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Kansas City shares ‘first’ smart city data

As the smart city infrastructure expands, Kansas intends using big data to drive decisions that save taxpayers’ money

Kansas City shared its compilation of smart city data with 18 cities
Kansas City shared its compilation of smart city data with 18 cities

Kansas wants to show other cities how big data can be used to help improve performance

Big data will drive decisions that save taxpayers' money in a number of different areas

Kansas City, Missouri, has shared the first collection of its smart city data with 18 cities, two countries and five federal agencies in a bid to help improve other cities’ performance.


The city, which claims to be the most connected in the US, also offered city leaders an explanation of how strategic analysis and application of this big data should be used. Its methods for operationalising big data, protecting personal privacy and using the data to solve city problems is expected to help the federal government set national standards and best practices for big data use.


“The smart city sensors and digital tools are cool, but understanding how to use these tools – and the data that they generate – bridges the gap between cool and smart,” said Sly James, mayor of Kansas City.


Nine months ago, Kansas City rolled out its $15m smart city programme which includes free public wi-fi across 50 square blocks downtown, 125 smart streetlights and interactive kiosks to engage citizens. It also unveiled a new two-mile KC Streetcar system. The initiative includes smart sensors that collect big data, in real time, to help the city operate more efficiently.


The public can see a real-time visualisation of the data on a map that shows available parking, traffic flow, pedestrian hotspots, and the location of streetcars. As the smart city infrastructure expands, the city plans to use big data to drive decisions that save taxpayer money through more efficient repairs and maintenance of streets, water lines and other infrastructure.


“We’ve been testing the quality of the data collected through our smart city infrastructure,” said Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer, Kansas City. “Now we will put it to work to benefit city residents.”


The city owns the data and plans to migrate it to the city’s Open Data Catalogue. It is being introduced via a platform operated by Xaqt, a technology partner firm, to display the data.


“The smart city program is one more reason why talented Millennials and progressive, industry-leading companies are relocating to Kansas City’s downtown area,” added Tim Cowden, president and CEO, Kansas City Area Development Council. “Kansas City is a leader in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship – a model for other cities around the world.”


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