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January 2017

Bellevue tapped by White House for "Smart Cities" initiative

Bellevue was selected to be one of four cities to support a White House initiative on using the Internet of Things to create technology-based solutions to tackle large-scale problems that reduce quality of life. The cities will collaborate with other communities and with technology partners to help reduce traffic congestion, deter crime, grow local economies, curb the effects of climate change, and provide more effective deliveries of services to residents.

Bellevue's grant, awarded in September during Smart Cities Week, will be used to create dashboard-style internet interfaces for sharing data among city departments, and eventually, with the public. Bellevue's initial interests will focus on using real-time data to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services involving public safety, water, transportation, energy, connectivity, and buildings.

The grants are an outgrowth of a program started more than three years ago when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) teamed with US Ignite to launch the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC). Previously, GCTC focused on drawing attention to the challenges and potential of smart city technologies, and helping to create collaborations around the world.

NIST (formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards) also identified the city of Bellevue as one of seven lead cities that will work with public- and private-sector collaborators as so-called multi-team super-clusters.

Other Replicable Smart City Technologies grants will address air pollution and flood prediction. The shared goal is to create technology-based solutions that can be fine-tuned and replicated for implementation by other jurisdictions.

Portland, Oregon will use its grant to deploy and test low-cost air quality sensors to measure urban air pollution. The framework developed there is expected to help other cities implement similar monitored networks.

Montgomery County, Maryland will enhance its Safe Community Alert Network (SCALE) project, which aims to ensure a safer environment for residents by using Wi-Fi enabled sensors (instead of phones) to alert first responders to an emergency.

Newport News, Virginia, will develop computer models to predict urban flood events. Both water-level sensors and crowd-sourced data will be used to help increased situational awareness of storm events.

"We are honored to partner with NIST, our city of Bellevue client, and other cities in creating efficient, accessible communities that will provide long-term benefits for citizens and other stakeholders for Bellevue and potentially other cities around the world," said Joseph Danko, global managing director for CH2M's Urban Environments & Sports group and leader of the company's Great City Solutions program.

"Often cities install smart lighting, parking, water, and other systems in a vacuum that are costly to integrate together later on," added Ken Thompson, CH2M's deputy director of Intelligent Water Solutions. "Together, we're creating a citywide platform with a vision for the future that breaks down silos, improves efficiencies, and provides substantial benefits for residents."