<![CDATA[GA Smart Communities Share Mid-Term Progress]]> 34928 The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Georgia Smart) is an award-winning program that encourages local communities across the state to develop, test, and implement new practices that contribute to a smarter and more sustainable future. Each year, communities apply to participate in the program, and selected communities are connected with resources, partnered with a Georgia Tech research team, and additional collaborations to help execute their projects. In March, the four current communities — Sandy Springs, Savannah, Clayton County, and Valdosta — each presented on their projects’ progress at the midpoint of the year:

SANDY SPRINGS: In partnership with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the city of Sandy Springs’ project aims to improve the existing bus system by improving the on-time performance of MARTA buses. Project lead Kristen Wescott said the effort will pilot Transit Signal Priority (TSP) technology that communicates with an application program interface (API) instead of communicating with units onboard individual buses. Michael Hunter, a professor of civil engineering at Georgia Tech, presented the data collection process developed for the upcoming TSP pilot. The three primary categories — transit, traffic, and signal data — will all be stored in one central location, and easily accessible to all project partners. Once completed, the Sandy Springs project will become the only continuously running transit priority system on this API in the country. Following initial findings, the Sandy Springs project leaders expect to perform pilot tests of the TSP with subsequent analysis of findings. Additionally, the project will survey non-transit riders during the summer to understand why people are reluctant to ride public transit.

SAVANNAH: Savannah’s project aims to reduce vacant, abandoned, and dis-invested (VAD) housing and replace it with affordable housing options. Since its launch project lead Brian Brainerd said team members have focused on locating VAD properties and researching the impact of housing public policy on VAD-designated units. Xiaofan Liang, a Georgia Tech graduate research assistant, has developed a comprehensive infographic to explain the process of urban property regeneration. Moreover, Liang’s contribution to this project is primarily the development of a machine learning model that uses seven VAD indicators to determine where VAD housing likely exists. In conjunction with this data collection, Omar Isaac Asensio, an assistant professor at the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, is leading a research team that is compiling publicly available data to develop deep learning models to understand how different policies comparatively increase property values, which in turn affect the greater community. For the rest of the year, Savannah’s project aims to survey 100 households that are adjacent to VAD properties to assess their perceptions of their neighborhoods’ trajectories. Additionally, the project team hopes to develop a participatory engagement tool with the city’s 311 system. Most importantly, the project will include residents in upcoming discussions about changes they would like to see in their home communities.

CLAYTON COUNTY: Partially funded by the Atlanta Regional Commission, Clayton County’s project has envisioned a plan for a future that includes safer, more accessible walking for citizens, said project lead Jason Brookins. Georgia Tech’s Arthi Rao described the project’s priorities and how they could be met through a number of resources including grant funding and research partnerships to yield data collection, database development, and a methodology to develop an overarching solution. Clayton County chose to develop a comprehensive prototype sidewalk network named Sidewalk Flythrough to distinguish areas of need. General areas of interest have been selected through publicly available census data, but the project has gone a step further by conducting on-foot research.The county has engaged 28 high school students who are visiting different areas to ensure that sidewalks are accurately reflected in Sidewalk Flythrough. To date, approximately 4,044 sidewalk samples have been collected. To communicate with community members as well, the project has used the ClickClayton app to receive tips from residents on areas of concern. The Clayton County project will continue to support high school students to collect sidewalk samples. Additionally, team members will develop a survey that seeks to understand how people feel about their sidewalks. The project will partner with the Clayton County Office of Communications to publicize this survey as well as hosting in-person community events.

VALDOSTA: The city is piloting a traffic management system that connects all 128 of its traffic signals. The project also includes hardware and software upgrades for traffic signals, traffic control operations centers, and select fire trucks. The project has successfully launched the TravelSafely app, which connects users’ phones to a network of traffic intersections and other high-risk driving areas. Thus far, 52 traffic intersections have been configured and tested by technicians for TravelSafely as well as Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP). Three of 10 selected fire trucks have been equipped with preemption units to decrease response time. In addition, project leaders have engaged with Valdosta State University (VSU) to introduce research and educational opportunities related to the initiative. Two courses related to traffic engineering and management are being offered at VSU as well as a survey for students to provide input on their transportation on campus. Currently, the project is continuing work on TravelSafely. Not only is the project working on configuring the rest of the traffic intersections, but team members are also implementing functionality into the app that warns users when they are entering and exiting school zones. As the app gains more functionality, the Valdosta project will also promote its usage through social media, radio stations, and speaking engagements.

]]> kk151 1 1619654964 2021-04-29 00:09:24 1619702990 2021-04-29 13:29:50 0 0 news The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Georgia Smart) is an award-winning program that encourages local communities across the state to develop, test, and implement new practices that contribute to a smarter and more sustainable future. In March, the four current communities — Sandy Springs, Savannah, Clayton County, and Valdosta — each presented on their projects’ progress at the midpoint of the year.

]]>
2021-04-28T00:00:00-04:00 2021-04-28T00:00:00-04:00 2021-04-28 00:00:00 636637 636637 image <![CDATA[2021 GA Smart]]> image/jpeg 1593544135 2020-06-30 19:08:55 1619698932 2021-04-29 12:22:12
<![CDATA[Resilient Energy Infrastructure: Lessons from Texas]]> 34928 Resilient Energy Infrastructure: Lessons from Texas

By: Suemin Lee

In mid-February, winter storm Uri swept across Texas, leaving millions of civilians without water and electricity for days. In the weeks following the storm, there was a lot of discussion what went wrong in Texas and what could have been done mitigate the post-storm challenges and accelerate recovery efforts.

The lessons learned from Texas and the way forward was the focus of our #SMARTer Together webinar series, which hosted a special edition on March 18th with Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute and School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, entitled Resilient Energy Infrastructure. Panelists included Emily Grubert, assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Arshad Mansoor, president and CEO of the Electricity Power Research Institute (EPRI); Kenneth Shiver, chief economist and director of planning and regulatory support at the Southern Co.; and Clint Vince, U.S. energy practice and co-chair of the global energy sector at Dentons.

Uri’s freezing temperatures exposed weaknesses in the state’s infrastructure. Millions lost access to the three central utilities for civilians: gas, water, and electricity. Ice blocked natural gas pipelines, water pipes froze, and electric generators were knocked offline. Texas is the only state in the country that operates its own internal power grid, which is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). When civilians across the state wanted to increase the temperature in their homes, the demand for electricity skyrocketed, causing prices to spike. Consequently, the wholesale price of electricity increased, but ERCOT continued to charge consumers this higher price, even as demand for electricity decreased. As a result, ERCOT overcharged customers $16 billion in electricity bills during the course of Uri. Additionally, while experts say that the financial cost of the storm is not yet fully tallied, estimates suggest that Uri could cost the state more than $125 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in Texas history.

During the webinar discussion, Mansoor debunked the belief that a single key resource underperformed. Instead, he countered every energy resource — wind, solar, nuclear, and coal — performed significantly less than expected. Additionally, ignoring the interconnectedness of water, electricity, and gas utilities only magnified issues for Texans. Since water, electricity, and gas are controlled by different commissions, they are often viewed as separate entities in the industry. However, Mansoor explained they rely on each other. For example, water is needed for both power plants and gas extraction, so less access to water also causes less electricity and gas production.

The systemic failure was only intensified by Texas’ unique deregulated market. Shiver noted Texas has an energy-only market where market conditions decide what and when generators are built. This dependency on market conditions does not encourage companies to build additional generators in preparation for natural disasters that statistically are extremely unlikely. Shiver also suggested how electricity is viewed as a commodity in this kind of economy, but no direct substitute exists for electricity, so people are more inconvenienced when they do not have electricity compared to other resources.

Related to this market style, many companies and organizations take a supply-side approach to solving infrastructure problems that do not prioritize the needs of people. Grubert noted how a supply-side approach looks like companies worrying about weatherizing their power plants and infrastructure before weatherizing people’s homes. She suggested problem solvers must find ways for people to have access to resources in a number of different conditions across the United States, where different regions of the country will experience the different seasons to varying degrees. In addition to the main three utilities, she identified other resources such as transportation and healthcare that are also subjected to the impact of severe weather.

In discussing the lessons learned from Texas’ experience, panelists explained how similar disasters can be prevented in the future. First, the panelists advocated for an integrated system that facilitates communication among suppliers of water, gas, and electricity. While different commissions will continue to work on each utility individually, too much of the success of each utility depends on the other two utilities for no collaboration to exist. Commissions can benefit from communication moving forward as they explore how best to weatherize natural gas pipelines, generators, and water pipes.

Second, the panelists expressed hope that certain values gain attention in the market. Mansoor noted that utility companies have the capacity to cover millions of Texans, but the suppliers do not value resiliency and reliability enough; thus, while Texans receive utility services on a day-to-day basis, these products fail in times of need. What’s more, Grubert returned to the idea that suppliers see these utilities as products, not essential resources that people need to survive. As much as suppliers need to focus on improving the resiliency and reliability of their infrastructure, consumer and community resiliency is equally or more important, said Mansoor. People and their safety need to be prioritized when looking to the future of infrastructure.

The last challenge panelists warned against is short-term thinking. As Shiver emphasized, governments and suppliers need to stop being surprised by severe weather. Though natural disasters have a low probability of occurring, they will continue to occur, and the damage they inflict on communities will ultimately be more expensive than investments in improving and developing protective infrastructure. Moreover, future infrastructure should address what the weather will become, not simply what it is like now. Forecasting weather will be as integral as looking at past weather to understand how infrastructure can be insured against a variety of severe weather, especially as the climate changes globally.

The destruction left by Uri poses challenges for generations to come in Texas and around the country. As people and groups begin to mobilize to address these problems, the panelists hope to see certain values inspire innovation. Vince summarized those values: “Let me give you the seven most frequently mentioned words that were used in a smart city summit we conducted recently: resilience, sustainability, equity, security, leadership, creativity, and urgency.”

]]> kk151 1 1617113672 2021-03-30 14:14:32 1617120923 2021-03-30 16:15:23 0 0 news In mid-February, winter storm Uri swept across Texas, leaving millions of civilians without water and electricity for days. In the weeks following the storm, there was a lot of discussion what went wrong in Texas and what could have been done mitigate the post-storm challenges and accelerate recovery efforts.

]]>
2021-03-30T00:00:00-04:00 2021-03-30T00:00:00-04:00 2021-03-30 00:00:00 645889 645889 image <![CDATA[Texas Energy Infrastructure]]> image/jpeg 1617119601 2021-03-30 15:53:21 1617119601 2021-03-30 15:53:21
<![CDATA[#SMARTer Together Webinar Series – September Recap]]> 34928 By Ashlee Bryant

 

In September, our #SMARTer Together webinar series focused on the final presentations of our 2019-20 GA Smart Communities.

On September 3, the City of Woodstock kicked-off the September line-up with their final project presentations entitled: Smart Woodstock Master Plan and Smart Corridor Study. Presenters included Katie O'Connor, AICP Project Lead, Sr. City Planner and Community Development, City of Woodstock; Ramachandra Sivakumar, GISP, Senior Research Engineer, Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization, Georgia Tech; and Eric Lusher, AICP, Associate Principal, Director of Planning, Pond & Company.

The project goal is to implement a city wide planning strategy - more specifically, a Smart Woodstock Downtown Corridor Study - aiming to meet the need of balancing pedestrian comfort and safety with vehicular efficiency and commuter throughput of a booming walkable urban center. Through data collection from surveys, in-person interviews, and interactive mapping tools, the team was able to engage the public’s interest in the project which concluded in a ranked list of citizen concerns with improving vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle safety as a top concern.

Ramachandra Sivakumar, discussed parking availability research and their goal to help citizens utilize the already existing parking lots on site and direct their attention away from the popular loop parking to less frequented lots. Katie O’Connor completed the presentation by highlighting the project's accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned, and their goals to implement the illuminated crosswalk in their second year of their project. The webinar ended with a panel-style Q&A discussion about topics such as COVID-19 considerations, parking as a pricing mechanism, and alternative transit options, such as autonomous vehicles.

On September 10, Columbus Consolidated Government gave their Smart Uptown final presentation. The Columbus project team included John Broom, Assistant Director, Information Technology Department, Columbus Consolidated Government; Scott Evans, GIS Coordinator, Columbus Consolidated Government; John Taylor, Frederick Law Olmsted Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech; and Neda Mohammadi, Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and City Infrastructure Analytics Director, Network Dynamics Laboratory, Georgia Tech.

The team discussed their project motivation to improve their uptown area through a four piece project breakdown (Digital Twin, AoT, Integration and Wifi) to integrate technology to bring the uptown area increased connectivity infrastructure, use data to help inform decisions around economic development, increase safety for pedestrians and to expand partnerships between public and private entities.

The team discussed their project planning phases of establishing a timeline, project goals and expected outcomes, their decision to create a three-phased approach and planning onsite events. Further details were discussed about each of their specific phases, starting with their Digital Twin Development. The team utilized GIS-centric data development processes to create 3D models of their uptown area. The second phase of their project was the AoT, which is the development of an Array of Things units that is used to collect real-time data for academic and public use, tracking environmental and infrastructure changes on activity in key locations, and more. The third phase of their project detailed their goal to integrate the AoT, Digital Twin and video data with other data to assess collective citizen hazard exposure and passerby exposure. Their final phase consisted of Wifi with goals to provide a backbone connection system for city workers, provide a stable internet connection, bridge digital equity divides, and to develop their methodologies.

The presentation came to close with their project team discussing their challenges and plans of enacting Phase 2 and Phase 3 and attaining future monetary opportunities, along with a Q&A session.

On September 17, the City of Milton presented their final project presentation on: Technology-Enabled Smart and Safer Routes to School. The Milton team included Michele McIntosh-Ross, Principal Planner, City of Milton; Shubha Jangam, Senior Planner, City of Milton; Kari Watkins, Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech; and Angshuman Guin,  Senior Research Engineer, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech.

Michelle McIntosh-Ross highlighted their project goal of using technology to develop an interactive app for smartphones that will provide real-time group communication for parents of kids who want to walk to school in groups, known as a walking school bus app. Called Waddle, the goal of this app is to increase the number of students walking to school to achieve less greenhouse gas emissions and congestion for the community, increased physical fitness, and better academic performance for the students.

The project team discussed their research and motivation for creating an app, as well as the community engagement and feedback they obtained using school newsletters, distributed surveys, and in-person parent and student response meetings. The team highlighted their decision to target the walking school bus app in the downtown Crabapple area and their process in creating safe routes for the students within a one-mile radius of the local elementary and middle school.

On September 24, Macon-Bibb County gave their final presentation of their project: Smart Neighborhoods MBC. Their project team consisted of: Dr. Keith Moffett, County Manager, Macon-Bibb County; Carol Babcock, Director, Healthy Communities & Palliative Care, Navicent Health; and Arthi Rao, Research Scientist, Center for Quality Growth & Regional Development, Georgia Tech.

Rao discussed the team’s goal of promoting equity in their economically stressed neighborhoods by bringing broadband internet to citizens that currently do not have access through Smart Kiosks that will provide access to critical information and services and promote community empowerment in underserved areas.

The team shared their chronological process of identifying vulnerable areas, targeting specific demographic populations, finding specific locations for the kiosks and identifying specific uses for the kiosks through stakeholder engagement methods, such as online surveys, paper surveys, and community meetings. While in the talks with potential companies to purchase kiosks, the project team worked with local health professionals to receive their input in providing services/applications for the kiosk that are relevant to current events, such as COVID-19 testing sites, current information, etc.

Overall, the value and goal of Macon-Bibb’s opportunity to participate in the Georgia Smart Community Challenges was summed up by their county manager, Keith Moffett: “Macon-Bibb Government is honored to be recognized as an emerging GA Smart Community by the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. SmartNeighborhoodsMBC, as part of our overall smart city strategy, provides support for each of our governing principles for effective government and governance while promoting equitable access to technology in underserved and at-risk neighborhoods.”

]]> kk151 1 1603309327 2020-10-21 19:42:07 1603314292 2020-10-21 21:04:52 0 0 news 2020-10-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-21 00:00:00 636952 634641 636955 634638 636952 image <![CDATA[Woodstock Onsite]]> image/png 1594822946 2020-07-15 14:22:26 1594822946 2020-07-15 14:22:26 634641 image <![CDATA[Columbus Consolidated Government]]> image/jpeg 1587565587 2020-04-22 14:26:27 1587565587 2020-04-22 14:26:27 636955 image <![CDATA[City of Milton Data]]> image/gif 1594824539 2020-07-15 14:48:59 1594824554 2020-07-15 14:49:14 634638 image <![CDATA[Macon-Bibb County]]> image/jpeg 1587565283 2020-04-22 14:21:23 1587565283 2020-04-22 14:21:23
<![CDATA[Georgia Smart Holds Funding & Financing Workshop]]> 34928 By: Ashlee Bryant and Prerana Kamat

On August 16th, GA Smart hosted a virtual workshop on Funding and Financing. The event was led by Lee Davenport, the Director of Community Development at US Ignite and Georgia Tech’s Dr. Christopher Le Dantec , Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing. The event provided an open dialogue for the 2019 Georgia Smart communities to discuss current and future funding opportunities for their projects.

The workshop opened with a presentation from Lee Davenport from US Ignite, a non‐profit organization accelerating the smart community movement by guiding communities into the connected future, creating a path for private sector growth, and advancing technology research that’s at the heart of smarter development. Davenport gave a brief introduction on their Smart Gigabit Communities Project which works on aspects of city efficiency, public safety, digital inclusion, resiliency and economic activity. It provides focused assistance and funding for the sustainable expansion of successful smart and connected community applications. He further presented examples of communities that have secured funding through their organization.

Following the opening presentation, project leads from the City of Woodstock, City of Milton, Columbus Consolidated Government, and Macon-Bibb County defined their proposal priority areas, decision makers and advisors, decision factors, and potential funding opportunities.

Kicking off the presentations, Woodstock Senior City Planner, Katie O’Connor discussed the Smart Woodstock Master Plan which prioritizes transportation, quality of life, safety of pedestrians and acceleration of economic development for its community, as decided through community engagement such as surveys and interviews. After outlining key decision makers, advisors, stakeholders, and funding possibilities from the city council and local government level, the City of Woodstock would like to fund a pilot project that implements illuminated crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety. In investing in passive activation illuminated crosswalks, this project will benefit the city in increasing safety for pedestrian, bike users, travel times, and the overall transportation quality of life.

The City of Milton’s project, Technology-Enabled Smarter and Safer Routes to School, was presented by Principal Planner, Michele McIntosh-Ross, who spoke about their proposed plan to implement a walking school bus app in the Fulton County School System. They hope to encourage walking to school as a solution that will have benefits to both the public health side (increased active lifestyle, increased socialization, education about safety on the road) and an overall positive impact on the community (increased amount of kids walking to school, decrease in traffic volume at peak hours, and an adaptation to multimodal transportation). After identifying possible sources of funding to implement the app, the City of Milton hopes to become a pioneer in the walking school bus app, with the long-term goal of implementing their app in multiple school systems.

In the third presentation, John M. Broom from Columbus Consolidated Government outlined their Smart Uptown project plan to bring connectivity and Wi-Fi to the uptown area of Columbus. Their goal is to bring Wi-Fi to the localized uptown area and aims to benefit many different aspects of the community, such as pedestrian safety, addressing the digital divide, and increasing enrichment in various education levels. In identifying specific advisors, decision makers and various funding sources, the Columbus Consolidated Government aims to bring Wi-Fi and connectivity to their community to make more informed, data-driven decisions that will benefit their community.

The final presentation was given by Macon-Bibb County’s GIS Manager, Joe Nabhan, who outlined their SmartNeighborhoodsMBC project whose goal is to use kiosks to bring broadband  internet to underserved communities with a long-term goal to increase digital inclusion and equity. Macon-Bibb also discussed process data partnerships that would help utilize their data in beneficial ways that would help the community.

The workshop concluded with a brief discussion between Dr. Christopher Le Dante and Lee Davenport on the impact of COVID-19 on shrinking tax revenue and its long-term implication on funding opportunities for Community projects and initiatives. 

The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (“Georgia Smart”) is a funding and technical assistance program for local governments within the State of Georgia. Georgia Smart is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for communities of any size in Georgia to receive grant funding and support that enables them to envision, explore, and plan for their “smart” future. Communities will be given financial assistance, a partnership with a Georgia Tech research team, networking opportunities, and access to additional, unique resources to execute their projects. These resources include connections to industry experts and access to technology solutions provided by our provider-partners.

]]> kk151 1 1600790623 2020-09-22 16:03:43 1600792274 2020-09-22 16:31:14 0 0 news On August 16th, GA Smart hosted a virtual workshop on Funding and Financing which provided an open dialogue for the 2019 Georgia Smart communities to discuss current and future funding opportunities for their projects.

]]>
2020-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-16 00:00:00 634640 634639 634641 634638 634640 image <![CDATA[City of Woodstock]]> image/jpeg 1587565443 2020-04-22 14:24:03 1587565443 2020-04-22 14:24:03 634639 image <![CDATA[City of Milton]]> image/jpeg 1587565386 2020-04-22 14:23:06 1587565386 2020-04-22 14:23:06 634641 image <![CDATA[Columbus Consolidated Government]]> image/jpeg 1587565587 2020-04-22 14:26:27 1587565587 2020-04-22 14:26:27 634638 image <![CDATA[Macon-Bibb County]]> image/jpeg 1587565283 2020-04-22 14:21:23 1587565283 2020-04-22 14:21:23
<![CDATA[City of Milton Hosts Virtual Onsite and App Showcase]]> 34928 By: Ashlee Bryant

On August 24th, the City of Milton hosted a virtual site visit as part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge Program. Since their selection in 2019 as one of four GA Smart grant recipients, the City of Milton along with Georgia Tech researchers and outside experts have been creating a Walking School Bus smartphone application to encourage groups of students led by parent volunteers to walk to school.

Michele McIntosh-Ross, Principal City Planner of Milton and project lead, led the presentation with an introduction of the panel, which included the Milton GA Smart project team - Dr. Angshuman Guin, Senior Research Engineer, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech, Dr. Kari Watkins, Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech, and Shubhangi Jangam, a Senior Planner with the City of Milton. Following the introduction, the panel opened with a discussion of their plan to implement a technology assisted walking school bus application, called Waddle, to assist in their goal of creating smarter and safer routes to schools.

The presentation continued with outlining the unique character of the downtown Crabapple area through a series of videos, family and population demographics of Milton, and survey responses which noted parental concerns as well as helping to determine the targeted demographic which would assist in the creation and user interface of the app. After studying the site and determining a 1.5 radius within the Fulton County school system, the app would then assist parent volunteers in creating walking trips around predetermined routes and stops for parent volunteers to pick up 5 to 6 elementary-aged children per trip and walk to school.

Shubhangi Jangam presented the application demonstration through a series of videos detailing the process of a parent volunteer’s account creation, account validation, privacy concerns and general use of how to create a walking trip. The app demonstration also included user interface demos of what the parent would see when the parent volunteer checks their children present as they join the trip, a real time feed of walking progress and the completion of the trip which would send notifications to all parents that their child had arrived at school safely.

Following the demo, the panel outlined their next steps, which include a proposed app launch date of October 2020, a follow-up call for feedback, and possibly piloting the school bus app, Waddle, to other communities.

]]> kk151 1 1600783986 2020-09-22 14:13:06 1600792238 2020-09-22 16:30:38 0 0 news On August 24th, the City of Milton hosted a virtual site visit as part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge Program.

