The Power and Promise of Smart Cities

We believe a smart city should keep citizens safe with streets that improve mobility for all modes of transportation. A smart city should actively employ strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and congestion, leading to improved air quality. Furthermore, a smart city should own its own data and use it to empower collaborative innovation among city departments, partners, academia, and developers who use that data to create innovative solutions to everyday problems. Once you’ve decided to make your city smarter, often the most difficult part is knowing where to start.

Our approach to creating a smart city is simple: start at the intersection and build from there. Cities shouldn’t need to rip and replace existing infrastructure and technologies in order to become smarter. With the right technology, they can build on their existing investments to achieve their smart city goals.

That said, we realize that many cities today are still struggling with maintaining their traffic network – they’re looking for ways to deal with inefficiency, aging infrastructure, and a lack of resources. While a smart city is the ultimate objective, cities must remain focused on dealing with the day-to-day issues resulting in citizen complaints. We believe smart city solutions should be designed to help cities solve their everyday problems, while gaining a platform that prepares them for the future. We believe that when you start small, a smart city is an achievable goal that can be attained incrementally.

Start At The Intersection

A smart intersection puts the safety of citizens first, communicates with the world around it, and completely transforms the way traffic engineering teams operate. From there cities can begin to explore the potential of how one smart intersection can lead to many, and ultimately end with the creation of a fully interconnected smart city.

Once cities lay the proper foundation, the future potential for solutions like freight signal priority, cyclist dilemma zone extensions, pedestrian safety analytics, and automated responses to traffic issues, become add-ons. Like adding a new app to your smartphone, adding new features to your smart city infrastructure becomes easier with the right hardware already in place.

We recently unveiled the World’s Smartest Intersection in Detroit, Michigan. It’s a technology demonstration meant to showcase the possibilities that come along with a Miovision TrafficLink implementation in a city. What people might not know about this groundbreaking proof-of-concept is that it all started with the basics: connecting traffic signals in the City of Detroit.

Connected Signals Are The First Step

Faced with aging infrastructure, failing systems, and a lack of resources, the traffic operations team in Detroit was struggling to maintain their traffic network. Rolling brownouts were plaguing the city, and staff were left to rely on citizen complaints just to be aware of issues. Outdated and unconnected infrastructure was a huge problem. The team lacked data and the applicable tools they needed to make accurate decisions.

Much of the city’s traffic budget was going towards signal maintenance, but because staff was unequipped to know when signals were in flash, or traffic lights were completely off, their solution was largely ineffective. The situation was also producing safety risks on roadways. Without a modern backbone to their signal infrastructure that took care of the basics, the city was unable to solve the bigger mobility problems, like emergency response times or transit reliability. They were ready to explore new technologies, but first, they needed to solve a simple yet crucial problem: how to know if their traffic lights were on, off, or in flash.

The city had very little in-ground connectivity, leaving them unable to connect to or communicate with 80% of their signals. They needed the ability to communicate with their intersections remotely.

The City of Detroit now has a way to identify and manage all the day-to-day operational and mobility issues in their city, and the potential to achieve their smart city vision all in one platform. They are a real-life example of how an investment originally made to solve traffic problems has the potential to become the foundation for innovative smart city solutions.

We Partner With The Best

We are excited to work alongside leading traffic safety organizations, like Stinson ITS, who share our vision for the future of smart cities. Together, we help cities solve today’s traffic problems while setting the stage for future smart city solutions.

By Matthew Trushinski, Director, Marketing at Miovision