Will Trump’s infrastructure plan create a smart city revolution?

As the President continues to pursue his domestic legislative agenda, U.S. smart cities will continue their march toward the future.

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America’s crumbling roads and bridges are in dire need of a rejuvenating infrastructure plan to bolster them for the coming century. As President Trump attempts to secure funding for his bold building initiative, he may inundate his plan with support by fostering a smart city revolution.

Any serious infrastructure plan pursued by the president is likely to generate jobs and shake up existing construction norms in major cities throughout the nation. Yet should President Trump pursue a modern initiative emphasizing innovation and technology, we could come to see a proliferation of tech-based public works comfortably at home in the 21st century.  

As a former real estate developer, the 45th commander in chief could take a personal approach to rebuilding America’s infrastructure. So how might his plan incorporate recent technological gains?

Making the most out of the Internet of Things

Few things have come to define modern living more than the internet of things; our everyday devices which now collect data and communicate with one another continue to reshape our social and economic habits. By investing heavily in smart sensors and information technology platforms, the president could ensure that urban America leads the global cities of tomorrow.

Integrating sensors into transportation programs by collecting massive sums of data to determine which areas are heavily congested would foster ideas on how to create more efficient corridors of travel. Cities can employ new methods of transportation to lessen traffic burdens, such as the city of Columbus’ use of electric, autonomous shuttles.

Programs such as New York City’s NYCWiN could come to be adopted nationwide. These kinds of services transmit massive sums of data to management centers which then adjust traffic signals to lessen congestion.

Transportation isn’t the only area likely to be impacted, however; smart cities of tomorrow will integrate sensors and existing police initiatives to ensure greater safety. New York City’s use of ShotSpotter, which enables law enforcement to pinpoint the location of potential gunshots or explosions, is a prime example of how smart sensors are impacting the well-being of commuting citizens.

Integrate smart technology with existing infrastructure

President Trump’s efforts to rebuild our ailing bridges needn’t start from the ground up. Wireless sensors can be imbedded into existing structures or added when they’re being rebuilt, such as when a Minneapolis bridge was equipped with sensors that can detect stress early and warn authorities of an impending collapse.

Similarly, water infrastructure could benefit from a sensor overhaul that provides authorities with new monitoring capabilities. A smart water system that gathers data about the flow of city’s water can ensure it’s being used efficiently, and wastewater treatment can be expedited using sensors. By collecting mountains of information with ease, cities can accurately forecast how much water they’ll need in the immediate future, and save significant energy cost.

Barcelona has seen dazzling results by modernizing its water infrastructure, enjoying savings to the tune of $58 million annually from smart water tech. American smart cities that develop similar systems could find themselves reaping a similar harvest. 

By expanding wireless communication technologies, too, the president’s plan could come to modernize our rapidly decaying infrastructure while pumping gas into an ever more internet-driven economy. Wifi hotspots and modern parks that act as social hubs foster cohesion and increase public happiness, and can spur innovative thinking.

A reliable and renewable future

Any infrastructure plan catered toward the needs of 21st century cities must make renewable technologies a priority. While President Trump has shied away from green technologies in the past, his infrastructure plan offers him a chance to use the latest technology to boost growth while remaining ecofriendly. 

The National League of Cities has already made clear it’s opposed to any forthcoming infrastructure initiatives which reduce environmental protections. The president’s infrastructure could then garner support by advocating for greater usage of solar energy, and by developing socially conscience parks. Working with state governments and mayors, he could fund green initiatives in local communities throughout the nation.

Smart electric grids, which prioritize lowering carbon emissions and offering more clean energy at cheaper prices, can also stand to benefit from the president’s plan. The Trump Administration could make a push for greater access to charging stations for electric vehicles, and modernize electric systems to endure severe weather storms.

As President Trump continues to pursue his domestic legislative agenda, America’s smart cities will continue their march toward the future. If his plan take steps to embolden the technologically driven idealist aiming to include smart tech in every city, the United States will retain its place at the top of the technological and economical leaderboards.

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