]]>
2020-08-24T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-24T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-24 00:00:00 639387 639386 639387 image <![CDATA[Walk Friendly Communities - Downtown Crabapple]]> image/jpeg 1600783785 2020-09-22 14:09:45 1600783785 2020-09-22 14:09:45 639386 image <![CDATA[Waddle]]> image/jpeg 1600783644 2020-09-22 14:07:24 1600783644 2020-09-22 14:07:24
<![CDATA[Inclusive Innovation in Georgia ]]> 34928 By: Prerana Kamat

On August 6th, Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Georgia Smart) virtually announced the 2020 class of winning communities. As part of the event, a discussion on Inclusive Innovation in Georgia was held with an esteemed group of panelists including Geoff Duncan, Lieutenant Governor of State of Georgia; Angel Cabrera, President of Georgia Tech; Wendall Dallas, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Georgia Power; Doug Hooker, Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission; and Maria Thacker Goethe, President and CEO of Georgia Bio and CEO for the Center of Global Health Innovation. The panel was moderated by Aarti Tandon, CEO of Smart City Expo, Atlanta.

As the discussion began, Ms. Tandon asked the panelists to share their views on what Inclusive Innovation meant to them and what role it played in their organizations.  Lt. Governor Duncan explained that, for the state of Georgia, Inclusive Innovation is multi-dimensional, striving for geographic, economic and educational equity. The state wants to “innovate without obstruction” to attract the best and brightest from around the world. President Cabrera noted that inclusive innovation is a centerpiece of the new vision for Georgia tech and that “learning happens when we confront ideas and perspectives and partner with people who look at the world differently than we do.” In other words, “innovation happened at the edges” and needs all voices to be successful. Wendall Dallas echoed that the innovation ecosystem is important to Georgia Power as they strive to create solutions that benefit everyone regardless of income or geographic location to help make communities safer, more connected, more resilient, and more sustainable. Doug Hooker discussed the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) which has invested more than $254 Million in planning and construction grants to Georgia communities to assist them in establishing more walkable, livable communities. Lastly, Maria Thacker noted that Atlanta is the ideal place to focus on achieving health equity for all and conveyed that at the Center for Global Health Innovation, mobilizing teamwork and partnership across various industries and sectors not only in Georgia but across the nation is crucial to inclusivity in innovation.

Attention then moved to the current pandemic with Ms. Tandon noting that it has “accelerated digital transformation” and that Georgia has been at the forefront of embracing “smart.” The panel then discussed what they thought might be a headline five years from now in Georgia regarding inclusive innovation. Suggestions centered around proactive and intentional steps that the state can take now to be inclusive leaders in the future. The Lt. Governor noted that inclusive innovation is just a phrase that needs actions behind it as it cannot become a reality without action. Adding to Lt. Governor Duncan’s view that hopefully in five years everyone in Georgia will feel empowered and capable of innovating in Georgia, President Cabrera envisioned that the headline might be “Reverse Migration of Entrepreneurial Talent from the Silicon Valley to Atlanta,” hoping that the flow of talent will have changed to having the best and brightest here in Atlanta.

Lastly, the panelists were asked about what advice they would give to the next generation of leaders regarding inclusive innovation. Ideas of agility and diversity of thought were a common theme with President Cabrera also emphasizing the importance of multisector collaboration and Doug Hooker stressing the importance of access to better health and technology, as well as more opportunities for the younger generation to allow them to fully embrace their talents and abilities  as their untapped potential is “critical for competitive advantage in Georgia.”  

The GA Smart Announcement and complete panel discussion recording can be viewed in their entirety here.

]]> kk151 1 1597840384 2020-08-19 12:33:04 1597848685 2020-08-19 14:51:25 0 0 news During the 2020 GA Smart Announcement on Aug. 6th, an esteemed panel convened on Inclusive Innovation in Georgia.

]]>
2020-08-06T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-06T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-06 00:00:00 638068 638068 image <![CDATA[Inclusive Innovation Panel]]> image/png 1597840610 2020-08-19 12:36:50 1597840610 2020-08-19 12:36:50
<![CDATA[City of Woodstock Hosts Virtual Onsite]]> 34928 By: Katie Popp

On June 24, the City of Woodstock along with partners at Georgia Tech and POND & Company hosted a virtual site visit as part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. Since the start of the one-year project period in September 2019, Woodstock has been creating a master plan and Smart Corridor Study to support the planning of future smart solutions for the city. This project is led by Katie O’Connor, Senior City Planner, with support from colleagues at the City of Woodstock and Ramachandra Sivakumar (Siva) from the Georgia Tech Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization (CSPAV).

To kick off the virtual site visit, top city officials from the City of Woodstock participated in panel-style discussions to illustrate the complex issues the city faces as population and development continue to grow and expand.

“With more people comes challenges. We are geographically constrained. We can’t just reimagine the downtown area overnight,” said Councilman Ake, who was accompanied on the panel by Jeff Moon, City Manager, and Coty Thigpen, Assistant City Manager. The group discussed the possibilities of addressing these issues with smart technologies and how the Georgia Smart project embodies Woodstock’s dedication to innovative and forward-thinking strategies.

Following the panel discussion, guests on the video call had the opportunity to virtually experience the charm and unique character of Woodstock’s Downtown District through a series of narrated video walking tours. Several key city employees deemed the Woodstock “Brain Trust”, shared insight into how downtown Woodstock evolved into what it is today and why smart technology will support continued prosperity and growth in the area. The project team also revealed and discussed the possibilities of several smart technologies that would be fit for the long-term goals of the city. Brantley Day, Director of Community Development for the City of Woodstock, explained that focusing on the planning process instead of jumping into implementation of smart city technology will help the city move towards accomplishing these goals.

“Rather than starting with a solution, we are using this planning process to identify and understand the problems so we can apply appropriate solutions which directly address them,” Day explained. “This is one way we want to ensure a return on investment for our citizens.” The masterplan will be completed by September 2020 and will include several potential smart technologies that could be implemented as pilot projects in the near future.

]]> kk151 1 1594822758 2020-07-15 14:19:18 1594905881 2020-07-16 13:24:41 0 0 news By: Katie Popp

On June 24, the City of Woodstock along with partners at Georgia Tech and POND & Company hosted a virtual site visit as part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge.

]]>
2020-07-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-15 00:00:00 636952 636952 image <![CDATA[Woodstock Onsite]]> image/png 1594822946 2020-07-15 14:22:26 1594822946 2020-07-15 14:22:26
<![CDATA[#SMARTer Together Webinar Series - June Recap]]> 34928 By: Ashlee Bryant

In June, Georgia Tech’s Smart Cities and Inclusive innovation Initiative continued the second month of webinars with the #SMARTer Together webinar series.

In the June 4th webinar, Ada Gavrilovska and Ellen Zegura, professors in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, Julie Walker, State Librarian, Associate Vice Chancellor for Libraries, University System of Georgia, and Sokwoo Rhee, Associate Director for CPS Innovation, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), discussed the state of internet connectivity in our communities and some of the technologies being used to equalize access in rural and hard to reach communities. They noted the need to provide new bandwidth and free internet access to more communities, both rural and urban. Taking into considerations each area’s set of challenges, the panelists discussed several current projects such as Gavrilovska’s project of working with edge computing software systems; the TV White Space pilot project implemented in the Twin Lakes library system in Milledgeville, Georgia; and efforts to democratize connectivity, some of which include bringing connectivity to Native American reservations in California and New Mexico.

On June 11th, Danika Tynes, Senior Research Associate, Georgia Tech Research Institute; Lisa Coleman, Senior Vice President, Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation, New York University; Shelton Goode, Owner, Icarus Consulting; and Kalahn-Taylor Clark, Global Head, Patient Solutions, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, and Claire Angelle, Founder, Angelle Consulting, discussed the digital divide and the challenges and opportunities in bringing the internet to all. They noted the increased divide between access and demand in various contexts, such as the Pandemic (pre, during, and post pandemic), the transgenerational digital divide, the racial and economic divide in Georgia, and the need to close the gap between clinical trial space and patients to obtain more holistic information from the patient. Methods to close this divide were illustrated by programs such as: Telehealth, Teeniors, and implementing programs that explore ecommerce and other digital solutions that help build local resilience and changing policy/laws to bridge the existing and emerging digital divide.

On June 18th, Dr. Brendan Saltaformaggio, Assistant Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and School of Computer Science, Georgia Tech; Tim Callan, Senior Fellow, Sectigo; Eric Toler, Executive Director, Georgia Cyber Center; and Eric Lopez, Research Analyst, Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, discussed the importance of cybersecurity and privacy. The panelists focused on the critical issues of cybersecurity and privacy when virtual work becomes the expected standard. They also discussed the larger impact from a research, industry and local government perspective and the possible strategies and solutions to address the systems and personal vulnerabilities in this new age.

In our final webinar on June 25th, Dr. Clio Andris, Assistant Professor, School of City & Regional Planning and Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech; Tommy Pearce, Executive Director, Neighborhood Nexus; and moderator, Blaine Williams, City Manager, Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, discussed how data can be used to make better, more informed decisions in our local governments and communities. Community data is a critical piece of our public infrastructure, ensuing the alignment of programs and policies to community needs. It becomes more critical in understanding our citizens when our physical movements and interactions are limited. Clio Maria Andris shared her analysis on spatial networks and Friendly Cities. Tommy Pearce discussed how Neighborhood Nexus leverages community data to help mission-driven organizations ask the right questions, use the best data, tell compelling stories, and make informed decisions.

To view presentation slides and video recordings of all #SMARTer Together webinars, click here.

The #SMARTer Together webinar series will resume in September!

]]> kk151 1 1594828754 2020-07-15 15:59:14 1594905461 2020-07-16 13:17:41 0 0 news By: Ashlee Bryant

In June Georgia Tech’s Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Initiative continued their #SMARTer Together webinar series. 

]]>
2020-07-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-15 00:00:00 634818 634818 image <![CDATA[#SMARTer Together]]> image/jpeg 1588098645 2020-04-28 18:30:45 1588098645 2020-04-28 18:30:45
<![CDATA[GA Smart Holds Virtual Data Workshop]]> 34928 By: Hoang Ly, Heung Jin Oh, Katie Popp, and Duo-Wei Yang

On July 8th, GA Smart hosted a virtual workshop focused on the use of data in smart cities. The event was led by Georgia Tech’s Dr. Yanni Loukissas and Dr. Christopher Le Dantec of the School of Literature, Media, and Communication and provided an open dialogue for the 2019 Georgia Smart communities to discuss the characteristics of data collected by each community.

The workshop opened with a presentation from Dr. Loukissas who shared insight from his book, All Data Are Local: Thinking Critically in a Data-Driven Society , on the complications of living in a data-driven society and what it means for communities that wish to collect and share this information to drive decision-making. Dr. Loukissas emphasized the need to analyze data within the context of its creation and how the context can dive unintended bias in the results. “We have seen that there are biases in data. It can be fake, biased, or exaggerated. The pandemic has strengthened the fact that data is vital, but we have seen that it can be flawed,” said Dr. Loukissas.

 Following the opening presentation, the four 2019 Georgia Smart communities presented the role of public data in their respective projects. Leaders from the City of Woodstock, City of Milton, Macon-Bibb County, and Columbus Consolidated Government outlined data characteristics, visualization, lifecycle, collection and sharing methods, external commitments, as well as procedures to ensure ethical use.

Kicking off presentations, Woodstock GIS manager Katy Leggett discussed the Smart Woodstock Master Plan and how, in the future, data will help address problems related to pedestrian safety in the downtown area. The city is interested in collecting pedestrian volume counts and would use this data to inform municipal decision making.  This data will be used better visualize the dynamic between vehicular and pedestrian traffic issues in the city, especially during special events. Ms. Leggett outlined the operational guidelines that the City of Woodstock would adopt when implementing a pedestrian volume counter and stressed the need to adopt best practices championed by more developed applications of the technology.  

Macon-Bibb began their SmartNeighborhoodsMBC presentation by outlining the data collected through their system of interactive kiosks. The data collected includes demographic-related information, application usage statistics, and results from surveys using their kiosks, which are the forefront of their project. The current vision utilizes the provided open-access to data from the kiosks and allows people to analyze, contribute to, and use this information within their community. Project leaders are emphasizing digital equity and open access to ensure access to the data being collected.

Principal Planner Michele McIntosh-Ross represented the City of Milton’s project, Technology-Enabled Smarter and Safer Routes to School, and their walking school bus app. The app’s primary function is to incentivize younger students to walk to school instead of commuting by car. McIntosh-Ross discussed the project pre-planning, which included surveying how students got to school, the barriers that discourage walking, and video data collections. Potential data to support the project includes the average time it takes for students to get to school, the demographic of students that will use the app, and how the characteristics of routes will pan out once the app is developed. The collected data will be archived after each school year and will be used to inform future iteration of the application.

The last presentation was conducted by the Smart Uptown team from Columbus Consolidated Government. They outlined their data characteristics, methods of visualization, collection and sharing methods, external commitments. The data collected includes various atmospheric and climate metrics and data pertaining to pedestrians in the uptown area. Data collection is done using an array of sensors and Wi-Fi access points located around the uptown area. This data will be used to inform policymakers helping to promote public health and economic robustness in the area.

The workshop concluded with an illuminating discussion about the importance of data sharing in the public realm and potential risks associated with data-driven decision making.

The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (“Georgia Smart”) is a funding and technical assistance program for local governments within the State of Georgia. Georgia Smart is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for communities of any size in Georgia to receive grant funding and support that enables them to envision, explore, and plan for their “smart” future. Communities will be given financial assistance, a partnership with a Georgia Tech research team, networking opportunities, and access to additional, unique resources to execute their projects. These resources include connections to industry experts and access to technology solutions provided by our provider-partners.

]]> kk151 1 1594824079 2020-07-15 14:41:19 1594834092 2020-07-15 17:28:12 0 0 news By: Hoang Ly, Heung Jin Oh, Katie Popp and Duo-Wei Yang

On July 8th, GA Smart hosted a virtual workshop focused on the use of data in smart cities. 

]]>
2020-07-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-15 00:00:00 636955 636956 636955 image <![CDATA[City of Milton Data]]> image/gif 1594824539 2020-07-15 14:48:59 1594824554 2020-07-15 14:49:14 636956 image <![CDATA[City of Woodstock Data Sources]]> image/gif 1594824612 2020-07-15 14:50:12 1594824612 2020-07-15 14:50:12
<![CDATA[#SMARTer Together Webinar Series - May Recap]]> 34928 In May, Georgia Tech’s Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Initiative launched the #SMARTer Together webinar series. Aiming to challenge us beyond the immediate crisis and onto a newer state to build strong community-research partnerships for good, this series focuses on complex, societal problems that communities all over GA and the rest of the world face. Our goal is to provide innovative research and create partnerships to empower all. The series adheres to GT’s Strategic Plan and Mission on “developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.”

In our first webinar on May 7th,  W. Hong Yeo discussed his work in the field of smart healthcare and nanoengineered human-machine electronics followed by an informative Q&A session led by moderator Cynthia Curry of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Dr. Yeo provided a review of his research which is focused on understanding and developing new soft wearable materials that are ultra-thin and flexible unlike their more rigid counterparts and can be implanted with biosensors and bioelectronics with application possibilities for smart and connected first responders. His team envisions soft wearables as bio patches worn on the chest of first responders to monitor and measure their health such as stress, temperature, and oxygen levels.

On May 14th, Shatakshee Dhongde and Laurie Garrow, along with moderators Jarrod McCarthy and Paul Jarrell of the Georgia Regional Commission, discussed the importance of investing in rural transit in Georgia. They noted that Georgia has the sixth largest rural population in the United States of which a growing proportion is older and needs increasing transit service. Taking into consideration the current pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis, they focused their discussion on why investing in rural transit in Georgia is so important by providing current statistics on economic costs and benefits of existing transit services while highlighting the gaps in transit service which need to be addressed for the state to better serve Georgia’s rural population.

Our third webinar on May 21st focused on the post COVID19 expectations in economic development and real estate. Clifford Lipscomb along with moderator Daniela Perry of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce discussed how quickly the pandemic has impacted so many different markets and dramatically changed consumer behavior while also focusing on what we might expect in the areas of economic development and real estate once the pandemic is mitigated and activity returns to previous levels.  Economic development implications that were discussed included delayed rehiring, increase internet bandwidth, and a large infrastructure bill. On the real estate side, some expected impacts include altered grocery store layouts, online schools, restaurant cloud kitchens, and altered office spaces. While acknowledging that we cannot predict consumer behavior, the Dr. Lipscomb noted that real estate and how we do economic development will change with businesses having operational changes as well.

Our final webinar for the month on May 28th was presented by Benoit Montreuil and moderated by Daniel Studdard of the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association. The discussion centered around the impactful interplay between supply chains and pandemics and the impact of collectively improving pandemic supply chain readiness and response in each of the five world states - healthy, outbreak, epidemics, pandemics, and recovery. The discussion focused on critical and essential supply chains to demonstrate the capital importance of supply chains in fighting and surviving a pandemic as revealed by the current COVID-19 crisis.

All webinars are currently available for viewing on our website Media Page.

A special thanks to our #SMARTer Together Sponsors:

Atlanta Global Studies Center

Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization

Institute of Information Security and Privacy

Serve Learn Sustain

Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation

Strategic Energy Institute

Supply Chain and Logistics Institute

]]> kk151 1 1591886136 2020-06-11 14:35:36 1591894250 2020-06-11 16:50:50 0 0 news In May, Georgia Tech’s Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Initiative launched the #SMARTer Together webinar series. 

]]>
2020-06-11T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-11T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-11 00:00:00 636170 636171 636172 636170 image <![CDATA[Soft Wearables]]> image/gif 1591886216 2020-06-11 14:36:56 1591886426 2020-06-11 14:40:26 636171 image <![CDATA[Rural Transit]]> image/gif 1591886295 2020-06-11 14:38:15 1591886462 2020-06-11 14:41:02 636172 image <![CDATA[Supply Chain and Pandemic Image]]> image/gif 1591886396 2020-06-11 14:39:56 1591886396 2020-06-11 14:39:56
<![CDATA[Georgia Smart Communities Share Project Updates]]> 27980 The latest class of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge program is sharing mid-term progress reports.

Georgia Smart is a funding and technical assistance pilot program open to Georgia governments to develop and implement projects around mobility, equity, and smart resilience with assistance from Georgia Tech researchers. In June, the challenge named four new grant recipients – Columbus Muscogee County, Macon-Bibb County, the City of Milton, and the City of Woodstock.

During a recent virtual meeting, city and county representatives and their Georgia Tech partners discussed the status of their projects and the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

Macon Smart Neighborhoods

Macon-Bibb County is developing a system of smart kiosks to promote digital equity in underserved and at-risk areas. One in three Macon-Bibb County households doesn’t have access to broadband internet, while 1 in 5 is without access to a computer or smart device.

“The real problem is not folks having access to the internet, but having it at home,” said Joe Nabhan, GIS manager, Macon-Bibb County Government. “That’s especially important during these times when a lot of people are at home and not able to go out as much.”

Residents can use the kiosks at several locations around the county to find information about elections, public health, safety, crime, and government services.

Arthi Rao, research scientist, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, is leading research for the Smart Neighborhood project. She’s collaborating with the county to figure out where the kiosks are needed most, looking at residents’ income, education, and age, which influences social isolation and reduced mobility. Her team also launched an online survey for residents.

“We wanted to use community wisdom in terms of where they thought would be the ideal places for these kiosks and where we might optimize usage,” Rao said during March’s mid-term meeting.

Milton Smarter Safer Routes to School

The City of Milton is developing an interactive smartphone app that will provide real-time communication for parents of students who want to walk to school in a group, known as a “walking school bus.” Parents can use the app to see their kids’ real-time location, who’s walking with them, and confirm that they’ve arrived at school.

Encouraging students to walk or bike to school reduces car congestion from school drop-offs and pick-ups and promotes health and wellness. Studies show that fewer than 10% of school-aged students in the U.S. walk or bike to school in the morning, a significant decrease over the past 50 years.

“We’ve seen the results of what walking to school can do in terms of bolstering communities and social interaction, and physical activity is associated with better cognitive performance. So, our kids can do better in school if they have that morning walk to school,” said Kari Watkins, associate professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She’s leading the project with senior research engineer Angshuman Guin of civil engineering.

In the months since first launching the project, Milton officials and Georgia Tech researchers have surveyed and met with school leaders, parents, and students to get their feedback. “It gave us a lot of insight into how kids walk to school, what they like about walking to school, and what parents thought about the prospect of having an app that would assist with it,” said Michele McIntosh-Ross, principal planner, City of Milton.

Researchers have mapped current school routes, collected video data of students on their walks, and helped to develop and analyze the survey. The data will assist the city in gauging where to focus their efforts to create more walkable communities.

The project team will test the app this summer; their goal is to make it available to families in August.

Woodstock Smart Master Plan and Corridor Study

Significant population growth in the City of Woodstock, along with 100,000 event attendees every year, has caused traffic congestion and a parking shortage for residents, business owners, and visitors to downtown.

The city is addressing these challenges with SmartWoodstock, a masterplan for optimizing infrastructure needs and modeling land-use changes. Researchers are concentrating on the quarter-mile radius around downtown Woodstock. Ramachandra Sivakumar, senior research engineer, Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization, said the area “captures the essence of what’s happening in terms of dining, retail, wellness, and other points of interest. The quarter-mile is the sweet spot.” 

The project team surveyed residents in person and online about the benefits of smart technology that are most important to them, receiving hundreds of responses. “We’re fortunate because we have an involved community in the downtown district,” said Katie O’Connor, senior city planner, City of Woodstock.

Survey results show that improved vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle safety, as well as transportation travel times, are all important to residents. The results will help the city to determine the most useful technologies for the downtown corridor, like license plate readers, roadside sensors, and smart parking meters.

While the first year of the project has focused on planning, the second and third years will be a pilot project that implements technology.

Columbus Smart Uptown

The City of Columbus is developing technologies for its uptown district to promote safety, security, and a smart transportation system. Proposed technologies include free public wi-fi, license plate readers, and sensors. The city has already installed two sensors, which are collecting data, and have tapped into video feeds from the police department.

City officials are partnering with Georgia Tech to find suitable locations for Internet of Things devices and analyze data to provide better service and reduce response time for first responders. A significant component of the project is digital twin technology – a virtual model of the uptown district. The digital twin will incorporate new and existing city data, providing insights for more effective decision-making like reducing traffic accidents for safer streets.

“We want to evaluate street conditions and see the potential causes [of crashes] and safety concerns,” said Neda Mohammadi, postdoctoral fellow, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She’s collaborating on the project with John Taylor, professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Network Dynamics Lab, and Russ Clark, senior research scientist, School of Computer Science.

“A huge amount of work has gone in already into phase one. It’s amazing what Georgia Tech can do with raw numbers to turn them into something that we can begin to start using and comprehending,” said Andrew Lesh, application developer, Columbus Consolidated Government.

Including the 2018 inaugural class, which is continuing work on their projects, Georgia Smart now has a total of eight smart community projects across the state.

“The program is a true testament of Georgia's innovation and collaboration efforts," said Debra Lam, managing director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. "While some states can claim a sole smart city or two, Georgia can showcase a diverse group of communities, each pursuing different smart applications to improve their quality of life. The projects can also serve as models for other local communities and beyond.”

For a second summer, Georgia Tech students will join the Georgia Smart projects full time as part of the Smart Community Corps program, where they'll work on-site alongside communities. The fellowship is in partnership with Serve Learn Sustain, the Center for Career Discovery & Development, and the Student Government Association. Microsoft, EPA, and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia fund the programs.

