractors and third parties. Even with Intersection’s phased installation plan starting with about 4,000 units, that’s 4000 x 450 x 15 = 27 million potential points of friction or failure. Intersection quickly understood that traditional project management tools, such as spreadsheets and traditional software, simply weren’t going to meet the logistical challenge ahead. Intersection uses Sitetracker to ensure that New Yorkers all have access to wifi on the go.

Improve safety with smart city infrastructure

Safety can mean a lot of things for a city: healthier residents, fewer car crashes, or a faster emergency response to gunshots. While those three examples seem different, they are all aspects of civilian lives that can be improved with smart city technology.

Smart air quality sensors

Louisville, Kentucky is rolling out light bulbs that change color when the air quality is poor and a system that triggers a text to anyone concerned about air quality.

Smart traffic lights

In Maryland, the state is installing $50 million worth of smart traffic signals that can change their own timing to help clear traffic backups. In order to complete the installation, pavement sensors will need to be installed around the state. During rush hour, signals in a corridor will sync with one another and cut drive time by up to 13%. This project will require many steps, a lot of coordination and preparation in order to complete it on time and on budget.  

Preparing cities for the future

For a long time, electric vehicles have been unpopular to the masses due to poor range and limited places to charge. By 2025, there will be more than 350 new EV models on the roads with increasing mileage ranges—the tides have turned. With the massive influx of EV’s on the road, the charging infrastructure must be expanded. Installation of EV charging stations is typically overseen by the city and each city has a different series of requirements for the process. EV charging stations are installed at residents as well as across cities and involve a variety of steps that must be carefully documented in order to meet all city requirements. Smart cities need to upgrade their current infrastructure so they can accommodate the technologies of the future.

Smart city infrastructure planning has one common thread. No matter the project type, the projects are complex, require coordination, planning, involve multiple locations and many stakeholders. Prepare for the future of smart cities with Sitetracker. Sitetracker is a project and asset management platform that will help smart cities plan, deploy, maintain and grow in the future. See the platform in action and learn more today.