Making San Leandro a Smart City

I never imagined I would be recognized as a champion of Smart Cities! But after learning what it meant to be a Smart City, I realized that it was essential for San Leandro to reap the rewards of becoming a smarter, more efficient, more resilient city. So, through collaborations with other cities, support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, conversations with community members, and strong leadership from the city’s Chief Innovation Officer, we worked hard to make San Leandro a Smart City, and we are already benefiting from the results.

What is a Smart City?

A Smart City uses data and technology systems to improve efficiency, manage complexity, and improve the quality of life for its residents, while using fewer resources. Smart City innovations include smart lighting, smart parking, smart transportation, smart waste removal, and countless other smart technologies and applications.

A Smart City looks at the bigger picture and makes plans for the long-term that take into account speed and the scale of the changes we face. If, for example, self-driving cars are going to be a primary mode of transportation, we need to consider this now as we plan for the construction and maintenance of our roads and transportation systems.

Smart Cities start with the infrastructure. The Lit San Leandro fiber optic loop laid the groundwork to attract new businesses and new jobs to the city, which brings in revenue and new energy to support our commercial districts. Lit San Leandro helped to attract Kaiser Permanente to the city because of its fast connection and its immense capacity to support their work. Lit San Leandro also provided us with the opportunity to showcase our Smart City initiatives at the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC), and through the GCTC network, we now interface with Silicon Valley and other neighboring cities about ways we can expand this fast network together.

The fiber optic loop enabled the city to install free, public Wi-Fi hubs in the city, and as a result of the Wi-Fi, we are able to manage over 4,800 individual street lights. The street lights have been retrofitted with LED bulbs, which lowers costs, and each light now features a smart node that allows it to be remotely controlled and manipulated. Our smart lighting system represents another infrastructure that will support future technologies.

Our work with Climatec represents another Smart City innovation. Climatec is installing energy and water saving equipment at numerous public facilities across San Leandro. This contract is a $5.2 million project, but our savings in energy costs will recover the costs of adding the new infrastructure. The additions will inform us when resources are not in use, allowing us to conserve energy and save money. The contract will soon pay for itself. The project also created a buzz, and because people liked the concept, we have received grants to fund additional innovations to make San Leandro a model of sustainability and innovations.

Finally, the STIR program “brings together cities and startups to explore how they can use technology to make governments more accountable, efficient, and responsive.” STIR teaches San Leandro how to make better decisions for the city using data. If we were to integrate data from our traffic lights and train crossings, we could improve traffic flow through adjusting the timing between both systems. Citizens can receive more accurate information and fewer transportation delays may occur because we would use real-time data to optimize the timing.

These are just a few examples of what it means to be Smart City. But the most important thing that I’ve learned is that becoming a Smart City is a collaborative process. I am incredibly proud of the strong partnerships we have developed with industry leaders and other cities to share best practices and resources. And I am overjoyed that our residents will benefit from quality of life improvements and cost savings that result from becoming a Smart City.

Thank you for reading my blog post about Smart Cities. Please visit my blog for other stories about San Leandro, drop by my website to sign up for my newsletter for updates and volunteer information, and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates about my campaign. Or just email me if you have any questions or ideas you would like to share.

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published this page in Blog 2018-04-24 21:53:17 -0700
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