5 takeaways from the March 'Smart Region' transportation meeting

Greater Cincinnati Smart Region - Smart Cincy, Ohio Kentucky Indiana

Monday, March 5th, 2018 - today leaders from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments hosted a meeting with administration and researchers from the University of Cincinnati, as well as executives from Venture Smarter, Metro, the Tri-State Logistics Council, and a handful of other organiations to begin putting action behind smart transportation and transit planning across the tri-state region focusing on connectivity, mobility, security, and sustainability as key pillars. A strategic partnership between University of Cincinnati researchers and leaders in business and government will prove to strengthen and expedite efforts in the city and region. Already, the City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability is dedicating resources on exploring connected and autonomous solutions with hopes of launching pilot projects as soon as possible. 

This was the third (monthly) 'Smart Region' meeting this year, as partners ranging from CVG Airport to Cintrifuse are navigating steps to streamline and enhance smart cities efforts in Cincinnati and throughout the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana region. The mission revolves around the City of Cincinnati becoming the epicenter of the Smart Region, where systems will work together seamlessly as you move from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, and even state to state. Sharing data, resources, and information will help leaders and agencies improve public service delivery to residents, businesses, and visitors as the city and the region continue digital transformation efforts aimed at improving people's lives.  New research will be activated, emerging innovations will be commercialized, and technology will be used as a tool to bridge the gap.

These efforts are timely, and a part of the shifting momentum towards smart mobility planning. Other recent announcements include:

  • Uber partners with Cincy Chamber, OKIRCG, City of Cincinnati on Smart Mobility Lab
  • UC Launches cyber range to be a test bed for statewide automation and cybersecurity testing
  • University of Cincinnati announces Urban Impact and Urban Futures agenda in 'Next Lives Here' vision

But Cincinnati and the OKI region need to plan ahead together. How can we integrate new technologies and strategies into our systems and infrastructure to solve pressing regional transportation problems? How can we ensure interoperability of systems across the region?

Meeting takeaways:

  1. Interdisciplinary and Interagency collaborations are required to launch pilot projects, grant and funding responses, and public-private-partnerships aimed at improving transportation and transit. In doing so we need to decide what problems we want to solve, how we will track and measure outcomes, and how we can collaborate with others to streamline those efforts. 
  2. Outcomes will include reduced congestion and emissions, more equitable access to jobs - education - healthcare, improved public transit systems, safer streets and sidewalks, and more diverse transportation options. "We aren't just talking about things like driverless vehicles, drones, and Hyperloop, although those projects are being planned in real-time. We are also talking about more immediate and practical solutions like smart traffic signals, bus rapid transit, employee and student shuttles (maybe even autonomous,) dynamic communications and alerts systems, centralized traffic management, workzone safety, data sharing for predictive planning, and of course getting people where they need to be - employees, students, patients, and visitors alike."
  3. Smart Mobility and Infrastructure planning will bolster social mobility and catalyze economic development for residents across the city and region. It is imperative that organizations such as the Chambers of Commerce play a key role in municipal and regional growth focusing on commerce and collaboration. 
  4. The City of Cincinnati is ahead with an open data exchange and insights platform, active IoT and advanced technology efforts, and ongoing collaborations with the University and other regional partners. We need to also think about a regional data exchange that protects privacy and helps guide and prioritize planning moving forward.
  5. Regional collaborators will explore a blanket partnership agreement to pursue smart city and relative grant, challenge, and funding opportunities such as NSF Smart and Connected Communities Opportunities, the 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge or the next USDOT Smart Cities Challenge Grants. Funding and financing, access to new resources, and strategic partnerships will improve the planning and development of smart and connected efforts. 

Smart Cincy is focused primarily on efforts in the City of Cincinnati, although the organization is an active partner and supporter of the larger Smart Region initiative. Smart Cincy and the Regional Smart Cities Initiatives are not for profit efforts driven by community, academic, business, and government leaders from across Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. To learn more or get involved, email hello@smartcincy.org or hello@smartregions.org. Subscribe to the newsletter for updates on upcoming working group meetings, monthly meetings, or the Spring Smart Cincy Summit on April 26th