The Georgia Institute of Technology organizes Georgia Smart in partnership with Georgia Power, Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia Centers for Innovation, Georgia Chamber, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Municipal Association, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Technology Association of Georgia, Georgia Planning Association, and the Global City Teams Challenge.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1587477938 2020-04-21 14:05:38 1591887014 2020-06-11 14:50:14 0 0 news Recently, the latest class of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge program shared their mid-term progress reports.

]]>
2020-04-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-21 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Research Communications Program Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
634641 634638 634639 634640 634641 image <![CDATA[Columbus Consolidated Government]]> image/jpeg 1587565587 2020-04-22 14:26:27 1587565587 2020-04-22 14:26:27 634638 image <![CDATA[Macon-Bibb County]]> image/jpeg 1587565283 2020-04-22 14:21:23 1587565283 2020-04-22 14:21:23 634639 image <![CDATA[City of Milton]]> image/jpeg 1587565386 2020-04-22 14:23:06 1587565386 2020-04-22 14:23:06 634640 image <![CDATA[City of Woodstock]]> image/jpeg 1587565443 2020-04-22 14:24:03 1587565443 2020-04-22 14:24:03
<![CDATA[Resiliency of On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems during Pandemic Response]]> 34928 On June 3, 2020, the Socially Aware Mobility (SAM) Lab met to discuss the resiliency of On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems (ODMTS) in the midst of a pandemic response. It is predicted that the current COVID-19 pandemic will persist for about two years and there always exists the possibility of future pandemics.[1] Consequently, our transit systems must be equipped to handle both depressed demand and social distancing. It is under this premise that the SAM lab has been working to configure an ODMTS pipeline that takes into account the changed behavior of both individuals and transit agencies to curb the spread of viruses.

The purpose of ODMTS is to combine the best of transit and ride-sharing systems through blending customer experience with data and technology. It is a multimodal system that joins on-demand mobility services that serve low-density regions with high occupancy vehicles traveling along high-density corridors. One of the major functions and social issues ODMTS addresses is the “first/last mile” problem, which is the inability of our current transit system to take travelers all the way from their origin to their destination. This is addressed through the addition of shuttles to current public transportation systems. Using shuttles in addition to buses and rail improves rider convenience and decreases costs for both transit agencies and riders.

Using ridership data provided by MARTA, the SAM team was able to map different demand scenarios amidst a pandemic response. Comparing data from March and April 2019 to March and April 2020, the team found significant decrease in rail ridership. While ridership was down at all MARTA stations, there was a noticeable trend showing that ridership decreases varied at different locations. This is due to the nature of the different activities that generate ridership. For example, there was minimal traffic at the Buckhead station known for its shopping centers, compared to only reduced traffic at the North Ave station, where Emory Hospital is located. These trends give insight into the design of ODMTS that address the differing needs during a pandemic response.

Using novel state-of-the-art optimization techniques for planning and operating transit systems, the team was able to demonstrate the benefits of ODMTS using a real-time simulation for three different demand scenarios: 1) a normal “base case” scenario with 100% demand; 2) early and post pandemic scenarios with 60% demand and; 3) a late pandemic scenario with 20% demand. These scenarios were determined by Breeze Card transactions in the month of March 2020. The second and third scenarios were evaluated under various physical distancing measures to ensure the safety of the riders. In particular, no ride sharing was permitted for the shuttles and the capacity of the buses and the rail were reduced by 50% and 75%. A scenario with no buses was also examined. The team found that there is an inherent robustness in ODTMS. Not only can the system handle the different demand scenarios smoothly, but the average wait time also decreases across the board due the depressed demand. It is worth emphasizing that, in its base case configuration, the proposed ODMTS induces significantly less pressure on the budget while simultaneously creating more jobs. 

 The Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation team is excited to see the continued evolution of this project and would like to thank all the contributing stakeholders that work towards the success of this critical transit research.

[1] https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/sites/default/files/public/downloads/cidrap-covid19-viewpoint-part1_0.pdf

]]> kk151 1 1591804131 2020-06-10 15:48:51 1591886889 2020-06-11 14:48:09 0 0 news On June 3, 2020, the Socially Aware Mobility (SAM) Lab met to discuss the resiliency of On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems (ODMTS) in the midst of a pandemic response. 

]]>
2020-06-10T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-10T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-10 00:00:00 636168 636167 636168 image <![CDATA[Regular Station Entry by Month at North Avenue]]> image/gif 1591885085 2020-06-11 14:18:05 1591886700 2020-06-11 14:45:00 636167 image <![CDATA[On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems ]]> image/gif 1591885032 2020-06-11 14:17:12 1591886602 2020-06-11 14:43:22
<![CDATA[Restoring Data's Sense of Place]]> 34928 By Michael Pearson

John Britti, a fifth-year student in computational media, used to have what he calls a “woefully average” approach to data.

“Literally average, in fact,” the Atlanta resident said. “I focused mainly on finding what was normal about the data, what the aggregate looked like.”

As Britti notes, that’s not a necessarily bad way to approach data, but it’s far from the only one. Enter Yanni Loukissas, an assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, who is looking to change how people view the avalanche of information that surrounds us. Britti studied with Loukissas, and found a new way to look at information that makes him a more well-rounded student.

“Yanni pushed me and my class to look at the weird extremities of data as much as the aggregate,” he said. “What’s interesting about it and does its strangeness reveal some kind of systemic abnormality in the data as a whole?”

A former architect, Loukissas is working toward a sense of place to information design, arguing for a design ethic that encourages a belief in the idea that “All Data Are Local,” which also happens to be the title of his most recent book.

“Data aren’t placeless,” he said. “We like to talk about open data, the transparency of data, which suggests that data work anywhere, that they offer these immediate insights to those who have the tools to decipher them. I offer a different view, which is that data are just a starting point, a way in.”

“What I’m suggesting is that people adopt the sensibilities of qualitative analysis to what is traditionally quantitative work with data,” he said.

For instance, while Facebook or Zillow might see data as pixels in a bigger picture, Loukissas sees data more as the index to a book.

“An index can tell you something about a book, but it is not the whole story. It’s the same with data. There are often deeper, broader sources of knowledge that lay beyond data,” Loukissas said. “Data are just the traces.”

Data Settings, not Sets

Loukissas’ work has ramifications in a variety of settings. It provides a critical framework that can be used to evaluate how big technology companies collect, package, and reuse data from millions of sources.

Loukissas is particularly critical of Zillow’s use of data because of the company’s practice of ingesting millions of property records meant to serve the needs of local tax assessors and residents. That data is then transformed through an algorithm that estimates and predicts home values, figures he says are created using data meant for another purpose and stripped of its original context.

For Loukissas’ information design students, the concept of data locality serves as a way to consider new and different techniques for presenting data. He cites the example of Bear 71, an interactive film that represents data and the context of its production to help tell the story of an ursine resident of Canada’s Banff National Park.

“It's such a great example of presenting not just the data set, but the data setting. There's so much more that's going on there than just these videos that are captured,” he said. “And you learn a lot about the relationship between the cameras, between where they're placed in the landscape, and how the story unfolds across that landscape. So it really takes seriously this idea that the setting matters. Data aren't just something to be extracted and mined for their own patterns independent of the origin.”

The Map Room

The Local Data Design Lab  in the Technology Square Research Building contains the tactile representation of Loukissas’ work.

With funding from the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC), four students working with Loukissas set up the the Map Room in 2018. It was inspired by the first map room, built in St. Louis by artist Jer Thorpe, now Loukissas’ collaborator.

Technologically, it is simple. A sliding overhead projector displays a map onto a large sheet of craft paper rolled out across a table. Participants interact with the map by using colored markers to trace the map contours or add data on topics of interest to them: from tax assessments, to traffic, to crime, to education.

“Because it’s about place, and they live there, they’re in a position to ask, ‘Is this data aligned with my own experience and knowledge?” Loukissas said. “If not, what’s wrong? What’s missing? Is the data outdated? Is there an error? Is it reading the wrong indicator?”

The process, Loukissas says, helps participants absorb the larger lessons he is trying to impart about data: that it is not necessarily objective, or complete, and that place plays an important role in understanding what they really mean.

For Britta, working with the Map Room was illuminating.

“I think the Map Room really hits home the notion that data collection isn’t done by abstract mechanical entities,” he said. “The human touch, be it compassionate or reckless, permeates throughout. Obviously, the map room is explicitly about folk data collection, so it’s less structured by design, but I think that’s just a simple way of exposing how messy the process of data collection can be.”

Data Toolkit for Georgia Tech Students

In addition to the Map Room, Loukissas has created a data toolkit for Serve-Learn-Sustain designed to encourage students across campus to think about how they use data.

The tool encourages students to consider the data’s origins, purpose, and audience, think about how the data is structured, how it has been used elsewhere, and what ethical considerations use of the data may pose.

Loukissas also asks students to conduct an interview with someone involved in the creation, management, or use of the data to understand more about how it was created and used.

“Students are often asked to work with unfamiliar data sets, but they aren’t encouraged to see the people and places beyond the data,” he said. “I’m hopeful that this tool can help usher in a new sensibility about working with data.”

LMC is a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

]]> kk151 1 1574779304 2019-11-26 14:41:44 1574779344 2019-11-26 14:42:24 0 0 news Yanni Loukissas, an assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, is looking to change how people view the avalanche of information that surrounds us.

]]>
2019-10-23T00:00:00-04:00 2019-10-23T00:00:00-04:00 2019-10-23 00:00:00 629382 629382 image <![CDATA[Loukassis]]> image/jpeg 1574779149 2019-11-26 14:39:09 1574779149 2019-11-26 14:39:09
<![CDATA[Pascal Van Hentenryck’s Socially Aware Mobility Lab Begins Its Work]]> 34928 If there’s one well-known fact about Atlanta, it’s that the city’s traffic is terrible – and is projected to worsen exponentially as the population increases over the next two decades. According to a study from the Atlanta Regional Commission, the city’s inhabitants will expand to eight million by 2040. In addition, Atlanta has a significant public transportation problem, with only 3% of residents using the MARTA system.

Pascal Van Hentenryck, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) is on a mission to solve this challenging problem through the application of optimization and machine learning to the MARTA system. He specifically plans to increase accessibility to public transportation by creating a scalable, On-Demand Multimodal Transit System (ODMTS) model that will be validated through implementation in the Atlanta region.

The backbone of the proposed ODMTS is small shuttles that take passengers to and from high-frequency light rail and bus hubs, which will only be used in high-density corridors. The shuttles will expand the reach of the system, so people are picked up much closer to their homes and dropped off at or near their destination, making it significantly more convenient for riders to use.

To date, Van Hentenryck has conducted successful case studies on the transit systems in the mid-sized cities of Canberra, Australia and Ann Arbor, Michigan. In both cities, his multi-modal approach has shown a significant reduction in both cost and passenger wait times, and he hopes to apply the same strategies in Atlanta.

In July 2019, Van Hentenryck and his team were awarded a $1.7 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant through the LEAP HI Program to scale the optimization and machine learning algorithms that were created in Ann Arbor and Canberra for a large city like Atlanta. And in late October 2019, the Socially Aware Mobility (SAM) Lab opened for business. The SAM Lab has an interdisciplinary research team from Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan and an external advisory board comprising representatives of many key metro Atlanta transportation agencies.

“The purpose of NSF’s Leading Engineering for America’s Prosperity, Health and Infrastructure (LEAP HI) Program is to identify opportunities for fundamental engineering research to address major societal problems,” said NSF Program Director Bruce Kramer, who attended the opening event. “The SAM Lab will use new mathematics to reduce the congestion in transportation systems that impacts every resident of our major cities. The enthusiastic cooperation of local agencies has made it possible to use Atlanta as a living laboratory where potential breakthrough methods can be evaluated. NSF looks forward to following the progress of Professor Van Hentenryck and his students.”

The inauguration of the SAM Lab began with a meeting of the external advisory board followed by a panel discussion and reception to which the public was invited. The panel included Van Hentenryck, City of Atlanta Senior Transportation Policy Advisor Jacob Tzegaegbe; Uber Public Affairs Manager (Southeast) Evangeline George; The Ray Executive Director Allie Kelly; and Cox Automotive Mobility Vice President of Business Development and New Ventures Daniel Liniado. The discussion was moderated by Debra Lam, managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology. Steve McLaughlin, dean of the College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair, gave the opening remarks.

“With traffic you always have to be aware that fixing a problem in one place may create a problem in another,” said McLaughlin. “The SAM Lab knows that for reducing congestion, it requires minds that can break apart a problem and work through complexity. Road congestion is the product of interconnectedness that requires an interdisciplinary team working through all facets of the problem.”

Van Hentenryck is eager to get started on the practical aspects of the project. “We have the NSF grant, which provides for the theory, the foundation, the algorithms behind the redesign of the entire MARTA system,” he said. “But we don’t want this to stay in the lab – we want to have a pilot program in place by the end of the project. The next step is to get the partners to work together on this. We have an excellent team put together to make all this happen.”

The SAM Lab pilot program is projected to be ready for implementation in two or three years. In the meantime, Van Hentenryck is refining the ODMTS algorithm with his research partners Subhrajit “Subhro” Guhathakurta, chair and professor of the Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning; Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Yafeng Yin, professor in the University of Michigan School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

In addition, Van Hentenryck's work on mobility issues includes student researchers. Through the Vertically Integrated Projects program, a team is using data and decision science to improve mobility and accessibility in Atlanta through optimization and machine learning. He is also advising an ISyE Senior Design team that is working with MARTA to create a hypothetical redesign of MARTA’s bus network to better align routes with current usage.

“Given the rapidly evolving mobility landscape and attendant challenges facing MARTA, the opening of the SAM Lab couldn’t have happened at a more opportune time,” said Rob Goodwin, director of research and analytics at MARTA. “I look forward to working with Professor Van Hentenryck to explore new technologies and approaches that will help shape the future of transit in metro Atlanta.”

“If we successfully implement the ODMTS here in Atlanta, it will prove that the algorithm can be scaled for a major city,” Van Hentenryck added. “And then it can be effectively used in large cities around the world.”

You can stay updated on the SAM Lab's work through its Twitter account: @AwareSam.

]]> kk151 1 1574779062 2019-11-26 14:37:42 1574779062 2019-11-26 14:37:42 0 0 news Pascal Van Hentenryck, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) is on a mission to solve this challenging problem through the application of optimization and machine learning to the MARTA system.

]]>
2019-11-20T00:00:00-05:00 2019-11-20T00:00:00-05:00 2019-11-20 00:00:00 629380 629380 image <![CDATA[Pascal Marta]]> image/jpeg 1574778917 2019-11-26 14:35:17 1574778917 2019-11-26 14:35:17
<![CDATA[Environmental Engineering Team Places 2nd in International Design Competition]]> 34928 A team from Georgia Tech took the No. 2 spot at the Water Environment Federation’s international student design competition.

The team, comprised of spring 2019 environmental engineering graduates, earned second place with their entry—the first time a team from Georgia Tech has ever entered the competition.  

The team created a design report and presented their results in Chicago on Sept. 22. 

“The team was wonderful to work with,” said John Koon, professor of the practice in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  “The project subject is a very complex one.  Working with this design topic required the students to learn about the chemistry of a number of chemical contaminants present in wastewater, learn very sophisticated and complex treatment concepts, and understand the intricacies of the regulation of reusing wastewater for drinking purposes.”

The Georgia Tech team’s design was a project for the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources. The work for the project initially began in Koon’s environmental engineering senior design course. The team evaluated the use of treated municipal wastewater as a source of drinking water that Gwinnett County could use to supplement its water supply.  

Samuel Boyce, CE 19, said that at the beginning of the spring 2019 semester, Koon told the class about a special water reuse project in the Atlanta area that would be an entry for the student design competition at the annual WEFTEC conference for water engineering in September. 

“Our team decided we would be willing to take on the challenge despite our spring graduations and uncertain futures,” Boyce said. “Over the summer, we condensed our design into a single preferred alternative with an accompanying 20-page report and presentation for our final submission to WEFTEC. Two of our four team members were not in Atlanta full time, but we were able to communicate effectively in producing our final design. Given the separation of our team through the natural forces of graduation, we were very pleased with our final presentation and our second-place title.”

Koon said the project was particularly impressive because of all the time and effort the team put into it. 

“After completing their design report for the senior design course, they reworked the report to conform to the WEF competition requirements over the summer.  They put together their presentation, spent lots of time honing it to be no more than the allotted 20 minutes in length, and practiced it until it was CNN-perfect—by that I mean that it was so good that it was comparable to what the major news anchor team professionals deliver.”

The Georgia Tech students were advised by a team from engineering firm Black & Veatch, led by Bernadette Drouhard, a member of the Water Environment Federation and a part-time master’s student in environmental engineering at Georgia Tech.

The Georgia Tech team was comprised of recent environmental engineering graduates who earned their bachelor’s degrees in the spring. The members are: 

·       Claire Anderson, a graduate student at Stanford pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering

·       Samuel Boyce, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in environmental engineering at Georgia Tech 

·       Blake Linder, a graduate student at Georgia Tech pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering 

·       Eleanor Thomas, now working with a non-profit organization in Berkeley, Calif.

]]> kk151 1 1572970146 2019-11-05 16:09:06 1572979041 2019-11-05 18:37:21 0 0 news A team from Georgia Tech took the No. 2 spot at the Water Environment Federation’s international student design competition.

 

]]>
2019-10-17T00:00:00-04:00 2019-10-17T00:00:00-04:00 2019-10-17 00:00:00 628610 628610 image <![CDATA[EE Team Award]]> image/jpeg 1572970061 2019-11-05 16:07:41 1572970061 2019-11-05 16:07:41
<![CDATA[Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck Brings Public Transportation into the 21st Century]]> 34928 According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation spurs economic development, promotes sustainable lifestyles, and provides a higher quality of life. It is also safer and less expensive than cars. However, most Americans still opt to drive personal vehicles rather than use public transit.

“In order to increase acceptance of public transportation, we need a system that gets people where they want to go in a more convenient and affordable way,” said Pascal Van Hentenryck, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). “If we make public transportation more attractive to riders, it will decrease traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions and increase accessibility to jobs, health care, education, and food.”

Van Hentenryck has done significant research in the areas of artificial intelligence, data science, and operations research — all of which are essential to address the current problems in mobility. His goal is to create an equitable system that is both efficient for everyone and decreases reliability on personal vehicles.

Most public transportation systems in the U.S. have a significant first- and last-mile problem. “If you don’t pick people up within a quarter of a mile of where they live and drop them off very close to their final destination, you lose 90% of your ridership,” he explained.

In order to address this problem, Van Hentenryck suggests a multi-modal transportation solution in which small on-demand shuttles take passengers to and from high-frequency light rail and bus hubs, which will only be in high-density corridors. Shuttles will expand the reach of the system, so people are picked up much closer to their homes and dropped off at or near their destinations, making it significantly more convenient for riders.

In addition to addressing the first- and last-mile problem, the use of on-demand shuttles is also more cost effective and environmentally friendly. According to Van Hentenryck, most city buses are expensive to operate and drive with very few passengers on board. Replacing buses in low-demand routes with a greater number of smaller, inexpensive shuttles will increase efficiencies and lower overall costs. To further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, electric vehicles will be used whenever possible.

While the multi-modal approach may involve more transfers than the traditional model, the process will be simple and organized, allowing riders to reach their destinations in a similar amount of time to individuals driving personal vehicles. Each trip will require only one ticket, cost the same as traditional public transportation, and be completely synchronized to avoid long waits at the various transfer points. To facilitate this, Van Hentenryck and his team created algorithms that use machine learning and distributed optimization to predict ridership in real time, manage shuttle and passenger volume, and reduce wait times.

To date, Van Hentenryck has conducted successful case studies on the transit systems in the mid-sized cities of Canberra, Australia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. In both cities, his multi-modal approach has shown a significant reduction in both cost and passenger wait times, and he hopes to apply the same strategies in Atlanta.

“Atlanta is one of the most congested cities in the world, but only about 3% of the population currently uses public transportation,” Van Hentenryck said. “There is a tremendous opportunity here if we can make public transportation easier and faster to use.”

In July 2019, Van Hentenryck and his team were awarded a $1.7 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to scale the optimization and machine-learning algorithms that were created in Ann Arbor and Canberra for a large city like Atlanta. The NSF Leap HI (Leading Engineering for America's Prosperity, Health, and Infrastructure) grant is in collaboration with civil engineering and urban planning, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the Atlanta Regional Commission, and the City of Atlanta.

ISyE students — from undergraduates to post-docs — are also getting the chance to be a part of this exciting initiative. Van Hentenryck connected with MARTA shortly after joining the ISyE faculty in 2018, and he is leading an interdisciplinary Vertically Integrated Project team that is assisting with this initiative. In addition, in spring 2019 he advised two Senior Design teams that worked with MARTA to provide greater visibility into how patrons use the transit system — and one of the teams was a finalist for ISyE’s Best of Senior Design.

“The work that the students have done to date has been very useful,” said Rob Goodwin, MARTA’s director of research and analysis. “They are working with our data to give us a much more robust picture of how our patrons are using the system, which will allow us to see where there are opportunities and challenges in our system. We look forward to a continued relationship with Pascal and ISyE.”

Van Hentenryck and his team are eager to begin work on the grant and hope to have an impact on Atlanta traffic and accessibility. “Atlanta is a daunting challenge, which is why this project is so interesting,” Van Hentenryck noted. “We are looking at this bottom up, understanding mobility in the city and then step by step developing and integrating machine-learning and optimization algorithms for various novel mobility services that we will simulate at scale and hopefully pilot at some point.”

]]> kk151 1 1571257001 2019-10-16 20:16:41 1571845690 2019-10-23 15:48:10 0 0 news According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation spurs economic development, promotes sustainable lifestyles, and provides a higher quality of life. 

]]>
2019-10-11T00:00:00-04:00 2019-10-11T00:00:00-04:00 2019-10-11 00:00:00 627689 627689 image <![CDATA[Pascal Van Hentenryck]]> image/jpeg 1571256887 2019-10-16 20:14:47 1571256887 2019-10-16 20:14:47
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Hosts Beyond Smart Symposium]]> 34928 Interdisciplinary scholars from around the world gathered in Tech Square on April 25 and 26 for the Beyond Smart Symposium. They reflected on issues of researching smart city deployments and projects.

Highlights of day one of the symposium included talks from:

Alison Powell, assistant professor and director of MSc in Data & Society in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Powell discussed Suboptimal Citizenship, Hybridized Knowledge: A Transforming History of Smart Citizens and her 15 years of work on the capacity of smart cities developed by citizens instead of a top-down approach.

Andrew Schrock, founder of Aloi Research and Consulting and instructor at the University of Southern California, on ethically using technology and creating intersectionality and organizing for institutional reform. He also discussed the evolving definition of a smart city – from technology to political challenges.

Sheena Erete, assistant professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University on Designing Counter Structures: Taking an Assets-Based Approach to Designing Equitable Civic Technologies. Erete is using technology to address social issues such as equity and inclusion of resource-constrained communities.

Yoshiki Yamagata, principal researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, who discussed Urban Systems Design for Smart Communities in the IoT Era, and the use of big data for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Yamagata examined how we can disseminate the usefulness of big data and AI techniques to society by establishing smart and sustainable communities.

In the afternoon, a panel of city, higher education, corporate and non-profit leaders discussed how academics can partner with other organizations around inclusion and equity.

