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Georgia Smart Communities Challenge winners announced

Georgia Smart said it welcomes communities of any size within the state to apply for technical and financial assistance that will help them to envision, explore, and plan for their smart future.

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Savannah plans to build new decision-making tools using a city data hub
Savannah plans to build new decision-making tools using a city data hub

Clayton County, and the cities of Sandy Springs, Savannah, and Valdosta have been named 2020 winning communities of Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Georgia Smart).

 

Georgia Smart is an award-winning programme that enables smart local development within Georgia through use of innovation to improve communities.

 

Smart future

 

Georgia Smart welcomed communities of any size within the state to apply for technical and financial assistance that will help them to envision, explore, and plan for their smart future.

 

Selected communities are supported in several ways; they receive:

  • up to $100,000 in grant funding to develop their pilot
  • technical assistance and funding for a Georgia Tech researcher
  • access to a network of peer governments to share best practices
  • access to a local, national, and international network of experts for advice on piloting a smart community.

“As an institution of Georgia, Georgia Tech is foremost committed to making our state better,” said Ángel Cabrera, president, Georgia Tech.

 

“We’re very excited about Georgia Smart’s third class of winners, who will be able to use our pre-eminent research and technology to improve lives, livelihoods, safety, and equity – no matter their community’s size, population, demographics, or income level.”

 

This new class showcases an expansion of the Georgia Smart programme and includes 17 additional community partners assisting with projects, and new Georgia Tech multidisciplinary teams for community research impact.

“Smart solutions, focused on the most critical challenges, help improve the quality of life and foster inclusive innovation”

Additionally, technical funding assistance has more than doubled this year compared to the past two years. Since Georgia Smart’s pilot launch, it reports, close to $2m has been provided and leveraged for the programme.

 

The summary of the new projects are as follows:

 

Smart Pedestrian Planning, Clayton County: this project will build a decision support system for transport project prioritisation to promote mobility and equity, and to identify smart technologies to support walkability throughout the community. The plan calls for engagement with high school students for data collection tasks and use of Georgia Tech’s semi-automated Geographic Information System collection process to gather sidewalk data.

 

Streamlining Suburban Transit, Sandy Springs: this project will develop a pilot transit signal priority system for the Marta bus service through use of an application programming interface, with the goal of reducing transit time for riders.

 

Civic Data Science for Equitable Development, Savannah: the city of Savannah plans to build new decision-making tools using a city data hub and analytics platform for programmatic outcomes for vacant and blighted properties. The project will build on work started through the 2018 Georgia Smart Albany project. Researchers will work with a number of partner agencies including the City of Savannah Housing and Neighbourhood Services Department, City of Savannah Information Technology Department, and Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition.

 

Traffic Monitoring and Communication System, Valdosta: this project includes development of a smart traffic management system that will connect all 128 traffic signals in Valdosta for increased safety and efficiency.

 

“Georgia Tech’s Smart Community Challenge drives communities to think broadly about how technology and automation can be a part of their future, connecting their citizens to solutions,” said Anne Kaiser, vice president, Georgia Power Community & Economic Development.

 

She added: “Smart solutions, focused on the most critical challenges, help improve the quality of life and foster inclusive innovation. Georgia Power is proud to support a programme that enables a more connected Georgia focused on building resilient and sustainable communities.”

 

Previous projects have also included work in Chatham County to install sea level sensors to measure flood risk during natural disasters and storms.

 

In Albany, an automated housing registry system was put in place to consolidate department data, improve efficiency, and build a coalition of collaborating departments that meet weekly to integrate the system into the city’s operations.

 

Meanwhile, Gwinnett County has won the National Association of Counties achievement award for its Connected Vehicle Technology Master Plan, and Chamblee is finalising their Best Practices with AV Shuttles report.

 

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