Visualization of Kansas City traffic flow (image from Xaqt)

KC shares its smart city data, best practices

Kansas City, Mo., a finalist in the 2016 Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge, shared the first compilation of its smart city data with leaders from federal, state and local agencies  at a recent workshop to demonstrate how strategic analysis and application of big data will be used to improve city performance.

The data comes from the city’s investment in free public Wi-Fi across 50 square blocks downtown, interactive kiosks and 125 "smart" streetlights and sensors.

"The smart city sensors and digital tools are cool, but understanding how to use these tools – and the data that they generate – bridges the gap between cool and smart," said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. 

A real-time visualization of the data shows available parking, traffic flow, pedestrian hotspots and the location of streetcars. As the city’s smart infrastructure expands, officials said, they will use big data to drive decisions that save money through more efficient repairs and maintenance of streets, water lines and other infrastructure.

Kansas City published its data at a national workshop it hosted in cooperation with Think Big Partners and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The goal of the event was to develop a standard analytical platform for smart city data that meets the requirements of multiple cities.

Kansas City officials said the city’s methods for operationalizing big data, protecting personal privacy and using the data to solve city problems is expected to help the federal government set national standards and best practices for big data use.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.


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