Earlier this month, the Smart Cities Council announced that Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia had won a 2017 Readiness Challenge Grant. Each winner will receive a tailored Readiness Workshop to develop a roadmap for applying smart technologies to further innovation, inclusion and investment within their cities.
The SCC is the world’s largest smart cities network, with regional councils in North America, Europe, India and Australia/New Zealand. The world’s leading firms in smart energy, water and transportation launched SCC in 2012 to help cities become liveable, workable and sustainable.
The Council is comprised of more than 120 partners and advisors who generate $2.7 trillion in annual revenue and who have worked on more than 10,000 smart city projects past and present. SCC is internationally recognized as the author of the Smart Cities Readiness Guide, which provides the framework to produce Readiness Workshops.
Austin’s workshop will explore mobility and housing solutions with help from under-served populations. Indianapolis will focus on smart utilities, transportation and the continued development of an “innovation community” called 16 Tech.
Miami’s workshop will explore how to apply GIS data and waterfront sensors to the challenge of rising sea levels. Orlando will focus on tourism and public safety. Philadelphia will focus on building a regional smart cities ecosystem.
(statescoop.com, smartcitiescouncil.com, americancityandcounty.com)
Million Riders Use Extended Hours
During the past ten years, more than one million Blue Water Area Transit riders took advantage of extended travel hours to access and maintain employment in St. Clair County and beyond. Riders logged 1,007,177 trips during those improved hours.
Workers and job-seekers can pursue early and late shifts, now that bus service is available during extended hours. Some bus routes start as early as 5:15 a.m. and run as late as 11 p.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Job Access and Reverse Commute program launched BWAT’s improved commuter services in 2007. Since then, JARC has awarded BWAT more than eight million dollars ($8,502,493).
In addition to extended hours, JARC funding also started two regional BWAT routes to Macomb County. An express bus travels along I-94 and a local bus travels along M-39 with stops in Marysville, St. Clair, Algonac, Clay Township, Pearl Beach, Ira Township, Anchorville and New Baltimore. Riders have taken 183,525 trips on these regional routes.
The cost to ride these commuter buses is the same fee (80 cents for adults) as any other BWAT fixed-route or dial-a-ride service. At no additional charge, commuters can also connect with the regional SMART transit system to reach Downtown Detroit, Wayne State University and suburban sites as far away as Dearborn.
The Federal Transportation Administration and the Michigan Department of Transportation provided JARC funding. Local matching funds were not required. BWAT and MDOT have supported extended hours and regional routes since JARC funding stopped in FY 2017.
Texas Bonds Support CNG Buses
San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit is selling $82 million in bonds to buy 270 eco-friendly buses powered by natural gas.
The transit agency announced the bond sale earlier this month. An underwriting team led by Morgan Stanley is selling the $1,000 bonds that will pay 2.63 percent interest upon maturity in July 2029.
The purchase will accelerate the agency’s “SmartMove” five-year capital plan, according to VIA Metropolitan CEO Jeffrey Arndt. The plan calls for switching its entire fleet from diesel-powered buses to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas. Currently, the agency’s fleet includes 38 CNG-powered buses.
Jim Wilson, General Manager