Andrew Schrock, founder of Aloi Research and Consulting and instructor at the University of Southern California, on ethically using technology and creating intersectionality and organizing for institutional reform. He also discussed the evolving definition of a smart city – from technology to political challenges.

Sheena Erete, assistant professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University on Designing Counter Structures: Taking an Assets-Based Approach to Designing Equitable Civic Technologies. Erete is using technology to address social issues such as equity and inclusion of resource-constrained communities.

Yoshiki Yamagata, principal researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, who discussed Urban Systems Design for Smart Communities in the IoT Era, and the use of big data for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Yamagata examined how we can disseminate the usefulness of big data and AI techniques to society by establishing smart and sustainable communities.

In the afternoon, a panel of city, higher education, corporate and non-profit leaders discussed how academics can partner with other organizations around inclusion and equity.

The symposium concluded on day two with keynote addresses followed by discussion from Beth Coleman, associate professor of English Language and Literature and co-director of the Critical Media Lab at the University of Waterloo, and Laura Forlano, associate professor, Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The Georgia Tech School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Tech Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation initiative, and Center for Computing and Society organized the symposium with funding from the Institute for People and Technology and the GVU Center.

]]> kk151 1 1570643351 2019-10-09 17:49:11 1571840285 2019-10-23 14:18:05 0 0 news Interdisciplinary scholars from around the world gathered in Tech Square on April 25 and 26 for the Beyond Smart Symposium. They reflected on issues of researching smart city deployments and projects.

]]>
2019-05-06T00:00:00-04:00 2019-05-06T00:00:00-04:00 2019-05-06 00:00:00 619459 619459 image <![CDATA[Beyond Smart]]> image/gif 1553100845 2019-03-20 16:54:05 1553100845 2019-03-20 16:54:05
<![CDATA[IPaT to Host 2014 People & Technology Forum Nov 11-12]]> 27980 ATLANTA - Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology hosts its annual People & Technology Forum on November 11-12, 2014 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center.  The 2014 Forum will focus on “Connected Life” with keynotes and panel discussions providing thought-provoking discussions with insightful business leaders, brilliant researchers, and entrepreneurs examining how emerging technologies will shape the future of our society.

Keynotes this year include:

Kwanza Hall represents District 2, the heart of Atlanta and the city’s most diverse council district. Before his election to the Atlanta City Council, Hall served on the Atlanta Board of Education. He currently serves on the boards of Leadership Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Arts Fund, Atlanta Medical Center, and the Downtown and Midtown Improvement Districts.

MIT’s Technology Review Magazine honored Jia Chen as one of 35 leading worldwide technology innovators under the age of 35 in 2005. In 2006, Small Times magazine honored her as Best Researcher of the Year, and NASA’s Nanotech Briefs recognized her as one of the top 15 innovators of Nano50.

Bill Stead is a Founding Fellow of both the American College of Medical Informatics and the American Institute for Engineering in Biology and Medicine. He is also the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. His awards include the Collen Award for Excellence in Medical Informatics and the Lindberg Award for Innovation in Informatics. Most recently, the American Medical Informatics Association named the Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics in his honor.

Jeff Leddy was the founder of Hughes Telematics in 2006 and provided executive leadership in the development of the company’s strategic vision and implementation of its connected car services. He presently serves on the board of Global Eagle Entertainment, the leading full service platform offering both content and connectivity for the worldwide airline industry.

2014 panels will include:

In addition to keynote and panel sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to interact with over 100 student, faculty and startup demos including a showcase of student innovations from the Convergence Innovation Competition’s (CIC) GT Journey competition. The Fall CIC is aligned with the GT Journey project, which supports students and the entire campus community in the creation of applications, immersive experiences, and crowd sourced campus information. Entries will be working end-to-end prototypes with a strong emphasis on a user experience that enhances or improves campus life.

For more information about the event and to register please visit ipatforum.gatech.edu

]]> Alyson Key 1 1411988946 2014-09-29 11:09:06 1570460712 2019-10-07 15:05:12 0 0 news Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology hosts its annual People & Technology Forum on November 11-12, 2014 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center.  The 2014 Forum will focus on “Connected Life” with keynotes and panel discussions providing thought-provoking discussions with insightful business leaders, brilliant researchers, and entrepreneurs examining how emerging technologies will shape the future of our society.

]]>
2014-09-29T00:00:00-04:00 2014-09-29T00:00:00-04:00 2014-09-29 00:00:00 Renata LeDantec
Marketing & Communications Director, Institute for People & Technology at Georgia Tech
404.324.3307

]]>
386511 386511 image <![CDATA[Health Tech Startup Seminars]]> image/png 1449246275 2015-12-04 16:24:35 1475894347 2016-10-08 02:39:07
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Joins National MetroLab Network]]> 27980 Georgia Tech and Georgia State University are partnering with the City of Atlanta as founding members in the MetroLab Network, part of the Obama Administration’s “Smart Cities” initiative to help communities tackle local challenges and improve city services.

Supported by a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the MetroLab Network seeks to research, develop and deploy technologies to address challenges in the nation’s urban areas such as reducing traffic congestion, fighting crime, fostering economic growth, and managing the effects of a changing climate.

“The MetroLab Network provides a forum for cities and universities to partner both within their own cities and to develop and diffuse solutions across cities using city-university partnerships on research and practice as the mechanism for that collaboration,” said Dr. Jennifer Clark, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Urban Innovation. “[The] framework creates a sustained partnership rather than a project by project partnership.” Clark attended the announcement of the initiative during the Smart Cities Forum at the White House in September.

“How do we move from a 20th century city to a 21st century city using a world-class university as the research driver and a global city as the test bed?” Dr. Clark asked.

The Atlanta partnership is one of more than 20 city-university collaborations being supported by the initiative. Established city-university partnerships have produced transportation and water infrastructure projects that have increased efficiency and reduced the environmental impact. By becoming members of MetroLab, Georgia Tech will not only partner with Georgia State and the City of Atlanta, but also other cities in the network.

“The idea is to do this in a way that we can share best practices across the country, so that we can deploy these technology cases in multiple cities at the same time,” Dr. Clark said.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563220108 2019-07-15 19:48:28 1570460672 2019-10-07 15:04:32 0 0 news Georgia Tech and Georgia State University are partnering with the City of Atlanta as founding members in the MetroLab Network.

]]>
2015-10-02T00:00:00-04:00 2015-10-02T00:00:00-04:00 2015-10-02 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
618982 618982 image <![CDATA[Tech Tower Atlanta aerial]]> image/jpeg 1552054422 2019-03-08 14:13:42 1552054422 2019-03-08 14:13:42 <![CDATA[White House's MetroLab Fact Sheet]]> <![CDATA[City of Atlanta press release]]>
<![CDATA[Smart City Leader to Give Keynote at Industry Innovation Day]]> 27980 IPaT is excited to announce the addition of keynote speaker Aaron Deacon to the lineup of dynamic speakers for our first Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square.

Deacon is the managing director of KC Digital Drive, a nonprofit civic tech startup supporting technology projects that increase economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for people in Kansas City, Missouri. KC Digital Drive focuses on the human side of technology by addressing the digital divide, supporting high-impact technology pilot projects, and elevating Kansas City’s position as a leading digital city. Working closely with the Kansas City mayors’ offices, KC Digital Drive was designed to drive innovation and collaboration in Kansas City and capitalize on next generation infrastructure. The organization covers a broad range of issues including education, health care, the arts, entrepreneurship, sustainability and digital inclusion.

Deacon has been an instrumental leader in helping Kansas City prepare to be the first market for Google Fiber. He helped create the Building the Gigabit City community brainstorming session, led the Give Us a Gig initiative for neighborhood education, engagement and advocacy, and organized the Gigabit City Summit to explore city infrastructure issues around next generation networks and help cities develop community playbooks to take advantage of ultra high-speed broadband.

Industry Innovation Day builds on the success of the previous IPaT industry oriented event, the People and Technology Forum, and serves to showcase research at IPaT and Georgia Tech as well as highlight the many avenues of collaboration with industry, government, and non-profit partners.

We’ll start with the 'Work with Tech' breakfast session discussing the spectrum of ways industry and government agencies can engage with Georgia Tech. You will also hear plans for Georgia Tech's new high performance computing building designed for industry-academia collaboration, and learn about the Tech Square innovation district, which attracts established companies and supports start-ups. Panelists include: Jarrett Ellis, research associate at Georgia Tech Research Corporation; Greg King, associate vice president for economic development at Georgia Tech; Leigh McCook, deputy director of the Institute for People and Technology; and Caroline Wood, senior director of corporate relations at Georgia Tech. Siva Jayaraman, strategic partnerships manager at IPaT, will moderate the session.

The day will continue with a thought-provoking keynote and panel discussions on this year’s theme of Smart and Connected Communities. Business leaders, researchers, city officials and entrepreneurs will examine how the next wave of innovative, integrated technologies is going to help communities across Georgia, the US and the world become more connected, resilient and sustainable. After lunch, explore future technology at the GVU & Digital Media Showcase, and open house tours of Tech Square innovation centers and labs including ATDC, SimTigrate, and the Interoperability & Integration Innovation Lab (I3L).

Industry Innovation Day attendees are also invited to the reception for our Convergence Innovation Competition on April 12th to see research demonstrations from Georgia Tech students. The theme of this year's competition is Connected Living, and students will present demos in the categories of connected home, connected car, and connected community. The reception is from 6 - 7pm at the Institute for People and Technology, 75 5th Street NW, Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30308.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563219265 2019-07-15 19:34:25 1570460636 2019-10-07 15:03:56 0 0 news IPaT is excited to announce the addition of keynote speaker Aaron Deacon to the lineup of dynamic speakers for our first Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square.

]]>
2016-03-15T00:00:00-04:00 2016-03-15T00:00:00-04:00 2016-03-15 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
623399 623399 image <![CDATA[Aaron Deacon]]> image/jpeg 1563219158 2019-07-15 19:32:38 1563219158 2019-07-15 19:32:38 <![CDATA[Register for Industry Innovation Day]]> <![CDATA[Industry Innovation Day website]]>
<![CDATA[IPaT Hosts Inaugural Industry Innovation Day]]> 27980 “Smart and Connected Communities” was the focus of IPaT’s first Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square. Guests enjoyed thought-provoking talks and panel discussions from Georgia Tech faculty, business leaders, city officials, and entrepreneurs.

The day started with a breakfast panel on how to “Work with Tech.” Panelists talked about possible first steps in engaging with Georgia Tech such as connecting with many of the Institute’s interdisciplinary research institutes (IRIs), and what a successful strategic partnership looks like.

IPaT Deputy Director Leigh McCook said, “A successful industry partnership would grow both in duration as well as breadth.”

IPaT Executive Director Beth Mynatt then welcomed attendees by outlining IPaT’s campus network, mission, and research, and how we’re working to create smart cities and communities. She asked, “How do we design the fabric of these communities so they can be resilient and meet challenges that arise?”

Jennifer Clark, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Urban Innovation introduced IID keynote speaker Aaron Deacon. Deacon is managing director of KC Digital Drive, a nonprofit civic tech startup supporting technology projects that increase economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for people in Kansas City.

Deacon discussed collaborating with the Kansas City mayor’s office to capitalize on next generation infrastructure, how he helped Kansas City prepare to be the first market for Google Fiber, and what a smart city looks like on both the micro and macro levels—which he said includes not only connectivity, but also citizen engagement.

Ryan Gravel, Georgia Tech graduate and visionary behind the Atlanta BeltLine, delivered the IID plenary address. He gave attendees a glimpse of his new book, “Where We Want to Live – Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities.” The book makes a case for how we can address challenges related to traffic, divided neighborhoods, and a non-walkable life with projects like the BeltLine, which connects 40 diverse Atlanta neighborhoods to city schools, shopping districts, and public parks.

Gravel explained how the BeltLine emerged after a period of decline in Atlanta and galvanized a broad cross section of residents. “The people of Atlanta believed in this project before anyone else did,” he said.

The next panel focused on “Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Living.” Panelists discussed equity and access as it relates to technology, and shared their thoughts on how cities should prioritize data gathering.

“Technology is great,” said City of Atlanta Commissioner and CIO Samir Saini, “but what objective is it achieving? What civic problem is it solving?”

During the final panel discussion of the afternoon— “Cities of the Future”—moderator Hamish Caldwell of Wireless Insiders Network asked the panel, “In your area of focus, how do you hope life will be different in the city [in the future]?”

Answers ranged from driverless cars and buses, better infrastructure, to more public/private partnerships. Kari Watkins, assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering said she’d like to see more social interaction in our modes of transportation “by making cities more walkable, bikeable, and transit friendly.”

Continuing the day’s theme of industry engagement, IPaT announced a new partnership with the Atlanta Braves to develop curriculum for STEM Day and collaborate on future projects. Andrew Zimmerman, Atlanta Braves Vice President of Marketing said, “We’re honored to be the first professional team to partner with Georgia Tech.”

Industry Innovation Day concluded with open house tours of ATDC, SimTigrate, and I3L, plus the GVU Center and Digital Media Spring Research Showcase. Guests of the showcase experienced more than 80 interactive Georgia Tech research projects.
 

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563218635 2019-07-15 19:23:55 1570460604 2019-10-07 15:03:24 0 0 news “Smart and Connected Communities” was the focus of IPaT’s first Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square.

]]>
2016-04-20T00:00:00-04:00 2016-04-20T00:00:00-04:00 2016-04-20 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
<![CDATA[View Industry Innovation Day and GVU/Digital Media Spring Research Showcase photos]]>
<![CDATA[Tracking the Atlanta Streetcar in Real Time]]> 27980 Starting this summer, the Atlanta Streetcar will begin using a new real-time dispatching method developed at Georgia Tech that eliminates the need for schedules and cuts down on passenger wait times. Currently, the schedule on the Streetcar is not publicly available to passengers; they only know that streetcars run approximately every 10-15 minutes. Drivers, however, use a schedule in order to make sure the two or three vehicles are evenly spaced along the route. Schedules are made months in advance, though, without information about current operating conditions.

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Kari Watkins and Ph.D student Simon Berrebi have developed an algorithm that ensures each vehicle is spaced evenly along the 2.7 mile route in downtown Atlanta, maximizing the frequency of service. Unlike the current method, the Georgia Tech algorithm uses real-time information.

“Our method identifies a late streetcar and holds every proceeding vehicle to make sure that they will all be able to be dispatched with the same headway,” said Berrebi.

One problem the researchers faced was the “urban canyon” effect where the GPS reception reverberates on buildings, or is blocked entirely, creating an error in the signal and causing the apparent GPS location of the vehicles to wander. Watkins and Berrebi worked with Research Scientist Bill Eason of IPaT and the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC), and GT-RNOC Co-director Russ Clark to use a barometric pressure sensor. They found that the newest sensors, designed to be built into next-generation cell phones, are sensitive enough to detect changes in elevation of under a meter (3.3 feet). The sensor measures changes in elevation and allows for more accuracy in pinpointing the location of a streetcar in real-time.
 

“Connecting this with the urban canyon problem that we’ve been studying at GT-RNOC, it became clear that we can track the observed elevation changes along the vehicle’s path and match the elevation profile against the known profile for the given path,” said Eason. “Once you can tell where you are on that elevation curve, you can determine exactly where you are on the route.”

Dispatchers will advise drivers how long to stop at a control point located in Centennial Olympic Park, and mobile applications like OneBusAway, along with LED displays located at streetcar stops will notify passengers of expected arrival times. Researchers will work to expand this system to other transit routes in Atlanta and throughout the country.

This method is particularly easy for fixed routes like those that the streetcars travel. It becomes a bit more difficult for tracking the location of vehicles like buses that may have to detour off the planned route because of road closures and other obstructions, but the Georgia Tech research team is solving those problems, too.

“The uniqueness of this solution is that the sensor is self-contained and doesn’t depend on external signals (like from GPS satellites) or even comparative air pressure measurements taken at a second, fixed location,” explained Eason. “The algorithm we’ve created is robust enough to handle macro changes in atmospheric pressure as the weather changes, without affecting the ability to determine a vehicle’s location. It’s exciting to be developing new technologies like this, while applying them to real-world solutions that affect people’s lives and benefit the city we live in.”

Eason notes that this technique will only work in areas where the roads have enough rise and fall to create an elevation profile that we can follow. Coastal Florida might not be a good target area, but Atlanta certainly is.

Although the Atlanta Streetcar project has recently faced growing pains and a possible shutdown, Berrebi is hopeful that it will continue to expand and that Atlanta can one day have a public transit system similar to his native Paris.

“For me, public transportation is a way of life,” he said. “When I came to Atlanta I was shocked that public transit wasn’t what I was used to. I started working with Dr. Kari Watkins who had a mission to improve public transportation in Atlanta, and I was inspired immediately by her work and wanted to participate.”

The streetcar project is in partnership with the Georgia Tech Center for Urban Innovation and the City of Atlanta, and is funded by a GVU/IPaT Engagement Grant, which provides seed funding to conduct interdisciplinary research. Engagement grants are designed to foster new sorts of engagements and collaboration, whether internally or externally.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1465920492 2016-06-14 16:08:12 1570460505 2019-10-07 15:01:45 0 0 news Starting this summer, the Atlanta Streetcar will begin using a new real-time dispatching method developed at Georgia Tech that eliminates the need for schedules and cuts down on passenger wait times.

]]>
2016-06-14T00:00:00-04:00 2016-06-14T00:00:00-04:00 2016-06-14 00:00:00 Alyson Powell
Communications Officer
Institute for People and Technology
alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
64307 544821 64307 image <![CDATA[Atlanta Streetcar Demo]]> image/jpeg 1449176735 2015-12-03 21:05:35 1475894567 2016-10-08 02:42:47 544821 image <![CDATA[Barometric Pressure Sensor]]> image/jpeg 1465938000 2016-06-14 21:00:00 1475895336 2016-10-08 02:55:36
<![CDATA[Creating a Community Engagement Playbook]]> 27980 Researchers at Georgia Tech are working with the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Westside Future Fund to develop a community engagement playbook.

The group has been working closely over the past year with Christopher Le Dantec, assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, to implement a process for a more open-ended, narrative-based approach to engagement. The goal is to create a set of resources—a playbook—to help guide city departments, community organizations, and local residents on how to work together more effectively on planning and development projects around the city.

The playbook provides a resource for more inclusive community engagement. This means plenty of opportunities for citizens to directly help with the planning and implementation of projects that impact their lives. And if that’s not possible, they’re involved in conversations, given clear and consistent information and the opportunity to provide feedback before, during, and after changes are made.

“We believe that if groups have a resource to point to that outlines the important steps to follow to achieve meaningful engagement it would be a considerable asset for Atlanta, especially if that resource has been collaboratively developed by Atlanta residents, the public sector and its private partners,” said Kate Diedrick, researcher, Solidarity Research Center. “People who feel ownership over the playbook see it as an important tool and will refer to it when any new planning initiative begins.” 

If civic participation means that every citizen has the opportunity to actively engage in shaping the public sphere, says Diedrick, there are too many factors outside of our control to ensure meaningful participation for every citizen from every social, cultural, and economic background across Atlanta.

“A more engaged community is difficult to define in strict terms because engagement can look so different depending on context,” said Diedrick. “But people know when they live in an engaged community, and they also know when opportunities for engagement are open, democratic, inclusive, and accessible—all values mentioned again and again when we asked Westside residents how they define meaningful engagement.”

Researchers and community members collected a large set of interviews with city officials and Westside residents, which focused on the everyday experiences and challenges of community engagement—everything from working with Atlanta’s new 311 system, to understanding the neighborhood impact of long-term development plans like the Atlanta Beltline and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“By sharing and working from experiences shared via the interviews, a diverse cross section of stakeholders were able to see why community engagement is so important, why it’s so difficult, and to begin working together to define the principles and the logistics for doing it better,” said Le Dantec.

The interviews also played an important role in a community engagement workshop held on June 21 with over 70 Westside community members and representatives from Atlanta’s public and private sector.

The project is a piece of Le Dantec’s larger research agenda that is defining a new Digital Civics—building out processes, relations, and technologies that connect citizens to each other and to local institutions. It’s supported by the Living Cities City Accelerator program, which works within and across cities to advance and promote the spread of promising innovations that will have a significant impact in the lives of residents.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1469634678 2016-07-27 15:51:18 1570460463 2019-10-07 15:01:03 0 0 news Researchers at Georgia Tech are working with the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Westside Future Fund to develop a community engagement playbook.

]]>
2016-07-27T00:00:00-04:00 2016-07-27T00:00:00-04:00 2016-07-27 00:00:00 Alyson Powell
Communications Officer
Institute for People and Technology
alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
609534 609534 image <![CDATA[Atlanta Skyline and Tech Tower]]> image/jpeg 1533829493 2018-08-09 15:44:53 1538406706 2018-10-01 15:11:46
<![CDATA[IPaT Hosts First Georgia Tech Smart Cities Faculty Summit]]> 27980 On November 16th, IPaT invited the Georgia Tech community to attend the Georgia Tech Smart Cities Faculty Summit. Attendees discussed innovative and far reaching plans for grand challenges that tackle many of the systemic issues facing our cities and communities. Faculty from across campus and representatives from the City of Atlanta described multidisciplinary approaches focused on making Atlanta the most livable, equitable, sustainable and innovative city in the U.S. Georgia Tech recently formed a Smart Cities faculty council and is partnering with the City of Atlanta to create a shared smart cities vision and strategy with the city as an active testbed for research and innovation.

Denitra Gober, public and community engagement specialist with the City of Atlanta, outlined the SMARTATL initiative, which allows the city to utilize a strategic and data-centric approach to improving mobility, public safety and sustainability. The goal of the initiative is to enhance citizen well-being and foster economic growth in Atlanta. 

The City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech recently announced the SMARTATL pilot project in the North Avenue and Spring Street corridors. “Georgia Tech has such a myriad of experience, and we’re just so excited to be a part of it,” said Gober. As part of the pilot, Georgia Tech researchers are designing and deploying groups of sensors to address the technical challenges and other aspects of scaling up a smart city sensor network.

The first panel of the day was “Making Atlanta the Most Livable City in the U.S.” Discussion began with the definition of a livable city. Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor in the School of Architecture said engineers must design cities for people, not cars. This agenda includes planning for walkability, transit, parks, and social interaction. “Georgia Tech can lead in developing tools that integrate smart design, smart data, smart policies, smart networks, in ways that make it easy for all Atlantans to reduce their dependency on private car ownership and use,” she said.  

The panel also discussed the benefits and downsides of autonomous vehicles – reduced costs and private car ownership, but also the threat of possible increased congestion. Mike Hunter, associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering said another issue to consider is building infrastructure for both self-driving and autonomous vehicles. “There will be a mixed fleet for a long time to come.” 

Christopher Le Dantec, Assistant Professor in the School of Literature, Media and Communication discussed how we can make Atlanta more livable through digital civics, or the intersection between smart cities and digital democracy. One example of digital civics is Georgia Tech’s Cycle Atlanta project. Cyclists use a smartphone app to record where they ride, and then the data is sent to the City of Atlanta to make strategic improvements to bicycle infrastructure. According to Le Dantec, the app “empowers cyclists to participate civically in a new way through the production of data.”

The next panel focused on “Making Atlanta the Most Equitable City in the U.S.” Jennifer Clark, associate professor in the School of Public Policy and executive director of the Center for Urban Innovation said many times when we think about smart cities we think of large, urban control centers, but smaller cities are implementing smart city technology more incrementally. “It’s about Smart Cities objects, and the deployment of these objects in the existing urban environment,” she said. For example, solar powered benches with charging ports for your devices, or smart trash cans that tell garbage collectors when it’s time to make a pick up.

