A downtown Dallas neighborhood is getting smarter through a technology-enabled smart city pilot project. Rolled out in Dallas’ West End, the pilot includes intelligent LED street lighting, kiosks with digital maps of the area, public Wi-Fi, and smart irrigation systems. In the process, city officials are learning how technology can help them more efficiently use the city’s resources.
The non-profit Dallas Innovation Alliance chose the West End as its testing ground because of its access to public transit and mix of office buildings, apartments, and restaurants. Data and insights from the pilot are helping them to understand possible benefits, like less crime, more cost savings, and a boost in foot traffic for local businesses.
“Investing in smart cities technology is a commitment to address the needs of citizens today and in the future,” said Mike Zeto, general manager, AT&T Smart Cities. “The City of Dallas is doing important work, testing solutions that can lead to improved public safety, citizen engagement and environmental sustainability. Key learnings from the Living Lab will prove invaluable as we work to scale these types of solutions to more cities across the country.” 1
“The goal is how can we make it as simple and cost effective as possible,” said Jennifer Sanders, executive director, Dallas Innovation Alliance. “That can be the biggest challenge to getting this scaled.” 2
There is certainly cause for scaling the initiative, based on its initial results. About a year after the pilot’s first phase, revenue grew for West End businesses by nearly 17 percent, and customer traffic increased almost 7 percent. The increase in business activity and improved lighting have aided in a 6 percent decrease in crime. 3
Phase 2 Adds Smart Water Management
Building on the success of phase one of the pilot, the alliance is rolling out even more ambitious initiatives for phase two, including:
Smart irrigation: WeatherTRAK irrigation controllers will be installed to improve water conservation through the use of weather data. The controllers will also monitor water usage and analyze it for leak detection.
Smart water management: Water metering from Washington-based Itron will provide more granular interval data for detailed analysis and problem solving, as well as detect leaks and tampering.
Smart parking: Dallas startup ParkHub will offer real-time traffic flow information and parking spot availability via a mobile device. Sensors will track traffic patterns and open parking spaces. It could eventually allow Dallas drivers to find an open parking spot through a smartphone app instead of circling the neighborhood.
AT&T Smart Cities Digital Infrastructure: This project, powered by City IQ by Current, will deliver initial applications that include “TrafficPulse,” “ParkingView” and “CitySight.”
Public Wi-Fi: AT&T, Cisco, Nokia and Scientelwill provide free and available Wi-Fi to people who visit or work in the four-block corridor of the West End.
According to BCC Research, the smart city market is predicted to grow 15.8% (CAGR) through 2023, as city demand for more effective city management tools becomes stronger.