Smart City Series: Washington, DC

Capitol Building at night. Source:    smartcitiesworld.com

Capitol Building at night. Source: smartcitiesworld.com

Washington, DC, is quickly becoming one of the most advanced smart cities in the nation. As part of our ongoing Smart City Series, we are looking at how the nation’s capital is leveraging smart technologies to address city challenges--and create a better quality of life for residents. 

The SmarterDC initiative is creating a District-wide smart city technology framework for government agencies, industry partners, academia and other stakeholders. One of its main goals is to align smart innovations with citizen inclusion, digitally enhanced services and more efficient city operations. 

Here are some of DC’s most innovative smart city technologies to watch: 

Smithsonian’s National Zoo Solar Powered Park

In partnership with the Department of Energy and Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency, DC has implemented a solar and wind-powered air monitoring system at the National Zoo. The station is able to collect real-time data on air quality with measurements such as fine particle pollution levels, ozone, wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity--all while educating visitors about air conditions in the city. 

Flood Management Sensors 

DC is also planning to implement flow and level sensors that, along with CCTV cameras, can quickly identify areas of potential flooding. Along with smart cameras, the flood management sensors will detect surface level flooding and help warn first responders. This will allow for a more proactive approach for deploying resources and limiting damage caused by flooding.

Smart Waste Management

According to the Department of Public Works in DC, there are about 7,000 street-side waste cans that require maintenance 1-2 times a day regardless of fill level. This pilot program will test sensor technology in 400 of these waste cans that will then send data on fill levels, with hopes of increasing waste collection efficiency throughout the city. 

Critical Customer Notification

Using an Interactive Voice Response system, DC will be able to reach stakeholders with specialized notifications when a critical event occurs. This system will track the status of messages sent to customers, including hospitals, apartment buildings, and specific businesses. It will help increase the efficiency of communication between officials and any affected community members. 

Customer Open Data Initiative 

DC is in the planning stage of offering residents access to an online portal with multiple data sources that will have information regarding things like water main breaks, hydrant statuses and service line information. The portal gives specific information about events in an area, based on address, and allows users to download the data. 

Washington, DC is using their smart technologies to ensure that the future of the city is resilient, sustainable, transparent and collaborative. What “smart” technologies is your city is implementing? Leave us a note to discuss below.