Panelists also posed the question, how do we begin to think about inclusive innovation? Carl DiSalvo, associate professor in the School of Literature, Media and Communication asked, “How do we think about ways in which we can both design, and make use of technologies that are more equitable in who has access to them?” He believes the answer lies with a more even investment in urban innovation and an inclusive innovation approach.

Catherine Ross, Harry West professor in the School of City and Regional Planning and School of Civil and Environmental Engineering thinks a long term vision for making Atlanta the most equitable city should include disaster planning. “There’s some things that come to mind immediately, and they have to do with urban disasters, emergencies, climate change, all things we know we’ll have to be able to respond to,” she said.

The final panel of the day was “Making Atlanta the Most Sustainable and Resilient City in the U.S.” Panelists discussed what a successful marriage between smart and sustainable would look like. John Taylor, Frederick L. Olmsted Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering said one thing that’s missing is the openness of data. “It’s very difficult to get access to some of the data that we need in order to truly arrive at not just a sustainable, but a smart and sustainable city.”

One example is the energy being consumed in commercial or residential buildings. Having this data, said Taylor, could lead researchers to make predictions based on energy use. Panelists agreed that data should be open, scalable and interoperable.

The summit wrapped up with working groups where attendees exchanged ideas on topics related to smart cities and made plans for further discussion. Attendees then joined the Convergence Innovation Competition audience to experience student-led projects in Smart and Healthy Communities innovation.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563216503 2019-07-15 18:48:23 1570460371 2019-10-07 14:59:31 0 0 news On November 16th, IPaT invited the Georgia Tech community to attend the Georgia Tech Smart Cities Faculty Summit.

]]>
2016-12-14T00:00:00-05:00 2016-12-14T00:00:00-05:00 2016-12-14 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
<![CDATA[Watch the webcast (Requires GT login authentication)]]> <![CDATA[Download presentations]]>
<![CDATA[Former City of Pittsburgh Chief Innovation Officer Joins IPaT as Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation ]]> 27980 Debra Lam has joined Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) as the Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. Lam brings to Georgia Tech over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management. 

“Debra brings rich and unique experience in building partnerships between municipalities, companies, and universities,” said Steve Cross, Georgia Tech executive vice president for research. “We are proud to welcome her and look forward to her leadership as Georgia Tech continues to forge a path of innovation and next-generation planning and data analytics that will help transform cities throughout the world, including Atlanta, into smarter, more efficient places to live and work.”

Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Lam served as Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh where she led the City's developments in innovation, open data, and resilience; successfully creating and executing the City's first comprehensive plan on inclusive innovation. Lam led a series of major initiatives and programs including Pittsburgh Roadmap for Inclusive  Innovation and PGH Lab, a program bringing the City and local startup companies together. Lam was also instrumental in forging city-university partnerships. In 2015, she championed regional data center in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center provides technological and legal infrastructure to support research, analysis, decision-making, and community engagement.

During her service, Lam also expanded free public  Wi-Fi  across Pittsburgh, supported digital literacy and led civic engagement work including social media presence, public outreach, and thought leadership.

“We are thrilled to bring Debra Lam to Georgia Tech and welcome her leadership and expertise in Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation,” said Elizabeth Mynatt, executive director of IPaT. “Debra is known world wide and her perspective on how to integrate new technology innovations with meeting the societal needs of our cities and communities is key to Georgia Tech’s strategy. Inclusive innovation is a powerful concept that will lead us to exceed goals for smarter cities as we create more dynamic, entrepreneurial, sustainable and equitable communities overall.”

“We welcome Debra Lam to Atlanta and look forward to working with her on our smart cities initiatives,” said Samir Saini, Chief Information Officer for the City of Atlanta. “We are excited to work with Ms. Lam to further our partnership with Georgia Tech, bringing synergy to the Institute’s research projects and the City of Atlanta’s operational innovation projects, most notably the North Avenue Smart Corridor Project.”

Lam is a founding leader of the  MetroLab  Network and serves on their executive steering committee. She’s also a World Cities Summit Young Leader, a Leadership Pittsburgh alumni, and has spoken nationally and internationally on inclusive innovation, performance management, data-driven decision-making, and cultural change. Management Today named Lam to its “35 Women Under 35” list. She was also a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology.

"It is an honor to be a Yellow Jacket and join one of the world's leading research university," said Lam. "Georgia Tech's public mission, entrepreneurial spirit, and collaborative, interdisciplinary approach places them at the forefront of driving smart cities and inclusive innovation. I am excited to be part of the team."

Lam graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1485355254 2017-01-25 14:40:54 1570460314 2019-10-07 14:58:34 0 0 news Debra Lam has joined Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) as the Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation.

]]>
2017-01-25T00:00:00-05:00 2017-01-25T00:00:00-05:00 2017-01-25 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology

alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
<![CDATA[A Conversation With Martin O'Malley]]> 27980 As a former governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore, Martin O’Malley has a unique perspective on how cities and states operate. He’s now using that experience in his new role with MetroLab Network, a city-university collaborative for urban innovation. In 2015, Georgia Tech joined MetroLab as a founding member. In an interview with IPaT before speaking at Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square, O’Malley discusses three qualities of a successful city-university partnership and some of the challenges these collaborations can address.

Editor's note: This interview was edited for clarity.

IPaT: How are you collaborating with MetroLab?

Martin O'Malley: I’m the Chairman of the Advisory Board for MetroLab Network, which is a collaborative of 40 leading cities and their university partners that are all about research, development and deployment of smart cities solutions to big city challenges. One area we’ve focused on this year is sensors. With the internet of things and the technology of sensors, we’re able to see and to track not only the movement of traffic and pedestrians, but in cities like South Bend, Indiana, in partnership with Notre Dame, they’re installing sensors in their water infrastructures so that they can make it a much more dynamic system to reduce storm water pollution and facilitate the building of green infrastructure that allows our city streets to work with, and not against nature. Another area we’re working on is the use of big data for social good. In other words, how do we deliver better and more timely human services in order to heal vulnerable families and to save the lives of at-risk children? In our collaborative of 40 cities, there are multiple projects that are going on, and some of the most exciting ones are the ones that harness the power of universities in terms of their talent for research and development, and combines that with the ability that mayors have to deploy and test solutions very quickly with immediate feedback loops, rather than waiting three or four years to figure out if something is working. It’s governance by the iteration of better practices and better ideas, shared nationally across our network.

IPaT: What are your goals and vision for the future in your role with MetroLab?

MO: The goal with MetroLab Network is to scale up these solutions by learning from one another. Learning from what others have already tested and figuring out ahead of time what the barriers are that need to be overcome, whether it’s privacy concerns or technology solutions, these are the things that mayors really do very well. In fact, having been both a mayor and a governor, I can tell you that mayors learn a lot better from each other than governors do, and they learn more quickly, and they’re able to act more immediately.

IPaT: What does a successful city-university partnership look like?

MO: The successful city-university partnership is one where there’s a point person on both sides of the partnership that can access, at the highest levels, department heads and the talent that exists in both organizations. The second thing is that successful city-university partnerships must meet regularly around the projects that they’re working on, and the really good ones have at least two or three projects that they’re working on simultaneously. And finally, another hallmark of a healthy city-university partnership is where the level of trust is constantly fostered and developed. These collaborations don’t happen by themselves; the good city-university partnerships are figuring out ways to give them structure and to make sure that the mayor and the university president are both empowering their command staffs to work together, and communicating a clarity of intention. The intention being that the university and the cities partner, not only in research and development, but also deployment of real ideas and real solutions that can help real people.

IPaT: What are some of urban challenges that can be better addressed through city-university partnerships and why?

MO: For the first time in human history, more than 50-percent of us now live in cities. By some estimates, by 2050 that number will be 75-percent. So there’s the challenges of density, population, traffic, and everything that goes along with that. The use of land, water and energy – these are some huge challenges faced by cities. Also, urbanization can unwittingly bring about greater income inequality and separation of the very rich and the very poor. Cities play a critical role in bridging that divide and taking concrete actions that expand opportunity and safeguard the most vulnerable lives, who very often live in the hearts of our big cities. Smarter interventions, earlier interventions, and the use of big data can assure that no child slips through the cracks and that every person’s potential is realized to its fullest, whether that’s in workforce development programs, deployment of social services, or ensuring that the workforce can afford to live in our cities where the opportunities are becoming so concentrated.

IPaT: What did these partnerships look like when you were mayor, what do they look like now, and in the future?

MO: A lot of cities and their university partners have figured out how to partner around joint real estate development in that they create an array of housing and job opportunities near the university. Now that we’ve proven we can collaborate around brick and mortar real estate development, we need to take that same spirit of collaboration and put it to use solving big challenges that face us as a people not only in this country, but on the planet. And that is, how do we live in a more sustainable way? How do we improve security even as we face challenges with safety and the well-being of our citizens? Even as we face the challenge of density and income inequality?

IPaT: You've been recognized as having a data-driven approach to policy and administration. Why is this important?

MO: I found technology and information technology, governance by evidence and data, to be really critical to strengthening the common good of a city or of a state. This is a way of governing that is very different than the old way of governing, which was often times hierarchical and structured by command and control. Things got done on the basis of, ‘because I said so.’ This new way of governing is much more collaborative; it’s open and it’s transparent in ways that not only everyone in government can see, but in ways that all stakeholders – especially citizens – can see. Mayors are figuring out how to get things done and doing it in very entrepreneurial ways that improve public trust. And really, that’s the source of all power among a self-governed people, is the ability to trust one another; the ability to trust that our government sees us and recognizes us, is serving our family’s best interest.

IPaT: How do you think universities can motivate cities to have visions of inclusive innovation?

MO: One way that universities can spur the cities on is to figure out the mayor’s top challenges and priorities, and direct university research toward solving those problems. In the past, a university’s idea of a great research project is one that takes 20 years. A mayor’s idea of a great research project is one that takes two months, and allows the mayor to deploy a better solution to a vexing problem. 20-year research projects don’t cut it for things that mayors have to get done today. Universities can be a tremendous help by increasing the velocity of research and deployment, and the iterations that lead to better solutions. Cities aren’t going to be able to replace the sort of federal research dollars that appear to be in such grave jeopardy. But cities can provide a deployment platform; cities can help speed the iteration of new technology and new ideas so that they become commercialized.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1490312043 2017-03-23 23:34:03 1570460263 2019-10-07 14:57:43 0 0 news In an interview with IPaT before speaking at Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square, O’Malley discusses three qualities of a successful city-university partnership and some of the challenges these collaborations can address.

]]>
2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology

alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
589221 589221 image <![CDATA[Martin O'Malley]]> image/png 1490312009 2017-03-23 23:33:29 1490312009 2017-03-23 23:33:29
<![CDATA[Debra Lam Named a 2017 Top Woman in Technology by StateScoop]]> 27980 IPaT's Debra Lam has been named to StateScoop’s inaugural list of Top Women in Technology for 2017. StateScoop’s Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Jake Williams, made the announcement on March 17th.

"I am very grateful and thankful for the people who supported me," said Lam of the honor. "I am surprised, honored and humbled. I think it is a reflection of the support I've been given, but it's also an indication that I can do more," she continued.

StateScoop’s inaugural list of the Top Women in Technology for 2017 is an elite group of the women across the state and local government community who are infrequently recognized, but constantly working to improve government and the lives of those governed.

"We are thrilled to see Debra get the recognition she deserves for her important work," said Beth Mynatt, executive director of IPaT. "Her perspective on how to integrate new technology innovations with meeting the societal needs of our cities and communities is key to Georgia Tech's strategy," said Mynatt.

Lam was named IPaT’s Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Managing Director in January of 2017.

She has over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management, and previously served as Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. Lam is a founding leader of MetroLab  Network and serves on their executive steering committee.

She is also a World Cities Summit Young Leader, a Leadership Pittsburgh alumni, and has spoken nationally and internationally on inclusive innovation, performance management, data-driven decision-making, and cultural change.

Like Georgia Tech, Lam is committed to progress and innovation. Management Today named her to its “35 Women Under 35” list, and she was also a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology. 

Read the full list of Top Women in Technology for 2017, including an interview with Debra Lam.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1490312558 2017-03-23 23:42:38 1570460220 2019-10-07 14:57:00 0 0 news Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Managing Director Debra Lam has been named one of StateScoop's Top Women in Technology 2017.

]]>
2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology

alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
589223 589223 image <![CDATA[Debra Lam]]> image/jpeg 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36
<![CDATA[Convergence Innovation Competition Winners Announced]]> 27980 It was another great semester of student invention and innovation in the Spring 2017 Convergence Innovation Competition (CIC). The competition wrapped up on April 11th with a live demo and judging event for finalists hosted by IPaT and the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC). More than two dozen teams and 120 students participated in this semester’s CIC.

 

Technology for Social Good

Two of the winning CIC projects use the power of technology to create social change. Food for Thought is an app that connects businesses, non-profits, schools and individuals that have excess edible food to those who need it. App users have the option to either share, transport or request food, and can add images to their posts. “Brownie points” gamify the app and create a feel-good factor around sharing.

Approximately 40-percent of food in the U.S. is never eaten, making this country the world’s largest food waster. “You assume that because this is a first-world country, there’s enough food,” said Meghna Natraj, Georgia Tech master’s student in Computer Science. “Food’s being wasted; it’s not being channeled to the right sources.”

The Food for Thought team aims to have a final version finished by the end of April.


Another winning project in the same category uses technology to address gentrification of the area surrounding the Atlanta Beltline. “Concerns about creating a discriminatory environment, rather than universally-available resources are growing,” explained the team in their submission video.

The Beltline Display project envisions interactive experiences along the Beltline to promote connected and walkable communities. Utilizing big data, the team proposes creating technology-focused art pieces along the trail to educate users about their surroundings, neighbors and history of the area. The team’s goals are to promote social change, foster curiosity, and connect Atlanta communities.

 

Real-Time Information for Transit and More

It’s been nearly a month since fire engulfed part of I-85 causing it to collapse, and the Georgia Department of Transportation says it could take at least another seven weeks to repair the damage. In the meantime, commuters are exploring alternative means of transportation. The developers of MARTAnow say their app is the perfect use case for solving transit problems.

Even before the I-85 collapse, the team behind MARTAnow has been researching why some commuters are reluctant to use MARTA. They’re also trying to solve a larger issue in public transit called the first-mile/last-mile problem – getting people from their location to the bus stop, and from the bus stop to their final location.

“A bridge collapses and all of a sudden, hundreds of thousands of people can’t get to where they need to go,” said Amit Garg, Georgia Tech master’s student in Human-Computer Interaction. “Using our app, people can visualize other modes of transportation to get to their final destination, whether that’s ridesharing, through renting a bike, or using MARTA trains and buses.”

MARTAnow combines real-time MARTA schedules, walkability scores, and ridesharing into one easy-to-use transit app. MARTA is now working with Garg and his teammates to integrate the app into its ecosystem.


While they may not be working to solve something as complicated as transit issues, the creators of NowWhat are working to answer a question important to students – where’s the party?

“All of us Tech students have had this problem at one time or another,” explained Ryan Brooks, Georgia Tech Computer Science student.

NowWhat is a map interface app that allows you to see events happening around you in real time, get rides to those events, and see friends’ current locations. Information from different event sources is gathered in one app for ease of use.

“We’ve never had that one central location, to see on a map how far away something is and being able to visualize it in that way,” said Brooks.

The team will soon work on developing the app for iOS and Android.
 

Enhancing Medical Intervention

As many as 40% of people with autism never speak or have difficulty communicating verbally. Rapid Prompting Method, or RPM, was developed by a mother who wanted to teach her non-verbal autistic son to express himself. A group of Georgia Tech students has now found a way to enhance RPM using real-time data.

The process of RPM is simple: a teacher gives a short lesson on a topic, asks a question and then elicits a response using verbal, auditory, or visual prompts. The child will answer based on the teacher’s question by spelling out the letters written on a letterboard. The CIC project Responsive Letterboard for Autism Spectrum Disorder reinvents the board. When the child presses a letter, their selection is transferred to a web user interface in real time. This method allows teachers and clinicians to view the data, track a child’s progress and make improvements.

The team was inspired by their professor, Gregory Abowd, who has an autistic son. “That community of parents and technicians are really positive and helpful and they’re engaged in our research,” said Fereshteh Shahmiri, Georgia Tech Ph.D. student in Design Computing.

April is Autism Awareness Month.


One of the greatest threats to patient safety during an operation is surgical site infection. According to the CDC, in 2011 approximately 157,500 acute care hospital patients were diagnosed with infections.

“Healthcare professionals try their best to prevent this type of infection, but the increasing mortality of surgical site infections has forced professionals to consider every possible way in which the surgical environment can be controlled,” said Luka Antolic-Soban, Georgia Tech Computer Science student.

ORCA, or Operating Room Computer Asepsis System, is designed to help operating room professionals detect and prevent contamination during operations. The system has two components. One is a belt that goes underneath surgical scrubs to alert operating room staff when they violate protocol. The other uses a camera and infrared sensor to collect information about the operating room environment, such as the distance between personnel.

The ORCA team is collaborating with Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Atlanta to test the system. They've also been invited to participate in Georgia Tech's Startup Launch (formerly Startup Summer), a faculty-led, student-focused program to help student teams launch their startups.

Following the competition, teams are leveraging the feedback received and contacts made during the course of working on their CIC projects and showcasing them at the live judging event. They are debugging their apps, incorporating enhancements, pursuing partnerships, and learning more about entrepreneurship. This semester’s CIC categories were aligned with IPaT’s research priorities; here’s a full list of winning projects and teams:

Lifelong Health and Wellbeing
1st place – Operating Room Computer Asepsis System (ORCA)
Team: Luka Antolic-Soban, Jianming Zeng

2nd place – Responsive Letterboard for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Team: Anisha Bhandari, Geunbae Lee, Fereshteh Shahmiri, Vedant Das Swain

Smart Cities and Healthy Communities
1st place – NowWhat
Team: Ryan Brooks, Joan Chen, Will Christian, Aaron Parry, Brandi Van de Houten

2nd place – MARTAnow
Team: Vishal Bhatnagar, Prasenjeet Biswal, Amit Garg, Samyukta Sherugar

Socio-Technical Systems and Human-Technology Frontier Innovation
1st place – Food for Thought
Team: Akshay Agarwal, Luka Antolic-Soban, Satyajeet Gawas, Meghna Natraj

2nd place – Beltline Display
Team: Aparna Iyer, Jayanth Krishna, Meghana Melkote, Caity Taylor, Eric Thompson

VIEW: More photos from the Spring 2017 Convergence Innovation Competition

The CIC is a semester-long event dedicated to helping students create innovative and viable products and experiences with the support of campus resources and industry guidance. The competition is open to Georgia Tech students from every class and discipline. To learn more, or to find about partnership opportunities, visit cic.gatech.edu.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1493306371 2017-04-27 15:19:31 1570460192 2019-10-07 14:56:32 0 0 news Winning projects focus on technology for social good, transit, medical intervention and more.

]]>
2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology

alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
<![CDATA[IPaT Hosts Annual Industry Innovation Day in Tech Square]]> 27980 Hundreds of people, including business leaders, researchers, city officials, entrepreneurs, government and non-profit leaders and students, descended upon Tech Square as the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) hosted its annual Industry Innovation Day. The event serves to showcase research at IPaT and Georgia Tech as well as highlight the many avenues of collaboration. Industry Innovation Day builds on the success of the previous IPaT industry-oriented event, which IPaT hosted for five years, the People and Technology Forum.

“I think this may have been our best year yet. The depth of the conversations, people really dug into the topics quickly. They started to engage each other and challenge each other,” said IPaT Executive Director Elizabeth Mynatt. “To see the business connection where everyone is swapping cards and setting up meetings, this is what we want to do. We want to convene the conversation and we want to catalyze the partnership. I think it’s been a great day,” she continued.

Industry Innovation Day began with thought-provoking keynotes and panel discussions on this year’s theme of Digital Transformation. Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, and competencies to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind. Panelists examined the transformative impact and value of emerging tools, platforms and technologies, especially in the fields of healthcare and smart & connected communities. Plenary speaker Martin O'Malley, 61st Governor of Maryland and Senior Fellow of MetroLab Network, spoke to attendees about the impact Georgia Tech researchers will have in shaping the future of Atlanta and beyond.

“There’s really a tremendous strength for a city like Atlanta to be a able to tap into the people who know how to do all of those things that make governments operate not only smarter and efficiently, but also allows them recognize the dignity of every person,” said O’Malley.

After IPaT’s Industry Innovation Day concluded, attendees were treated to the GVU Center’s Research Showcase which featured more than 100 interactive projects that let them touch, control and imagine what technology will enable in the future.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1493315423 2017-04-27 17:50:23 1570460147 2019-10-07 14:55:47 0 0 news Hundreds of people, including business leaders, researchers, city officials, entrepreneurs, government and non-profit leaders and students, descended upon Tech Square as IPaT hosted its annual Industry Innovation Day. 

]]>
2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27 00:00:00 Ashton Pellom

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology / GTRI

ashton.pellom@gtri.gatech.edu

]]>
<![CDATA[Research happening in the GVU Center]]> <![CDATA[Industry Innovation Day photos]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech’s Serve-Learn-Sustain Hosts Conference on Smart, Connected Communities]]> 27980 The multi-site conference brought together participants from Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore and Lima via webcast to discuss this year’s theme of “Smart, Connected Communities.” IPaT and Civic Data Science co-hosted this year’s Atlanta conference with SLS. The goal of the conference was to discuss plans for working on Georgia Tech and Atlanta-based initiatives focused on data for sustainable communities that support collaboration among faculty, students and partners to enhance and expand teaching, research and action.

“It’s about people in conjunction with the environment. What does it mean to be a more connected community?” said Rafael Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Georgia Tech, and professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

After welcome addresses from Bras and SLS Director Jennifer Hirsch, participants explored the intersection of art and data, and sustainability in art. Atlanta-based new media artist Bojana Ginn presented some of her art projects that merge organic materials like wood and lamb’s wool with technology such as LED lights.

“As an artist, sometimes you have to be an engineer, and use nature in a new way,” explained Ginn during her presentation.

Ginn is also creating art from data. She’s working with the Atlanta Regional Commission to translate their environmental, health and transportation line graph data into an art installation.

Mike Carnathan, manager of the Research & Analytics Division of the Atlanta Regional Commission, continued the discussion on the topic of Data-Driven Decision Making. He said, “the possibilities of big data are limitless” and has the potential to change the world, but data alone is meaningless. Carnathan challenged participants to turn data into meaningful information and take action based on the results.

The Atlanta conference then joined other sites via webcast for a keynote from David Ludlow, associate professor of European Smart Cities for the University of the West of England Bristol. He offered insight into the experience of European smart city governance, research and innovation projects. Ludlow says the dynamic of social and technological innovation is defining a new smart city governance, responding to the complex challenges of urban planning and simultaneously disrupting the governance model in fundamental ways. Cities must shift from a top-down expertise model to more participatory engagement with all stakeholders, according to Ludlow.

During lunch, attendees participated in roundtable case study discussions on the topic of “Data in Action.” Facilitators from IPaT and the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC) led a discussion on the Campus as a Smart City, which explored the ongoing and future efforts to use the Tech campus as a testbed for smart cities research and innovation.

