Kansas City, Missouri Looks Ahead to Smart City Phase 2

Kansas City, Missouri is currently reviewing the completion of its Smart City Phase I and looking ahead to Phase II. Started in May of 2016 with a WiFi and sensor network on its 2.2-mile streetcar line, this “living lab” project enables connectivity between the sensors and devices. The KC Digital Roadmap has three major goals: to improve the delivery of city services, to enhance the citizen experience, and, to support entrepreneurship and economic development.

Phase I features 328 WiFi access points, 178 smart lighting video nodes, and 25 smart kiosks, which allow the city to collect data on downtowners’ behavior. The data – location of KC streetcars, traffic flow and pedestrian hot-spots, and parking availability in the downtown area – is easily accessed on the city’s open data platform. The smart kiosks offer information in a number of languages about nearby restaurants, events, weather, and other information collected from smart city sensors.

Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer at the City of Kansas City, Missouri stated. “… there’s only one city (Kansas City) that has Wi-Fi tied to an analytics platform, tied to traffic, tied to predictive analytics for potholes. … We think of the comprehensive whole.”

One focus of Phase II of the project will be the digitization of the Prospect MAX rapid bus system with the goals of increasing mobility, creating faster bus routes, and installing more smart kiosks. The installation of 7,000 new light poles will allow further for sensor and WiFi connectivity.

Aaron Deacon of Kansas City Digital Drive is producing an assessment on the smart city initiative. “Over a year since the Cisco+Sprint smart city corridor went live in downtown Kansas City along the streetcar line, the time is right for an assessment of the project’s progress, outcomes, impact and potential,” Deacon said. “Hopefully, we will have the report ready to present at the Smart Cities Connect Conference in March,” he said. “The report will include use cases, research and, hopefully, nice examples of tactical things we have accomplished.”