The Obama Administration is launching a new Smart Cities Initiative to help communities reduce traffic congestion, improve city services and manage the effects of climate change.
The latest initiative is part of the administration’s overall commitment to target federal resources to meet local needs and support community-led solutions. Over USD 160 million will be invested to fund federal research and facilitate 25 technology collaborations to help cities tackle local challenges and increase economic growth.
“Every community is different, with different needs and different approaches. But communities that are making the most progress on these issues have some things in common. They don’t look for a single silver bullet; instead they bring together local government and nonprofits and businesses and teachers and parents around a shared goal,” said President Obama.
As part of the initiative, the White House announced USD 10 million in investments and USD 35 million in new grants to build a research infrastructure for Smart Cities by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NTI). For instance, NSF is awarding a USD 11.5 million grant to US Ignite and Mozilla.org to create living labs to facilitate citizen participation and sharing of ideas and applications in over 40 cities and communities.
The Obama administration also committed nearly USD 70 million in new spending and over USD 45 million in proposed investments to unleash new technological solutions relating to safety, energy, climate preparedness, transportation and health.
The Smart Cities Initiative priorities the development of Internet of Things applications and collaborations between cities, universities and industries to harness IT solutions for local problems. It also places emphasis on international collaboration and the significant export opportunity for the US to develop products and services dealing with urbanisation, climate change and resource challenges.