Day one of the conference wrapped up with sessions on empowerment and ownership of community research, and advancing equity through smart, connected communities. The conference’s second day focused on listener reports and working sessions.

To learn more about the conference, visit the Serve-Learn-Sustain website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1498657490 2017-06-28 13:44:50 1570460116 2019-10-07 14:55:16 0 0 news For the second year in a row, Georgia Tech’s Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain hosted a satellite conference as part of the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS).

]]>
2017-06-28T00:00:00-04:00 2017-06-28T00:00:00-04:00 2017-06-28 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology

alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech and the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. Launch Three-Year Partnership]]> 27980 On Friday, July 14th the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted a forum on sustainable mobility and smart cities, the first in a series of events planned as part of a three-year strategic partnership with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. (GACC South).

“This is not just a one off workshop; this is a long term engagement,” said Debra Lam, Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. “We set this up by leading with a foundation of [questions like] what are the major issues on the ground right here locally in Atlanta? Who are the players who are actively working in this space? What are they doing about it?”

The purpose of this partnership is to connect German and American organizations, companies and institutions that do work on sustainable mobility through targeted road show series in the Southern U.S. and delegation trips to Germany. The event was meant to spur future collaborations through an exchange of best practices, knowledge transfer, technology development, case studies and more.

“I think it was a great event,” said Michaela Schobert, Director of Consulting Services at the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. “People seemed very interested in the whole subject in general. Coming from Germany we have a huge history around how cities are structured and developed. Partnerships, like the one with Georgia Tech, are very important for us.”

The forum convened over 50 individuals from 30 different organizations and departments including Siemens, the City of Atlanta’s Office of Resilience, and the Georgia Public Service Commission.

“I think it’s important that Georgia Tech brings these groups together,” said John Franklin, Executive Director of Transportation for the Atlanta Public Schools. “Networking today and listening to other people that are working in the same realm, albeit in a different community or different organization, we’re getting together and I think that is time well spent.”

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563215093 2019-07-15 18:24:53 1570460078 2019-10-07 14:54:38 0 0 news On Friday, July 14th the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted a forum on sustainable mobility and smart cities.

]]>
2017-07-31T00:00:00-04:00 2017-07-31T00:00:00-04:00 2017-07-31 00:00:00
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Convenes Current and Next Generation Thought Leaders in Smart Communities Workshop]]> 27980 On July 21st 2017 at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) offices, Georgia Institute of Technology—in partnership with ARC, Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), Georgia Centers for Innovation, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)—convened local governments, government associations, and industry and academic leaders for a half-day workshop to discuss the application of advanced technology for local government. Reframing so-called smart cities, the workshop exemplified and explored how real-time sensors, automated systems, and other intelligent infrastructures are applicable beyond major metropolitan governments and dense urban areas. The Smart Communities Workshop welcomed “mayors, city council members, city-county managers, specialists in IT, economic development, community development […] to think about, from their perspective, how to move […] forward,” explained Debra Lam, Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. The workshop drew more than 70 participants, including personnel from 20 city governments, eight county governments, three community improvement districts, and three US congressional districts. In total, the workshop accounted for local governments across almost one fifth of Georgia counties.

Cynthia Curry, Director of Internet of Things (IoT) Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, commented that the workshop was a “really is a great way to take smart cities technologies […] out to the rural community.” Mayor Dan Ponder of Donalsonville, GA—a city with a population just below 3,000 people—echoed Curry’s sentiment: “If there was such a thing as a rural smart city today, it would be out-of-date tomorrow.” With regards to the opportunity provided by the Smart Communities Workshop, Mayor Ponder continued, “This is a process where we can at least participate at the front-end of technology changes versus being the last one.” More than an emphasis on smart communities in rural settings, the workshop spurred conversation about smart community development in many different contexts.

The workshop featured a keynote from Sokwoo Rhee, Associate Director of Cyber-Physical Systems Program for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which focused on best practices and lessons from NIST’s Global Cities Teams Challenge. Participants also heard from a panel of Georgia-based thought-leaders comprised of Mayor Ponder, Lt. Keith Lingerfelt of the Gainesville Police Department, Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones of Georgia Tech, and Abe Kani, Gwinnett County CIO and Director of Information Technology Services. Kani reflected, “We have to understand what kind of a world we live in, and, as much as technology provides a great deal of convenience and opportunity, there are challenges.” Panelists touched on topics from citizen participation to public-private partnerships to deployment strategies.

Following the speakers were a series of small group activities, in which local government participants brainstormed proposals to pressing local issues and opportunities. Employing methods from design thinking, participants were led through a discovery process to understand what challenges might be best suited for smart community projects.

The Smart Communities Workshop is the first step in a larger initiative to launch a Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, a Georgia-wide peer-network and technical assistance program to support smart community projects with local governments. Attendees provided important insights into the scope and scale of such a challenge. “Getting folks from across the state to talk about smart communities really helps us calibrate to make sure we are working across our jurisdictional boundaries, “ commented Leslie Caceda, a transportation technologist with the ARC.

The Smart Community Workshop offered attendees a first glimpse of Georgia Tech’s fundamental role in offering guidance, direction, and technical expertise for smart community development, and attendees seemed eager for more. In closing comments, one workshop attendee asked, “When is round two?”

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214925 2019-07-15 18:22:05 1570460045 2019-10-07 14:54:05 0 0 news On July 21st 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology convened local governments, government associations, and industry and academic leaders for a half-day workshop to discuss the application of advanced technology for local government.

]]>
2017-08-04T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-04T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-04 00:00:00
<![CDATA[Researchers Present Smart City Work at Atlanta City Hall]]> 27980 Today at Atlanta City Hall, Georgia Tech will host the second installment of the 2017 Smart Cities Speaker Series. Once a month, researchers from IPaT's Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grant program present their interdisciplinary research to the City of Atlanta to gain valuable feedback on their work. 

“This is our inaugural Speaker Series between the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech and it’s an example of some of the really interesting research that we’re doing at Georgia Tech and its application to city-wide operations,” said Debra Lam, Georgia Tech’s Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation.

The speaker series kicked off in July with Georgia Tech researchers Christopher Le Dantec and Kari Watkins presenting their research on “Sensing Traffic Conditions to Model and Predict Rider Stress.” Watkins also discussed “Mobility as a Service.”

“The city can continue to do what it has done historically the same way, but by bringing this research capacity to bear, the city can do things smarter and better,” said Kirk Talbott, the City of Atlanta’s Executive Director for Smart Cities. “Helping the employees understand these new emerging solutions and research that’s coming out of Georgia Tech, there might be better ways to solve problems that we’ve struggled with for decades, so making them aware of what’s possible is very, very powerful.”

Earlier this year, IPaT awarded the first Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grants to provide funding to further interdisciplinary research within the area of Smart & Connected Communities. The result of the program will be new collections of smart city data that can be made available to the Georgia Tech research community and new prototypes for working with data.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214717 2019-07-15 18:18:37 1570459997 2019-10-07 14:53:17 0 0 news At Atlanta City Hall, Georgia Tech hosted the second installment of the 2017 Smart Cities Speaker Series.

]]>
2017-08-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-25 00:00:00 2017 Smart Cities Speaker Series Schedule

Friday, August 25th at 12 pm
Smart Cities Data Platform Development
Making Legacy Data Available and Accessible for the Smart City

Friday, September 29th at 12 pm
Developing a Robust Archive of Environmental Data to Support Smart Cities Initiatives
Toward Reality-Virtuality Integrated Smart Cities: Understanding Urban Scale Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Human Interactions Through a Reality Data-Rich Virtual Atlanta

Friday, December 1st at 12 pm
Stakeholder Engagement
Wind Speed and Acoustic Activity Extensions to the Tech Climate Network

]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Smart Cities Researchers Showcase Work at Experience SmartATL Event]]> 27980 On Friday, September 15, Georgia Tech researchers will participate in the city’s inaugural Experience SmartATL event at Ponce City Market. The event, which will run from 10am to 3pm, will showcase smart city projects and research being undertaken by various city departments, academic partners, and private companies in the Atlanta area.  

“Georgia Tech’s involvement in Experience SmartATL is another example of how we are working with the city to improve quality of life through smart technologies and systems,” said Georgia Tech’s Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation, Debra Lam.

Georgia Tech faculty and graduate students will be showcasing their work on a variety of topics ranging from crime detection to autonomous vehicles to distributed sensing networks. The projects will represent an interdisciplinary swath of fields including Human Computer Interactions, Literature, Media and Communication, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Architecture, and Urban Design. For detailed descriptions of the Georgia Tech projects being showcased at Experience SmartATL click here.

The event will be divided into two sessions, the first from 10am to 12pm and the second from 1pm to 3pm. The event is free and open to the public, however, registration is required for admittance. Register here.

For more information about the event please contact Janae Futrell at jfutrell@atlantaga.gov.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214231 2019-07-15 18:10:31 1570459937 2019-10-07 14:52:17 0 0 news On Friday, September 15, Georgia Tech researchers will participate in the city’s inaugural Experience SmartATL event at Ponce City Market.

]]>
2017-09-08T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-08T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-08 00:00:00
<![CDATA[Smart Data Revolution]]> 27980 Most cities are grappling with becoming truly smart, but they're making exciting progress. Testbeds and innovation districts have popped up across the country, and on a larger scale, cities are deploying sensors and cameras to collect information about our daily lives. They’re also tapping into the power of universities by working together on research projects that explore how data, technology, and policy changes can address urban challenges.

Georgia Tech recently expanded its smart cities efforts by joining the national MetroLab Network in 2016 and assembling a 20-plus member interdisciplinary faculty council co-chaired by Gisele Bennett, Georgia Tech’s associate vice president for research, Faculty Interaction, and Beth Mynatt, executive director of the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT).

"Creating smart cities is a true interdisciplinary challenge on an exponential scale," said Mynatt. "It's important that we pull together the breadth and depth of Georgia Tech's expertise in this area to meet local, national and international needs."

The Institute is pairing the council with a number of key partnerships, including the City of Atlanta, and a three-year strategic partnership with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. (GACC South) which will help connect organizations that work on sustainable mobility issues in the U.S. and abroad. A new Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation website provides a comprehensive summary of these key partnerships, projects, and data sets.

"Smart cities remains an evolving area with unexplored technical and social frontier," said Debra Lam, managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. "It can't be successfully deployed by any single entity and it is vital that partnerships are pursued and developed to further the research applications and broaden the impact, to ensure that the beneficiaries are the people and communities at large. The research at Georgia Tech reflects that wider reach."

Georgia Tech’s smart cities initiative extends to research projects from diverse disciplines across campus. Faculty researchers are gathering data about safety, how people travel, and even how taxpayer money is spent, all in an effort to improve the quality of life for residents.

Connecting Crimes

Late last year, Yao Xie, assistant professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, began working with the Atlanta Police Department to test an algorithm that finds connections between crime incidents. The algorithm examines both structured data captured by 911 operators — the type of crime, and when and where it happened — and unstructured, or free text data. This type of data is gathered by police officers at the scene of the crime and includes detailed, narrative descriptions from the officer, victims, and witnesses.

The tricky part for police investigators is manually analyzing thousands upon thousands of reports — including new reports that are coming in every day — to find patterns between cases, which could help solve serial crimes. It’s an impossible task. Xie’s algorithm automates this process by dissecting incident reports and learning the similarities between words and common patterns in how crimes occurred. It has to be smart enough to recognize that two or more crimes could be related.

“This is an artificial intelligence way of processing police reports,” said Xie. “It’s a way of investigating cases much faster, and more effectively.”

The Atlanta Police Department provided three years of data to process, more than 24,000 cases. The algorithm analyzed that data within hours.

“Our partnership with Georgia Tech has the potential to truly transform the speed and manner in which we currently analyze crime data,” said former Atlanta Police Department Sergeant Frank Ruben, who is now with the city’s Atlanta Information Management department. “The ability this gives our investigators to proactively compare notes and identify trends will aid tremendously in furthering Chief Erika Shields’ priority of reducing violent crime through innovative technology.”

There are challenges with this method, explained Xie, including typos, grammatically incorrect sentences, and differences in how individual officers write their reports. “The reports are very different from one to the next; in fact, they’re never the same. The algorithm has to be robust enough to see errors.”

Xie is receiving financial support for her research from the Atlanta Police Foundation. She’s now working to integrate the algorithm into the North Avenue Smart Corridor and pull in crime sensor data.

Smarter Travel

The City of Atlanta with its partners, including Georgia Tech, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and many others, will officially unveil the North Avenue project on September 14th. The corridor stretches between Midtown and Downtown Atlanta and features cameras that monitor traffic and public safety, data-collecting road sensors and modern, adaptive traffic lights that exchange information with each other and vehicles traveling along North Avenue. The City will also demonstrate a semi-autonomous vehicle guided by sensors installed along the route. 

“The corridor is intended to demonstrate all of the ways that technology can connect us, in particular from a transportation perspective," said Faye DiMassimo, general manager of Renew Atlanta. "In some way, shape or form, all of the technology features of the corridor contribute to a safer experience as well as enhanced mobility.”

Georgia Tech will leverage the integrated smart technology and data to better understand traffic operations along the corridor, ultimately providing feedback to improve system efficiency. "There’s no substitute for the great, robust evaluation that Georgia Tech is going to provide as we measure the performance of the corridor,” said DiMassimo.

Currently, most smart city traffic research focuses on travel time because it’s a challenge that drivers experience every day. One piece that’s missing according to Michael Hunter, associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is energy use and emissions. He’s using smart technology data collected from connected vehicles, road sensors, and other sources to understand the impact of traffic signal timing and driver behavior on energy use and emissions, leading to more efficient signal control and driving decisions. “On any one car that may only be a small number of gallons saved. However, when you look at that day after day over a year you might start seeing some significant energy savings.”

In addition to analyzing the North Avenue data, Randall Guensler, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading an effort within the project that is collecting data through an app they developed called Commute Warrior. It runs in the background of the user’s smartphone and monitors walking, biking, vehicle trips and other travel activity. Researchers then use the data to study travel behavior, and app users can look back at their trips using a travel journal and interactive map interface.

Hunter and Guensler will utilize this trip data to advance the ability to improve signal timing and driver routing decisions during special events, like Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta United games. The goal is to provide more predictive information and incentivize a change in drivers’ behavior. “If you leave 15 minutes later or a half hour earlier, what would be the difference in energy use, emissions, or travel time?” 

Hunter says data-gathering and analyzation are about people and changing their lives for the better. “All the detection in the world, who cares if you’re not turning it into something actionable? We’re gathering data, but how do we use that data to improve the quality of life?”


Unlocking City Data

What good is data if it can’t be easily accessed? And what can data from 10 or even 20 years ago tell us? These are the questions behind Thomas Lodato and Jennifer Clark's research. They’re examining aging or obsolete legacy systems that house budget and spending data for the City of Atlanta, digitizing the data, and migrating it to a more sustainable system. The data spans two decades starting in 1996. The researchers are also looking at how existing or older systems sync with new ones.

“All the discussion about smart cities tends to be about these emerging, new technologies, real-time sensors and partnerships with applications that are providing data,” said Lodato, a research scientist with IPaT and the Center for Urban Innovation. “There’s this wealth of other data that exists that’s embedded in some sort of legacy system.”

Although older budgets are currently available to the public on the City of Atlanta website, they’re in a format that makes it difficult to extract data. The unlocked data, even from 20 years ago, can provide insight into how city officials are spending taxpayer money and allow researchers to create visualizations that show trends over time.

“A city’s budget is about political promises. So when someone asks, ‘Where did my money go?’ we can compare, longitudinally, promises that were set forth and whether or not they were kept,” explained Lodato. “A smart city is not just reconfiguring the technological landscape of a city. It’s also reconfiguring its institutional and political landscape.”

Lodato and Clark also want to understand the socio-technical aspects of data systems — how cities are maintaining them, and who’s maintaining them. They say it’s imperative that cities include systems maintenance in their long-term strategic plans.

"We're interested in the work behind the technology that's creating smart cities," said Clark, director of the Center for Urban Innovation and associate professor in the School of Public Policy. "That includes the work of making data meaningful to people living, working, and investing in cities. Smart cities research often focuses so much on the future of cities that the plans for data – collection, storage, systems architecture – are designed looking forward, not back. But for the data to be meaningful it must be able to speak to change over time. In our work, we focus on the importance of designing and planning for that integrated systems approach to smart cities."
 

IPaT provided one semester of funding for this project and five others through the Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grants program and is hosting a speaker series at Atlanta City Hall where grant recipients receive feedback on their work.


Photos by: Christopher Moore
Graphics by: Raul Perez

]]> Alyson Key 1 1505329714 2017-09-13 19:08:34 1570459875 2019-10-07 14:51:15 0 0 news For decades, cities have used data to solve critical problems; advances in technology are now enhancing their efforts.

]]>
2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology

alyson.powell@ipat.gatech.edu

]]>
595901 595900 595903 595901 image <![CDATA[Jennifer Clark and Thomas Lodato]]> image/jpeg 1505330057 2017-09-13 19:14:17 1505330104 2017-09-13 19:15:04 595900 image <![CDATA[Yao Xie]]> image/jpeg 1505329798 2017-09-13 19:09:58 1505329798 2017-09-13 19:09:58 595903 image <![CDATA[Michael Hunter]]> image/jpeg 1505330176 2017-09-13 19:16:16 1505330176 2017-09-13 19:16:16
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech faculty and staff speaking at ARC’s ConnectATL Summit]]> 27980 On Friday, September 22, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will host ConnectATL, a day-long summit bringing together city and county government officials, local transportation experts, and mobility industry leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges brought about by rapid advancements in transportation technology.

"The anticipated changes to mobility are bound to be some of the most transformative innovations of our lives,” said Doug Hooker, Executive Director of ARC. “This conference will spark our thinking around how we can support both a seamless transition of technologies and continued innovation within the Atlanta region.”

The keynote speaker for the Summit will be Andrew Ginther, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio, winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s $50 million Smart City Challenge. Breakout sessions will be organized around the goals of the Atlanta Region’s Plan, ARC’s long-range blueprint for securing metro Atlanta’s future by providing world-class infrastructure, building a competitive economy, and fostering healthy, livable communities.

Panelists will include Ellen Dunham-Jones, Director of Georgia Tech’s Master of Science in Urban Design and Debra Lam, Georgia Tech’s Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. Jennifer Clark, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Associate Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation will be moderating a panel.

“Transportation technology is evolving rapidly and it’s vital that we understand how these changes will affect the way we design, manage and live in cities,” Lam said. “Smart transportation is not only about deploying the best and latest technology, but also ensuring that it is accessible to everyone.”

The Summit will take place at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center starting at 8:30am and ending at 6pm on Friday.

To learn more about this event and register please visit www.ConnectATL.org. Georgia Tech faculty, staff and students qualify for a discounted registration, FMI email Kristi Kirkland at kristi.kirkland@ti.gatech.edu. Volunteers are admitted free of charge, click here to sign up to volunteer. Registration tickets are still available via this link.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214004 2019-07-15 18:06:44 1570459845 2019-10-07 14:50:45 0 0 news On Friday, September 22, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will host ConnectATL, a day-long summit bringing together city and county government officials, local transportation experts, and mobility industry leaders.

]]>
2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13 00:00:00
<![CDATA[IPaT Spotlight: Debra Lam]]> 27980 When Debra Lam joined Georgia Tech in January, she hit the ground running. Within the first few months of becoming the Institute’s managing director of its newly-created smart cities and inclusive innovation initiative, she developed meaningful partnerships at the campus, local, national and even international levels. Lam has brought together Georgia Tech researchers and smart city leaders with workshops, and a smart city speaker series where researchers present their work for feedback at Atlanta City Hall. She’s also helping to organize the upcoming MetroLab Summit, hosted for the first time in Atlanta.

Although she’s new to Georgia Tech, Lam has over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management. She previously led the City of Pittsburgh's developments in innovation, open data, and resilience, successfully creating and executing the city's first comprehensive plan on inclusive innovation.

In an interview with IPaT, Lam talks about taking smart city testbeds to the next level and how to engage the people who live and work in Atlanta.

Editor’s note: This interview is lightly edited.

IPaT: You’ve previously discussed how, currently, there’s no smart city. Why not, and what will the first truly smart city look like?

Debra Lam: There are testbeds, demonstration areas, and innovation districts, but there isn’t an actual smart city. I think the big, next phase for the smart city ecosystem is how to move beyond the testbed. What is this level of success or performance metric that allows us to move beyond the testbed into a full smart city? There are areas and cities that are super close and more advanced, particularly in Asia. But they’ve had certain advantages in terms of building a city from scratch or having very strong centralized government control to move forward, so they’ve been able to showcase a lot of success. But I don’t think we’re at smart city yet, certainly not an inclusive smart city. 

IPaT: What else does a smart city consist of besides technology?

DL: A smart city is really about improving the quality of life and using technology and data to facilitate that. This is very explicit in terms of the application and usage and institutionalization of it. It’s not just buying a bunch of technology and calling a city smart. It’s really how you use the technology, who uses the technology and how does that technology change or improve the quality of life or decision-making.

IPaT: How can cities put residents’ needs first when adopting smart city initiatives?

DL: Engaging them from the start, rather than at the end. How do residents see the technology? How do they the city applying the technology? What do they think about it? Getting their feedback, making sure that they understand not only the advantages but the risks that are involved in these changes. 

IPaT: Should residents be concerned about privacy when it comes to smart city technology?

DL: When it comes to technology privacy unless you live in a box with no technology and you're not connected to anything, there's always a risk. That's just unavoidable. Just by having a cell phone and having a contract with a provider means that your information is being collected. I think it's naïve for anyone to say, “this is 100% guaranteed security.” I think it’s important to be open and transparent about that. We make meaningful choices each and every day of whether to accept that risk because the benefits outweigh the risk. Or the risks are tiny enough that they're not that valid. Now with all this, it's certainly important to think about security and privacy and to be open with citizens and to understand some of those risks and then take precautions to minimize them. Georgia Tech is collecting data for research and development purposes and has very strict protocols on confidentiality, classification, and security. As a public institution, we’re not driven by the same profit motivations as others.

IPaT: What is your smart city vision for Atlanta and how can Georgia Tech continue to be a leader in this effort?

DL: Atlanta is one of the leaders in the U.S. around smart cities, and it’s really great that there is energy and hunger to move forward. Georgia Tech is unique in terms of understanding the vision of smart cities, components like data and technology, and the application of those components. So that unique combination produces a sweet spot for us to contribute in this larger smart city ecosystem, and we have proven to be a critical player and leader. We certainly can’t be the only player, nor do we expect to be, so at the end of the day it’s a broad coalition of people that includes Georgia Tech. But it’s exciting that we’re on the forefront of this space.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214137 2019-07-15 18:08:57 1570459808 2019-10-07 14:50:08 0 0 news Georgia Tech’s managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation discusses how Atlanta and Georgia Tech can advance smart city initiatives and put residents’ needs first.

]]>
2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
589223 589223 image <![CDATA[Debra Lam]]> image/jpeg 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36
<![CDATA[City of Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology Launch North Avenue Smart Corridor Project]]> 27980 On Thursday, September 14, the City of Atlanta launched the North Avenue Smart Corridor. The approximately $3 million project is being funded by the RENEW Atlanta bond and is receiving technical support from Together for Safer Roads, a coalition of global private sector companies, across industries, collaborating to improve road safety.

“The North Avenue Smart Corridor really is a game changer for the City of Atlanta,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “When it’s complete it will connect many vital institutions, companies, and facilities with new smart city technology on the major east-west corridor. Through projects of this scope, Atlanta will become a national leader in the smart cities movement.”

