North America has just gained one of its first ‘smart cities’. Kansas City started rolling out a new program which will be offering online, real-time traffic and parking data.
We are living in an increasingly inter-connected world. And some consider that our cities should keep up and make use of the current technological advances. As such, Kansas City set out to become the first ‘smart city’.
Its purpose? City officials will be trying to show the residents that they can benefit from real-time data gathering. More exactly, from the technology installed on the city’s light poles and streets.
On February 07, Kansas City released the first example of a future smart city feature. City authorities announced and released an online interactive map. This is widely accessible to the public. And it will provide various traffic and parking information. All of which will be in real-time.
For example, it will point out available parking spaces. Or it will offer traffic data and KC Streetcar locations. Its data will be gathered by 122 video sensors. These were installed in the downtown. They were placed on a 2-mile long segment along Main Street.
The online interactive city map was presented during a press conference. And during the same event, city officials presented another ‘smart city’ future feature.
A city contract made an Alexa demonstration. The smart assistant was installed on an Amazon Echo device. During the presentation, the contract asked which city buses were running late. And the system offered a complex answer. It presented a list of the top five buses that were running late. It did so by correlating their routes with the available real-time data.
Both the Alexa demonstration and the city map are part of a larger program. This was launched nine months ago. At the time, Kansas City officials launched the KC Streetcar. They all features part of the ‘smart city initiative’. The $15 million program is trying to bring technology closer to the city. And subsequently, to its residents.
Kansas City officials also stated as follows. They declared that their city was “the most connected” one in North America. Their statement was based on several facts. For example, Kansas City offers has a free public Wi-Fi system. And it also offers interactive kiosks. These are placed along its streetcar segment.
The available technology will combine with the newly introduced one. Data gathered by these new sensors should help the city become more efficient. And it should offer up-to-date information to its residents.
The online city map will offer traffic data. It will also show the current location of a streetcar. As well as the number of vehicles that pass by it each hour. It will also present their real-time speed.
Available parking spaces will be colored green. As such, users should find it easier to detect a parking spot. They will just have to click on a parking area icon. This will present all their available spots.
Kansas City officials hope to expand the new sensors system. It could be installed in other congested areas of the city as well. In the future, the Alexa system could also be better integrated.
It may come to offer valuable data to its user. For example, it may suggest free parking spot, just as the city map. Or it could offer a daily events and public activities forecast.
Kansas City authorities have big plans. They will try to expand the sensors network. And also offer them new uses. Which could also open up new features for its residents.
Image Source: Wikimedia