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Kansas City Sets the Standard for Smart Cities

by Danielle Tallman | Feb 24, 2017

The Smartest and Most Connected City

Since the 2016 KC Streetcar grand opening, Kansas City has been at the forefront of a smart city evolution, with the streetcar as its spine. 


“This is the first of its kind system in the country, perhaps the world.” Curbed

The innovations and vision for downtown Kansas City, Missouri extend far beyond the streetcar; it is everything installed within it and how it is used. During streetcar construction, the city mapped an Internet of Things including: a system of sensors, public WiFi covering numerous downtown blocks, screens, smart LED streetlight system, and interactive kiosks. 

Digital Trends says, “with that in mind, what makes Kansas City especially smart is the addition of a newly-launched live map which draws on the city’s various smart sensors for a real-time visualization of the collected data.”

The live map, provided by Xaqt, offers data to the public on traffic flow, parking, and pedestrian hubs. The City of Kansas City, Missouri states that its collection of smart city data will lead “advances in technology to change the way cities work – from more efficient management of infrastructure like traffic signals, streetlights and storm-water systems to new ways to engage with residents and visitors.” Curbed says that, “soon, the video sensors will start measuring bicycle traffic, in part to help inform the expansion of the city’s bikeshare system.” 

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

Kansas City’s Smart City program is setting the standard for big data use, according to Smart Cities World, by launching the map and providing its data to 18 cities, five federal agencies, and two other countries. Kansas City also works with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to set standards for big data and personal privacy protection for the future.

Kansas City Living Lab states that, “Kansas City is becoming alive, in every sense of the word. It is opening its gates for investors and entrepreneurs to come and test their ideas and build applications, and is connecting the city on a vast scale.” Also mentioning that technologies developed by Cisco Smart + Connected Communities™ and Think Big Partners based the smart city around the Internet of Things technologies, which makes Kansas City a “Living Lab.”

According to Next City, Kansas City “created a set of principles, ratifying concepts like, say, data being used solely in a ‘manner that is consistent with the context in which it was collected.’”

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

See the entire smart city plan in “Beyond Traffic: The Vision for the Kansas City Smart City Challenge.”

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