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson joined Mayor Reed on stage and spoke about the importance of this city-university partnership.

“We’ve got a lot of really smart people at Georgia Tech and because of the Mayor’s initiative and RENEW Atlanta we’re able to get those people and the expertise they have and then connect that with real-world problems here in Atlanta,” said Peterson.

As the City’s official research partner on this project, Georgia Tech is helping develop, deploy and evaluate smart technologies aimed at improving public safety, environmental health and traffic congestion along the corridor.

“Georgia Tech has been an invaluable partner,” said Faye DiMassimo, general manager of RENEW Atlanta. “Georgia Tech has helped us assess the technologies that we were considering for deployment along the corridor and they’re also going to be here for the longer term to help evaluate the success of those.”

Mike Hunter, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading Georgia Tech’s work along North Avenue.

“The direct impact of the Georgia Tech project is going to be on quality of life,” said Hunter. “If we can reduce emissions, we can reduce pollution in the city [while reducing peoples’] gas mileage.”

The event included informational booths showcasing companies currently involved in the North Avenue Smart Corridor and others who are hoping to get involved in the future. Applied Information, a metro Atlanta-based company, is the partner providing all of the connected vehicle infrastructure for the corridor. The event also showcased an autonomous shuttle bus from Transdev, which circled the event on a closed loop.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563213693 2019-07-15 18:01:33 1570459716 2019-10-07 14:48:36 0 0 news On Thursday, September 14, the City of Atlanta launched the North Avenue Smart Corridor.

]]>
2017-09-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-25 00:00:00 623357 623357 image <![CDATA[North Avenue Smart Corridor Launch]]> image/jpeg 1563213586 2019-07-15 17:59:46 1563213586 2019-07-15 17:59:46
<![CDATA[Capturing the Wind]]> 27980 At the corner of Fifth and Spring Streets in Tech Square, attached to a light pole, is a small sensor you’ve likely never noticed. It’s constantly monitoring environmental conditions in the area—temperature, air pressure, and humidity—and collecting and storing data. By the end of the year, a new environmental sensing device with a suite of measuring instruments will join it.

“This one will be a little more flashy because the interior portion will spin with the wind, so it may catch a few more eyes,” explained Noah Posner, research scientist with the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization and the IMAGINE Lab, who is part of the team that designed and built the open-source sensor device.

The new, more feature-rich sensor will gather data on wind speed and direction, light, and possibly even sound. It will be integrated into an existing network of 24 sensors across campus called the Georgia Tech Climate Network. The goal of the network, established by the Urban Climate Lab, is to “identify the location of hot spots, measure the impact of ongoing development on micro-climatic conditions, and assess how the use of vegetation and cool materials around campus can moderate warming trends,” according to the lab’s website.

While the existing sensors run on coin cell batteries, which researchers change manually, the new sensor is solar-powered. It collects data in real-time and periodically transmits the data using a long range, low power wireless platform called LoRa.

"The primary intention of this project is to provide an open platform of spatially distributed environmental sensors," said Matthew Swarts, project team member and senior research faculty in the College of Design. "This allows students and faculty to more easily explore and test novel algorithms for sensing human activity at the urban scale."

The 8-inch-wide carousel-shaped sensor is made of PETG, a tough, UV-resistant plastic commonly used to make food containers. Using the plastic, researchers can easily and inexpensively fabricate the sensor enclosure in small quantities. They’ll deploy the first sensor by the end of December, and 19 more by next spring.

This research is part of the IPaT Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grant program. The grants provide funding for one semester to further data-centric, interdisciplinary research in the area of Smart & Connected Communities. Learn more about the project on Friday, December 1 at the Smart Cities Speaker Series at Atlanta City Hall.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1511986692 2017-11-29 20:18:12 1570459670 2019-10-07 14:47:50 0 0 news New sensors will gather wind speed data, and more, to better understand micro-climates.

]]>
2017-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2017-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2017-11-29 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
557991 557991 image <![CDATA[Matthew Swarts 2016]]> image/jpeg 1470160556 2016-08-02 17:55:56 1475895361 2016-10-08 02:56:01
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Hosts Annual MetroLab Network Summit]]> 27980 Last week Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta co-hosted the Annual MetroLab Network Summit, which brought together more than 150 leading representatives from local government, major research universities, and relevant industry and nonprofit professionals for a two-and-a-half-day summit.

MetroLab Network is a group of more than 35 city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics, and innovation to city government. The Network’s mission is to pair university researchers with city policymakers to undertake research, development, and deployment projects that improve our infrastructure, public services, and environmental sustainability.

The 2017 Summit was an opportunity for attendees to share, discuss, collaborate, and present their ideas and innovations in urban technology. Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President of Research, Steve Cross, and President G.P. “Bud” Peterson kicked off the Summit on Wednesday morning by welcoming the participants to Atlanta.

Following the morning keynotes, SCII Managing Director, Debra Lam, moderated a panel on creating a culture of innovation with South Bend, Ind. Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, former Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, and former Mayor of Indianapolis, Stephen Goldsmith. The panel highlighted the importance of cities leveraging the resources that universities and colleges provide when it comes to urban innovation and smart city growth.

Throughout the next day and a half, Georgia Tech faculty and researchers from various departments sat on panels, led breakout sessions, and presented their work to improve the way cities operate and are experienced.

Dr. Amanda Meng spoke about her work with Westside communities build a local environmental data repository. Professor Chris Le Dantec participated in a breakout discussion about meaningful citizen engagement in data and R&D projects. Professor Ellen Zegura provided insights into effective student participation in applied research. Professor and lawyer Peter Swire presented his work on privacy and smart cities technologies. And lawyer Jesse Woo discussed the future of privacy and open data.

For videos of the presentations and more information about MetroLab check out the Summit website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563210918 2019-07-15 17:15:18 1570459619 2019-10-07 14:46:59 0 0 news Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta co-hosted the Annual MetroLab Network Summit, which brought together more than 150 leading representatives from local government, major research universities, and relevant industry and nonprofit professionals.

]]>
2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19 00:00:00 623341 623340 623341 image <![CDATA[MetroLab Network Summit]]> image/jpeg 1563210766 2019-07-15 17:12:46 1563210766 2019-07-15 17:12:46 623340 image <![CDATA[MetroLab Network Summit]]> image/jpeg 1563210717 2019-07-15 17:11:57 1563210717 2019-07-15 17:11:57
<![CDATA[Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy Launch]]> 27980 Open data is a key ingredient in smart cities. It has the ability, when deployed well and supported properly, to increase government transparency, citizen participation, and economic innovation and growth. Researchers at Georgia Tech are exploring how open data supports smart governance, looking specifically at its use in the creation and implementation of local energy efficiency policies and programs.

The research project, Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy, was officially launched last week at an event that brought together energy, data and urban governance experts from around the world to share their own insights and learn about Atlanta’s efforts to increase energy efficiency. Local expert speakers at the event included the GreenLink Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Xiaojing Sun, Atlanta’s Energy Programs Manager, Megan O’Neil, and Southface Energy Institute’s program coordinator, Mary Howard.

Having already investigated the work that goes into wrangling data and designing the smart city, this project will explore real-life examples of data-driven energy policy in the Southeastern U.S. in order to better understand the processes that lead from indirect efficiency programs to more formal energy policies at the city-scale.

The project is led by researchers at Georgia Tech's Center for Urban Innovation and Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation initiative in partnership with local public officials and experts from throughout the Southeast. It is funded by Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute's Energy Policy and Innovation Center (EPICenter), which is committed to understanding the processes behind and the approaches to data-driven and evidence-based policymaking.

This project is expected to yield insights into the various processes and strategies that are employed to support adoption and implementation of city-scale energy efficiency initiatives, the ways in which data are being used to support the creation and adoption of local energy efficiency policies, and ultimately how such data can be used to advance broader smart city goals.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563211257 2019-07-15 17:20:57 1570459580 2019-10-07 14:46:20 0 0 news Researchers at Georgia Tech are exploring how open data supports smart governance.

]]>
2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19 00:00:00 623343 623344 623343 image <![CDATA[Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy]]> image/jpeg 1563211078 2019-07-15 17:17:58 1563211078 2019-07-15 17:17:58 623344 image <![CDATA[Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy]]> image/jpeg 1563211102 2019-07-15 17:18:22 1563211102 2019-07-15 17:18:22
<![CDATA[IPaT Executive Director Participates in Congressional Briefing on Intelligent Infrastructure Research]]> 27980 On January 30, Elizabeth Mynatt, distinguished professor and executive director of the Institute for People and Technology at Georgia Tech, co-organized and presented at a U.S. congressional briefing on intelligent infrastructure in Washington, D.C. The Computing Research Association sponsored the briefing, along with honorary co-hosts Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

As the closing speaker, Mynatt described three key gaps that could prevent communities from reaping the economic rewards of infrastructure investments: productive access to broadband capabilities, innovative systems for effective training and job creation, and forward-looking data platforms and policies to spur open innovation. Dan Lopresti, professor and chair of the computer science and engineering department at Lehigh University, moderated the panel. Other panelists included:

Henning Schulzrinne, professor of computer science at Columbia University and former chief technology officer for the Federal Communications Commission, who discussed the need for resiliency and adaptability and the ability of the intelligent infrastructure to cope with extreme or unexpected circumstances.

Matthew Wansley, general counsel of nuTonomy, a startup focused on developing technologies for driverless vehicles. He talked about the need for robustness and interoperability and bringing together the data from large numbers of independent sensing systems to achieve shared common goals in realizing intelligent transportation systems.

Nadya Bliss, director of the Global Security Initiative at Arizona State University, who explained the need for security and trustworthiness. She said the transition to intelligent infrastructure allows us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build in security and reliability from the start.

Read more about the briefing on the Computing Research Association's website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1562954394 2019-07-12 17:59:54 1570459517 2019-10-07 14:45:17 0 0 news On January 30, Elizabeth Mynatt, distinguished professor and executive director of the Institute for People and Technology at Georgia Tech, co-organized and presented at a U.S. congressional briefing on intelligent infrastructure in Washington, D.C.

]]>
2018-01-31T00:00:00-05:00 2018-01-31T00:00:00-05:00 2018-01-31 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
623305 623305 image <![CDATA[Congressional Briefing on Intelligent Infrastructure]]> image/png 1562954181 2019-07-12 17:56:21 1562954181 2019-07-12 17:56:21
<![CDATA[Announcing: The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge]]> 27980 The Georgia Institute of Technology and its partners are excited to announce the launch of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (“Georgia Smart”), open to all communities in Georgia. Local Georgia governments of any size—cities, counties, or consolidated city-county governments—will lead selected teams. Georgia Smart will provide seed funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. A Georgia Tech researcher will assist and advise each team and conduct research in support of the community’s needs and goals.

Georgia Smart is the first program of its kind in the United States, bringing together an unprecedented coalition of university, industry, and public sector partners to support local governments in adopting cutting-edge technologies in their communities. The program is also unique in that it extends beyond large cities to smaller communities whose voices have not been as prominent in smart community development and who may not have access to technology resources.

“We’ve spent the past year in workshops and dialogue with local governments across Georgia to better understand their challenges and priorities. From these communications, we developed a program that is sensitive to the local context while fast-tracking smart communities. We aim to create more models for smart development that can be shared and applied across the state and beyond,” said Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Smart is seeking proposals in the areas of smart mobility and smart resilience. Each of the four winning teams will receive direct grant funding of up to $50,000, as well as additional funds for research and technical assistance with a required local match. Georgia Tech and its partners will then work with the winning teams throughout the year on implementing their proposals, creating four testbeds of smart community development.

The program is organized by the Georgia Institute of Technology in partnership with Georgia Power (lead sponsor), Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC, funding sponsor), Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Centers for Innovation, Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).

“Smart community opportunities can help local governments and the whole region address issues such as social justice, mobility, economic development, and many other important areas,” said Doug Hooker, executive director, Atlanta Regional Commission. “Community initiatives can be more successful through collaborative, people-focused approaches, and those qualities are what make the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge an important effort for the region.”

“The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge is a great team effort that utilizes state expertise, technology and leadership to help communities compete in economic development,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Through our Centers of Innovation, we are able to work alongside many of our local and statewide economic development partners to make Georgia even more competitive and we believe that this challenge will certainly do just that.”

“Creating a better connected Georgia requires research and collaboration from many stakeholders across every layer of the public and private sector,” said Christine Primmer, strategic manager, Georgia Power Smart Cities initiative. “We are proud to be a leading partner in the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge as one component of our larger commitment to improving every community we serve while also building the future of energy with a more reliable and adaptive power grid.”

"TAG is proud to be supporting this great effort," said Larry K. Williams, president and CEO, Technology Association of Georgia. "This vital initiative significantly expands our state's ability to bring smart connectivity and leading-edge technologies to all of our communities—from urban hubs to neighborhoods to rural communities, creating next-generation links that can transform the way companies do business from any location and revolutionize the quality of life for all residents."

"The Smart Communities Challenge is a great way for communities of all sizes to start thinking about how they leverage their public, private, and non-profit assets towards preparing for the future,” said Chris Clark, CEO, Georgia Chamber. “Businesses are moving at a rapid pace and our public institutions can now use these same technologies to improve quality of life for citizens in every part of Georgia. We're excited to see the types of innovative ideas and initiatives that will come out of this challenge."

"The Georgia Municipal Association is excited about this opportunity for Georgia's cities to participate in the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge,” said Larry Hanson, executive director, Georgia Municipal Association. “It is imperative cities integrate data and technology solutions to tackle the challenges they face. The seed funding, technical assistance, and access to expert advice will lay the groundwork for the creation of smart communities across the state."

“ACCG is a proud supporter of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge and encourages county governments to participate in the initiative,” said Dave Wills, interim executive director, Association County Commissioners of Georgia. “This is an excellent opportunity for local governments to leverage funding and technical assistance to ignite smart community technology across the state.”

“The Metro Atlanta Chamber is proud to support Georgia Tech and the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge and thrilled to be one of the partners supporting this initiative,” said David Hartnett, Chief Economic Development Officer, Metro Atlanta Chamber. “We are honored to help bring smart city technologies to the rural areas of Georgia, helping to bridge the gap between cities and government and helping link local governments with cutting-edge university research.”

For more information about the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, including how to become a partner or submit a proposal, visit the Georgia Smart website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1562953917 2019-07-12 17:51:57 1570459474 2019-10-07 14:44:34 0 0 news The first statewide program to support local governments across Georgia with seed funding, technical assistance, and more as they plan and activate smart development.

]]>
2018-02-22T00:00:00-05:00 2018-02-22T00:00:00-05:00 2018-02-22 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
609527 609527 image <![CDATA[Georgia Smart Communities Challenge]]> image/jpeg 1533828250 2018-08-09 15:24:10 1533828250 2018-08-09 15:24:10
<![CDATA[Transitions in Regional Economic Development]]> 27980 The book, Transitions in Regional Economic Development, discusses “the uncertainties associated with the stalling of hyper-globalization and asks whether this creates opportunities for resurgent regional economies driven by local capabilities, resource efficiencies, and domestic production.”

In the book, the editors of Regional Studies—a leading international journal—and authors from universities around the world explore the shift in global power toward economies in the East, the impact of immigration on economies, and the consequences of urbanization. The book celebrates the 50th anniversary of Regional Studies, for which Jennifer Clark is an editor.

In an interview with IPaT, Clark reflects on the evolution of the field, and how the bid for Amazon’s new headquarters highlights an important economic development policy question for cities.

Editor’s note: This interview is lightly edited.

IPaT: What are some of the changes occurring in the development of cities and regions that the book outlines?

Jennifer Clark: The book highlights some of the big questions in regional policy and regional economic development like industrial transformation. The shift from manufacturing economies into service-based economies. What does that mean for jobs? What does that mean for wages and income? What does that mean for policy? How do you create economic development policies that support the ability of communities to support themselves? What kind of industries do you invest in?

If you think about something like the competition for the new Amazon headquarters, that sort of policy question is central here. Do you create subsidies to attract firms, or do you invest in place? For academics in regional economic development, all of the evidence that we have empirically shows that subsidies do not pay off.

IPaT: Why is that?

JC: The cities and regions which are creating economic development packages pay too high a price to firms in terms of concessions. It's also because cities undercut each other, which is part of what's going on with the Amazon bid right now. You get into a bidding war rather than an empirical analysis of what the cost-benefit analysis would be for what you're trying to attract. But it's also because firms often don't do what they say they're going to do, and there is no policy mechanism to hold them to it. So when firms say they'll bring 5,000 jobs, what ends up happening is they bring 2,500 jobs in the end. There are policy proposals, and there are people, including some of my colleagues, who advocate for things like clawback policies so that you get your subsidy back if the firm doesn't meet the promises that they make.

One of the most significant debates in economic development policy is the question of, would you be better off if you took that, say, $500 million and invested it in your schools, your K-12 system, in your transportation system? What if you just take $500 million, and instead of putting in a tax subsidy to an individual firm you put it into your universities for more Hope Scholarships? Wouldn't the companies still come because they want the talent? And what you did is you invested in your people as the attraction. So more and more what we're seeing is that investments in human capital pay off more than the investments in individual firms.

IPaT: The book also examines immigration from a European perspective and whether, according to the book’s description, immigrants “displace local workers and depress wages, or bring benefits in the form of know-how, new technology and investment.”

JC: Just like in the U.S., in the broader debate about cities and regions, immigration is a huge hot-button issue. In the U.K. there’s Brexit, in addition to the recession and what that means for the industrial composition of cities and regions. The question of who's doing the work, who's living in the cities and regions is a big question, as well as how you think about immigration policy from an economic perspective rather than a social, hot-button issue perspective.

In our research here in the U.S., we are consistently finding that 25 percent of the economy is people who are working in the formal economy and are working in jobs that don't have specific certifications and degrees. It's cooks; it's janitors, it's people who are part of what we are calling “the essential economy.” Those are the kinds of jobs that people who are immigrants and migrants often get, certainly when they first come because they usually don't have certifications, or whatever certifications they have are not recognized. If you do the economic analysis, it's a labor supply, labor demand question. If you decrease the labor supply by having more restrictive immigration policies, you have to be interested in paying a lot more for the work performed in that 25 percent in the essential economy as well as in specialized high-skilled occupations where immigrants are well represented.  This is what businesses and consumers are already experiencing in the U.K.

IPaT: How has the field of regional studies evolved over the past 50 years?

JC: Regional studies is an interdisciplinary field that includes economic geographers, urban planners, business, and management fields. We also have some people from economics and sociology, so it's a really broad field. The distinction, I think, is the focus on space; the idea that space is a variable in the analysis of economic activity and in the development of industrial strategies and public policy. The field is very prominent field internationally because it is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding place and the economy. It's very policy-influential because a lot of policymakers and politicians want to know, how is it that we're going to create jobs, create innovation? How do we move technology into the marketplace? The way I explain it is that economic geographers study the spatial distribution of the economy. Simply put, we know where money is made and where to make money.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1562953707 2019-07-12 17:48:27 1570459442 2019-10-07 14:44:02 0 0 news Jennifer Clark, associate professor of public policy at Georgia Tech, co-edits a new book on significant changes happening in the development of cities and regions.

]]>
2018-02-27T00:00:00-05:00 2018-02-27T00:00:00-05:00 2018-02-27 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
583031 583031 image <![CDATA[Jennifer Clark]]> image/jpeg 1477348569 2016-10-24 22:36:09 1477348569 2016-10-24 22:36:09
<![CDATA[Latest Mayors' Leadership Forum Focuses on Smart Community Planning]]> 27980 For a second time, Georgia Tech and the Georgia Municipal Association hosted the Georgia Mayors' Leadership Forum for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. While the first forum in November focused on understanding the basics of smart cities, the latest meeting asked the question: Now what?

Debra Lam, managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech, encouraged participants to ask themselves, “How do I apply [smart city practices] to my city? How do I empower my team to move forward?”

During his welcome address, Steve Swant, Georgia Tech’s executive vice president for Administration and Finance called smart city initiatives a challenging, yet collaborative effort at Georgia Tech. “Georgia Tech leads the infusion of technology in day-to-day operations because we have a desire and passion. Creating the next is what we strive to do.”

Mayors, Chief Information Officers, and other officials from cities and counties across Georgia learned about practical tools to help them translate smart city findings into their day-to-day operations.

Dmitri Mavris, director of the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), gave an overview of the Smart Campus Project, including a demonstration of FORESIGHT—a multilayered, interactive campus map that shows Georgia Tech as a “mini city” and highlights energy consumption, the age of buildings, and other useful data. Mavris said security is also a key component. “We’re trying to figure out how to get ahead of the system and identify vulnerabilities.”

Later in the day, forum attendees brainstormed how they could use the tool to support their own needs. They also talked about current smart initiatives in their communities – from street cameras and intelligent traffic lights to monitoring devices for flooding and bike trail traffic. Representatives from several Georgia cities and counties participated, including Athens-Clarke County, City of Albany, Columbus Consolidated Government, City of Gainsville, Macon-Bibb County, City of Savannah, and City of Warner Robins.

The morning wrapped up with 5-minute “Ignite Talks” on resilience efforts led by Georgia Tech. Kim Cobb, ADVANCE Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, discussed a new Institute-wide initiative—the Global Change Program, which creates opportunities for Georgia Tech faculty, students, and staff to design and implement solutions to problems at the intersection of environmental, social, and economic systems. While Mary Hallisey, senior director planning & operations, Strategic Energy Institute, outlined the Georgia Coastal and Marine Planner (GCAMP), a geospatial gateway to Georgia-specific maps, data, and resources relevant to coastal and marine planning.

After lunch, Chief Rob Connolly of the Georgia Tech Police Department led a lively discussion about the tools GTPD uses on campus, including street cameras, license plate recognition cameras, and a mobile surveillance unit called SkyCop. When asked about privacy concerns with 1,700 cameras across campus, Chief Connolly emphasized the importance of “using them wisely” and transparency with community partners.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1562951178 2019-07-12 17:06:18 1570459390 2019-10-07 14:43:10 0 0 news For a second time, Georgia Tech and the Georgia Municipal Association hosted the Georgia Mayors' Leadership Forum for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation.

]]>
2018-04-16T00:00:00-04:00 2018-04-16T00:00:00-04:00 2018-04-16 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
623297 623298 623296 623295 623297 image <![CDATA[Mayors' Leadership Forum]]> image/jpeg 1562950905 2019-07-12 17:01:45 1562950905 2019-07-12 17:01:45 623298 image <![CDATA[Mayors' Leadership Forum]]> image/jpeg 1562950962 2019-07-12 17:02:42 1562950962 2019-07-12 17:02:42 623296 image <![CDATA[Mayors' Leadership Forum]]> image/jpeg 1562950856 2019-07-12 17:00:56 1562950856 2019-07-12 17:00:56 623295 image <![CDATA[Mayors' Leadership Forum]]> image/jpeg 1562950772 2019-07-12 16:59:32 1562950798 2019-07-12 16:59:58
<![CDATA[Georgia Smart Hosts Fall Workshop]]> 27980 On Thursday, September 6th, 2018, Georgia Smart hosted over 85+ local government representatives, academic researchers, and industry representatives at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center for their Fall GA Smart Workshop. In June, GA Smart announced its inaugural four winning community teams. With Georgia Tech’s support of $50,000 in seed funding, networking opportunities, and access to additional research teams, the program offers a first-of-its-kind opportunity for communities to envision, explore, and plan for their “smart” future. The workshop was the first opportunity for the four teams to discuss their winning proposals.

