Four Cities Selected to Receive Smart Communities Challenge Grants

June 19, 2019

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Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert welcomes attendees to Macon, GA.
After a successful launch in 2018, Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Communities Challenge named four new grant recipients at a special event at the government center in Macon June 18.
 
The 2019 winning proposals are Columbus Smart Uptown, Macon Smart Neighborhoods, Milton Smarter Safer Routes to School, and Woodstock Smart Master Plan and Corridor Study.
 
This is the second round of Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, a funding and technical assistance program for local governments in the state of Georgia. Recipients are to develop a pilot project around mobility and equity and smart resilience with assistance from a Georgia Tech researcher. The projects utilize smart technology such as intelligent infrastructures, information, and communication technologies; Internet-of-Things devices; and other computational or digital technologies such as data centers and portals, web and smartphone applications, and automated digital services.
 
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Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson speaks at the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge event.
“Georgia Tech is very proud to have played a leadership role in the Georgia Smart program, which we believe will improve the quality of life in the participating communities and also provide models for other communities throughout Georgia to consider as they strive to make life better for their citizens,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson.
 
“The projects that were funded this year are perfect examples of how Georgia cities are utilizing smart solutions to address the challenges they face,” said Larry Hanson, executive director of the Georgia Municipal Association. “GMA is proud to be a supporter of this unique effort and continues to be impressed with the creative efforts being undertaken at the local level to create data-rich environments to help solve pressing local issues.”
 
Here is the summary of each of the new projects.
 
Columbus Smart Uptown, Columbus
The project seeks to improve safety and security, transportation systems, and connectivity to drive economic growth in the uptown district through the installation of Internet-of-Things devices, providing public wifi, and integrating data into management. Georgia Tech researchers involved include John Taylor of civil engineering and director of the Network Dynamics Lab, Neda Mohammadi of civil engineering, and Russ Clark of the College of Computing. The collaborators include Uptown Columbus and the Muscogee County Schools.
 
Macon Smart Neighborhoods, Macon-Bibb County
This project will address underserved areas of the community by installing smart kiosks that will provide internet connectivity and on-demand services. This will promote community empowerment and give an equal voice to all residents. Working with Arthi Rao of the Georgia Tech College of Design and the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, the project’s collaborators include the Macon Transit Authority, Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority, Downtown Business Improvement District, Eisenhower Business Improvement District, Bibb County Schools, Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University, Central Georgia Technical College, and Wesleyan College.
 
Milton Smarter Safer Routes to School, Milton
To promote walking and biking to school, this project will create a network of programmed devices such as smart phones to connect students and parents and arrange supervised groups, designate safe primary routes, and provide wait times for students wishing to join the walking/biking groups. Kari Watkins and Angshuman Guin of the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering will provide technical assistance, and the key collaborator is Fulton County Schools.
 
Woodstock Smart Master Plan and Corridor Study, Woodstock
This project will conduct a smart corridor and infrastructure study to improve mobility and congestion in the city and deal with rapid growth and uneven commuting patterns. Ramachandra Sivakumar of the Georgia Tech College of Design and Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization will consult. Collaborators include the Woodstock Downtown Development Authority and Black Airplane design and development agency.
 
"We are proud of the work and accomplishments the first class of Georgia Smart has already achieved and know most will continue their research partnership in year two. We are also looking forward to bringing a new class in and expanding the portfolio of smart applications for community and economic development.,” said Debra Lam, managing director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. “Most importantly, though, we remain committed to all communities in Georgia and will continue to provide programming and opportunities for them as they develop their own smart future."
 
In addition to the Georgia Municipal Association, collaborators in the Georgia Smart program include Georgia Tech, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions, Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Planning Association, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Technology Association of Georgia, and Georgia Power.
 

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