Chaouki Abdallah, Executive Vice President for Research at Georgia Tech provided the introduction and welcome. Afterwards, keynote speaker, ESRI’s Urban Analytics Lead, Amen Ra Mashariki, discussed using urban analytics to move towards a smarter city remarking that a smart city is a one that uses data intelligently. His work on the New York City’s cooling towers Legionnaires' disease bacteria outbreak in 2015 highlighted that data is crucial for “government to learn from citizens.”

Workshop attendees were eager to hear from the four winning communities. First up was Chatham County’s team led by CEMA Coordinator, Randall Matthews and Georgia Tech’s Kim Cobb and Russ Clark who discussed how hurricanes Matthew and Irma highlighted the need for smart sea level tools for emergency planning and response. The City of Chamblee’s team led by Special Projects Manager Rebecca Keefer and Georgia Tech School of Architecture Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones addressed the future of shared autonomous vehicles. From the City of Albany, Chief Information Officer Steven Carter and Georgia Tech Assistant Professor of Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, Omar Isaac Asensio, discussed their winning proposal on housing data analytics and visualization. Lastly, Gwinnett County’s Deputy Director for Traffic Engineering at Department of Transportation, Tom Sever, and Georgia Tech Senior Research Engineer, Angshman Guin, examined the role of connected vehicles and traffic management.

The morning session also included a panel discussion on Smart Communities and Equity. Panelists included Faye DiMassimo, Specialist Leader of Deloitte Consulting; Marilyn Brown, Regents Professor of School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech; Odetta MacLeish-White, Managing Director of Transformation Alliance; Paul Vranicar, Chief Policy Officer of Atlanta Housing Authority; and moderator Stan Vangilder, Program Manager of Southern Company. The panelists outlined the role of equity when carrying out smart city projects.

Christopher Le Dantec, Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program at Georgia Tech, facilitated the afternoon session, leading the four winning communities in a three-part exercise on stakeholder maps, barriers and strategies, and engagement plans.

Georgia Smart is organized by the Georgia Institute of Technology in partnership with Georgia Power, Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), Georgia Centers for Innovation, Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Chamber, Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and the Global City Team Challenge.

For more information, please refer to the GA Smart website at: http://smartcities.gatech.edu/georgia-smart

]]> Alyson Key 1 1562875560 2019-07-11 20:06:00 1570459355 2019-10-07 14:42:35 0 0 news On Thursday, September 6th, 2018, Georgia Smart hosted over 85+ local government representatives, academic researchers, and industry representatives at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center for their Fall GA Smart Workshop.

]]>
2018-09-06T00:00:00-04:00 2018-09-06T00:00:00-04:00 2018-09-06 00:00:00 623251 623252 623251 image <![CDATA[Georgia Smart Fall Workshop]]> image/png 1562875339 2019-07-11 20:02:19 1562875339 2019-07-11 20:02:19 623252 image <![CDATA[Georgia Smart Fall Workshop]]> image/png 1562875387 2019-07-11 20:03:07 1562875387 2019-07-11 20:03:07
<![CDATA[One Year Later: North Avenue Smart Corridor]]> 27980 Just over a year ago in September 2017, the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech launched the North Avenue Smart Corridor. It’s the most connected corridor in Georgia and a living laboratory for traffic management through technology. The Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond is funding the approximately $3-million project and over the past year, the corridor has seen significant technology changes.

High definition video cameras mounted at approximately 20 intersections detect how many cars are on the road, how fast they’re going, and the number of occupants. Thermal cameras recognize pedestrians and give them priority over vehicles to safely cross intersections. And, a smartphone app connects pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists to smart city technology and each other, sending out safety warnings about impending red lights and other dangerous traffic situations.

According to Renew Atlanta, the technology is paying off; the corridor—stretching from Northside Drive to Freedom Parkway—has seen improved travel times and a 25-percent reduction in vehicle crashes. “Ultimately it’s improved safety for everyone,” said Keary Lord, deputy program manager, Renew Atlanta Bond and TSPLOST Programs. “When you’re able to reduce crashes, you’re certainly going to reduce injuries and fatalities at the same time. So, it’s the safety benefit that’s the most significant.”

Georgia Tech is the City’s official research partner on the North Avenue project. Michael Hunter, associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading Georgia Tech’s work on North Avenue and is developing a real-time model of the corridor. Sensors along the corridor connect to the model and send operation and vehicle location information to researchers and city officials. The goal: improve signal timing and energy use, and reduce emissions. “One of the major concepts of smart cities is this idea of turning data into actionable information. How do I take data and do something useful with it?” said Hunter.

Hunter and his colleagues have spent the past nine months building the model and getting all of the data streams to work together consistently. They’re now calibrating a working version of the model and preparing to integrate it into the corridor, taking into account varying traffic conditions. “You want to be able to respond dynamically and in real-time to traffic conditions,” said Hunter. “Monday is not the same as Tuesday is not the same as Wednesday.”

The next phase of the project is the introduction of an autonomous shuttle in early 2019 which will run a route along North Avenue and Ponce de Leon Avenue and have two stops—the North Avenue MARTA station and Ponce City Market, a popular destination in Midtown Atlanta. The City is also exploring other areas of Atlanta to deploy smart city technology; Campbellton Road is now the site of a smart transit corridor in partnership with MARTA.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1562874758 2019-07-11 19:52:38 1570459305 2019-10-07 14:41:45 0 0 news Just over a year ago in September 2017, the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech launched the North Avenue Smart Corridor. It’s the most connected corridor in Georgia and a living laboratory for traffic management through technology.

]]>
2018-10-29T00:00:00-04:00 2018-10-29T00:00:00-04:00 2018-10-29 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
<![CDATA[The Promise and Peril of Driverless Cars]]> 27980 What will the world look like when we’re no longer in the driver’s seat? Researchers, city officials, entrepreneurs, and journalists from across the country gathered at Georgia Tech on December 12 to examine this question. “How Driverless Cars Will Change the World,” hosted by Georgia Tech and Newsweek, looked at how autonomous vehicles (AVs) could change cities for the better or exacerbate our current problems, depending on how we prepare for the future.

After welcome remarks from Georgia Tech Executive Vice President for Research Chaouki Abdallah and Newsweek Global Editor in Chief Nancy Cooper, panelists discussed “The Promise of Driverless Cars.”

Subhrajit Guhathakurta, professor in the School of City and Regional Planning and director of the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization, is researching how cities would change if shared driverless vehicles became our primary mode of transportation. With thoughtful planning, he said, cities can repurpose unused parking spaces into bike lanes, sidewalks, green space, and affordable housing, and businesses can spread out across cities. Guhathakurta urged city planners to “take advantage of the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls.”

New technology also brings social and cultural change. The panel looked at how humans and AVs can co-exist, suggesting public awareness campaigns and driver’s education on how to interact with overly-cautious AVs.

“There’s a human intuition that’s not being fully addressed yet with technology; we need to address it on a very fundamental level,” said Debra Lam, managing director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. She called AVs “a tool in the larger transportation toolkit that should interact with current modes of transportation.”

The second panel of the day, "Heaven or Hell?" examined potential downsides of AVs. Will they worsen our transportation problems, and what can forward-thinking cities do now to ensure a successful driverless future?

All of the panelists agreed that shared AVs like shuttles and buses are preferred over privately owned driverless vehicles, which would accelerate global warming and increase traffic congestion. “There’s a lot of wasted space in urban environments,” said Kari Watkins, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

She encourages cities to redesign roads to give priority to shared AVs, and hold the owners of single—or zero—occupancy AVs financially accountable for how often they’re on the road.

Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor in the School of Architecture and author of the forthcoming book Retrofitting Case Studies, discussed socioeconomic factors related to AVs, saying cities should make public transit AVs accessible to all residents to prevent “an even more exacerbated divide between rich and poor.” She added, “AVs are not a silver bullet, but can make a difference if we plan appropriately.”

Newsweek’s December 14 cover story on driverless vehicles features interviews and op-eds from Dunham-Jones, Guhathakurta, Lam, Watkins, and School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Michael Hunter. Read more:

Will Driverless Cars Make Our Traffic Problems Worse?

How Autonomous Vehicles Will Transform Cities and Suburbs by Ending Traffic Jams, Parking Problems and Road Rage

How Autonomous Vehicles Could Transform the Demographics of U.S. Cities

]]> Alyson Key 1 1545060196 2018-12-17 15:23:16 1570459091 2019-10-07 14:38:11 0 0 news Georgia Tech and Newsweek host seminar on “How Driverless Cars Will Change the World”

]]>
2018-12-17T00:00:00-05:00 2018-12-17T00:00:00-05:00 2018-12-17 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
615482 615484 615482 image <![CDATA[Panel: "The Promise of Driverless Cars"]]> image/jpeg 1545060067 2018-12-17 15:21:07 1545060067 2018-12-17 15:21:07 615484 image <![CDATA[Panel: "Heaven or Hell?"]]> image/jpeg 1545060159 2018-12-17 15:22:39 1545060159 2018-12-17 15:22:39
<![CDATA[Chamblee Explores Development of a Shared Autonomous Shuttle]]> 27980 The history of the City of Chamblee, incorporated in 1908, is closely linked with the development and use of modern transportation in the United States.

In the early 20th century, the city sat at the crossroads of two rail lines—one for passengers traveling north to Charlotte, North Carolina, the other for goods and workers. By the 1940s, Chamblee’s Camp Gordon was the site of a training facility for Navy and Marine Corps aviators.

More recently, Chamblee has been exploring a mode of transportation that most cities haven’t adopted—shared autonomous vehicles or SAVs. City officials are partnering with Georgia Tech and design firms Stantec and CPL to launch a semi-autonomous shuttle in downtown Chamblee.

The project is part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, which brings together city and county officials and industry to implement smart technology projects. Georgia communities receive seed funding and technical assistance, while Georgia Tech researchers serve as advisors.

At a recent status meeting about the shuttle project, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson said the project is “a testament to the forward thinking in our community” and would give the city, which grew in population by over 40-percent between 2010 and 2017, another transportation option. A series of annexations to the north and south also significantly increased land area.

City officials are now discussing a potential shuttle route: a one-mile stretch on Peachtree Road between McGaw Drive at the Peachtree MARTA station and Broad Street near City Hall. The shuttle could operate for 10-hours a day, seven days a week with five stops along the way at frequently-visited shopping centers, entertainment districts, and employers. Due to regulations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for now, the shuttle would operate semi-autonomously with an onboard attendant in case of emergencies.

A second phase of the project could extend shuttle service further east to Assembly Yards, a mixed-use development under construction in Doraville.

Chamblee officials are currently evaluating shuttle vendors, and the city council will have to approve the plan.
 

Beyond the Technology

At the meeting, a discussion on best practices turned to passenger experience: How can a shared autonomous shuttle meet their needs?

Since Chamblee and Georgia Tech launched the SAV project nearly a year ago, the transportation landscape has changed. Electric scooters like Bird and Lime are becoming ubiquitous, traveling at the same maximum speed (18 miles per hour) as autonomous shuttles currently in use. Commuters also continue to use ride-share services, and Chamblee is constructing more bicycle and pedestrian paths. Like shuttles, each of these transportation options is touted as one of many solutions to bridging the first-mile/last-mile gap.

“We have a lot more competition,” said Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor in the School of Architecture and Chamblee’s research advisor on the SAV project.

She urged city officials to “jump years ahead” by creating a shuttle that adapts to various passengers, from kids going to soccer practice at Keswick Park to people enjoying the city’s bars and restaurants.

Putting passengers’ needs first will prevent the shuttle from becoming “a mode of last resort,” said  Zach Lancaster, a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture. He’s developing a best practices guide that considers Chamblee’s unique demographics, and how other cities have implemented passenger-focused SAVs – Singapore’s rapid charging stations and plush interiors that foster social interaction; Las Vegas’s shuttle attendants who double as city tour guides.

Chamblee is one of four Georgia cities and counties participating in the inaugural 2018 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. The program is now accepting applications for its second year; learn more at the Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1562872257 2019-07-11 19:10:57 1570458931 2019-10-07 14:35:31 0 0 news The city is partnering with Georgia Tech as part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge.

]]>
2019-02-08T00:00:00-05:00 2019-02-08T00:00:00-05:00 2019-02-08 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
623229 623222 623210 623229 image <![CDATA[Eric Clarkson]]> image/jpeg 1562871160 2019-07-11 18:52:40 1562871160 2019-07-11 18:52:40 623222 image <![CDATA[Christopher Le Dantec and Ellen Dunham Jones]]> image/jpeg 1562870779 2019-07-11 18:46:19 1562870779 2019-07-11 18:46:19 623210 image <![CDATA[Zach Lancaster]]> image/jpeg 1562869693 2019-07-11 18:28:13 1562869693 2019-07-11 18:28:13
<![CDATA[Georgia Smart Hosts Community Growth Workshop]]> 27980 A day-long workshop at the GTRI Conference Center in Midtown brought together local governments, government associations, industry, and academia to explore potential smart community initiatives as part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge.

Georgia Smart is a one year program that supports local governments of any size within the State of Georgia by providing grant funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. Successful applicants will leverage these resources to explore, study, and plan for the use, deployment, and integration of smart community technologies into their jurisdictions and operations. Teams partner with a Georgia Tech advisor who conducts research in support of the community’s goals.

During welcome remarks, Georgia Tech Executive Vice President for Research Chaouki Abdallah said, “Researchers have become true partners of these communities and show the power and potential of collaboration.” He thanked the four inaugural Georgia Smart communities for forging a path for future program participants and demonstrating “how the intersection of people and technology can foster smart community growth.”

Representatives of the four communities – the cities of Albany and Chamblee and Chatham and Gwinnett counties – along with their Georgia Tech research partners, presented an overview of their year-long projects:

Chatham County is designing, developing, and testing a pilot sensor network for measuring sea and inland waterway levels to inform government officials and other key stakeholders of flood risk during natural disasters and storms. Georgia Tech collaborators: School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, School of Computer Science, School of Electrical Engineering, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).

Gwinnett County is evaluating traffic management technologies for improved vehicle mobility, safety, and connectivity throughout the region. Georgia Tech collaborator: School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The City of Albany is developing an integrated portal from several government databases to drive efficiency and transparency throughout city government. Georgia Tech collaborator: School of Public Policy

The City of Chamblee is developing a shared autonomous vehicle feasibility study and concept plan to establish the framework for improving mobility and equity in the city. The project focuses on first/last mile connections to the Chamblee MARTA train station and surrounding region. Georgia Tech collaborator: School of Architecture

This summer, Georgia Tech undergraduate and graduate students will join the four communities as part of the newly-formed Georgia Smart Community Corps. The full-time, interdisciplinary fellowship is dedicated to creating livable and equitable communities through smart technology and data implementation.

A panel with representatives from Georgia Tech’s College of Design and School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), ULI Atlanta, AARP, and Georgia Chamber of Commerce discussed how smart communities can impact economic growth and how the smart cities conversation has evolved over the past five years.

In the afternoon, workshop attendees interested in learning about and applying for the 2019 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge participated in a hands-on proposal development workshop. Potential applicants can also learn more at an upcoming webinar on Thursday, April 11 at noon.

Proposals for the 2019 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge are due by Friday, May 3 at 5 pm; this year, Georgia Smart will once again sponsor up to four teams. Learn more at the Georgia Tech Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1554227143 2019-04-02 17:45:43 1570458884 2019-10-07 14:34:44 0 0 news The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge hosts a workshop to invite participants to apply for the 2019 program.

]]>
2019-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2019-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2019-04-02 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
619983 619984 619982 619981 619980 619983 image <![CDATA[Randall Matthews, emergency management coordinator for the Chatham Emergency Management Agency, shows a sensor used to measure sea and inland waterway levels.]]> image/jpeg 1554227412 2019-04-02 17:50:12 1554227412 2019-04-02 17:50:12 619984 image <![CDATA[Community Growth Panel at the Georgia Smart Community Growth Workshop]]> image/jpeg 1554227541 2019-04-02 17:52:21 1554227541 2019-04-02 17:52:21 619982 image <![CDATA[ Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor, School of Architecture]]> image/jpeg 1554227303 2019-04-02 17:48:23 1554227303 2019-04-02 17:48:23 619981 image <![CDATA[Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation]]> image/jpeg 1554227262 2019-04-02 17:47:42 1554227262 2019-04-02 17:47:42 619980 image <![CDATA[Angshuman Guin, senior research engineer, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering]]> image/jpeg 1554227214 2019-04-02 17:46:54 1554227214 2019-04-02 17:46:54
<![CDATA[Summer Programs for Students Support Smart Community Development]]> 27980 Students from Georgia Tech and universities across the country are participating in two summer programs to support local communities exploring smart technology and development.

The Civic Data Science (CDS) program supports a 10-week immersive research experience for undergraduate students interested in contributing to the field of data science. The focus of the program is data, analytics, and user interaction of data science in the civic sector, a research area that has not traditionally benefited from advances in computing.

This summer, ten students from universities across the country are partnering with communities and Georgia Tech researchers participating in the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. Georgia Smart, which is part of Georgia Tech's Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation initiative, is a program that enables local communities to envision, explore, and plan for their smart futures.

Students are researching topics related to smart communities: sea-level flooding, economic development and housing data, and the impact of connected vehicle infrastructure on emergency response times.

Kutub Gandhi, a rising senior in computer science at Rice University in Houston, Texas, is part of the Smart Sea Level Sensors team researching sea-level rise in Chatham County. The team is working closely with Senior Research Scientist Russ Clark to analyze the accuracy of data coming from a network of 30 internet-enabled sensors that monitor flooding.

Through the CDS program, Gandhi has explored potential future career paths. “Last summer I worked at a company to see the industry side of life. This summer the CDS internship has helped me see that I want to do research long term, while also giving me experience to put on my resume.”

He has also discovered areas of study not offered at Rice and made new connections with other students and researchers. “The people I’ve met have been amazing.”

Other Civic Data Science projects include:

Albany Hub, which provides residents of the City of Albany with open data about energy efficiency, repairs, rental assistance, and more. Faculty mentor: Omar Asensio, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy

GwinNETTwork, a connected vehicle master plan for Gwinnett County which examines how to decrease congestion and crashes while reducing emergency vehicle wait times along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Faculty mentor: Angshuman Guin, Senior Research Engineer, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Students will present their final projects on Wednesday, July 22 from 6-8pm in the Technology Square Research Building pre-function area. The program is part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU).
 

Georgia Smart Community Corps

The Civic Data Science teams are also partnering with students from the Georgia Smart Community Corps, a full-time summer fellowship for Georgia Tech students. The goal of the fellowship program is to create livable and equitable communities through smart technology and data implementation. Like the CDS teams, fellows also work directly with cities and counties from the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge.

Akhil Chavan, who graduated from Georgia Tech in Spring 2019 with a master’s degree in engineering, is on the Smart Sea Level Sensors team. The team is working with the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) to examine how to visualize and display data from the sea level sensors more effectively.

Chavan has been interested in climate change and environmental engineering since high school and continued to study these subjects as an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech. As he pursued his Master’s degree, he took more data science, data analytics, and computer science classes. “I wanted to see the crossover between data and computer science concepts with environmental and sustainable engineering,” Chavan said.

He called the fellowship “valuable” for connecting with local communities. “Usually in the research field you’re doing backend work that’s slow-moving and hard to visualize the end goal,” he explained. “With these [Georgia Smart] projects, there’s a lot of support within the cities. It’s nice to offer our expertise, stuff we’ve been learning about for the past couple of years. The community and the people make it a little more applicable.”

In addition to working directly with the communities, each team in the fellowship program collaborates with one or more Georgia Tech professors. Chavan’s team worked closely with Clark and Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and director of the Global Change Program.

Chavan said Cobb manages the team like a business – small teams and focus groups who have their own “clients.” The groups touch base every week to share information and updates.

The Strategic Energy Institute funds the Georgia Smart Community Corps; the program is a joint collaboration with the Center for Serve-Learn-SustainCenter for Career Discovery and Development (C2D2), and the Student Government Association (SGA).

]]> Alyson Key 1 1565209095 2019-08-07 20:18:15 1570458845 2019-10-07 14:34:05 0 0 news Students from Georgia Tech and universities across the country are participating in two summer programs to support local communities exploring smart technology and development.

]]>
2019-07-23T00:00:00-04:00 2019-07-23T00:00:00-04:00 2019-07-23 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
624122 624122 image <![CDATA[2019 Civic Data Science students]]> image/jpeg 1565208933 2019-08-07 20:15:33 1565208933 2019-08-07 20:15:33
<![CDATA[Data-Driven Policing]]> 27980 In an effort to reduce police officer response times to calls for assistance, Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Police Department partnered on a year-long project to reconfigure patrol areas across the city.

Yao Xie, assistant professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, analyzed multiple data sources—911 calls, traffic data from the Georgia Department of Transportation, and Atlanta census numbers—to identify patrol patterns and help predict future officer workloads. She then used the data to update the city’s zones and beats, which determine where to allocate officers across the city.

“It’s important to design these beats and zone boundaries efficiently; this critically impacts response time,” said Xie. “Someone calls 911, how fast do police officers respond?”

Currently, the average police response time to the city’s highest priority calls is 13 minutes. Although they haven’t publicly discussed a target response time, APD says the beat redesign will help to balance workloads across zones with the goal of answering calls for assistance more quickly.

“Response time is something that you always want to manage and improve so that you’re delivering quality services to people,” said Major John Quigley, executive officer, Atlanta Police Department Strategy and Special Projects Division. “Everybody benefits from better service, whether it’s answering a 911 call or the follow-up investigation.”

The City of Atlanta is divided into six geographic areas or zones, with each zone split into 13 or 14 beats assigned to one patrol officer. Each officer is responsible for responding to all of the 911 calls in their assigned beat, everything from traffic incidents to serious crime.

The redesign affects three zones: Zone 6 in East Atlanta will increase by four square miles, while Zone 1 in Northwest Atlanta will grow by two square miles. Zone 2, which covers Northeast Atlanta and Buckhead, will decrease by seven square miles.

Recently, the Buckhead district has seen a spike in car thefts, burglaries, and armed robberies. At a town hall meeting with concerned residents in early March, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields discussed how a smaller zone will allow officers to respond more quickly to 911 calls.

In a statement about the beat redesign, Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier said, “It’s important that we examine our officer workload periodically, and with the help of Georgia Tech we were able to do so in a data-driven manner. We are confident these changes will balance the workload in all zones.”

Zone optimization also addresses Atlanta’s growing population, which has resulted in an increase in 911 calls and more work for the understaffed police force currently facing a shortage of 400 officers.

Atlanta’s City Council voted in February to approve the re-zoning plan and the police department officially implemented it on March 17.

The redesign initiative is Xie’s second research project in partnership with the Atlanta Police Department and funded by the Atlanta Police Foundation. In 2017 she developed an algorithm that quickly analyzes incident reports to find connections between crimes.

Xie will soon begin working with the City of South Fulton to analyze its police zones, which haven’t been updated since the 1970s.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1553866619 2019-03-29 13:36:59 1562786918 2019-07-10 19:28:38 0 0 news Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Police Department use publicly-available data to optimize the city’s officer patrol zones.

]]>
2019-03-29T00:00:00-04:00 2019-03-29T00:00:00-04:00 2019-03-29 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Marketing Communications Manager

Institute for People and Technology

]]>
619824 619824 image <![CDATA[Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Police Department use publicly-available data to optimize the city’s officer patrol zones]]> image/png 1553867020 2019-03-29 13:43:40 1553867020 2019-03-29 13:43:40