Officially launched about nine months ago, the Kansas City Smart City initiative has produced as much enthusiasm as it has technological possibilities.
The $15.7 million public-private project — which has transformed Kansas City’s downtown into a lab of Wi-Fi connectivity on and around the 2.2-mile streetcar line — is now further empowering citizens. The City of Kansas City, Mo. announced Tuesday that it’s released a public facing window into the smart city data it collects from sensors along the streetcar line.
Powered by urban data and collaboration platform Xaqt, the city’s new interactive website provides citizens live and historical information on the streetcar, traffic flow and parking availability in downtown. In the platform’s live view, parking density is represented by grey columns denoting occupied parking spots or green columns showing available spots. The live view also allows one to see average traffic speeds to indicate congestion.
The announcement arrived Tuesday during a national conference city tech officials are hosting at Think Big with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With discussions on data collection, smart city challenges and working on corporate partners, the conference is hosting about 100 officials from around the nation.
Kansas City officially kicked off its smart city project in May of 2016. Via a Sprint Wi-Fi network stretching more than 50 square blocks in downtown, the project will provide a variety of information to citizens while also collecting data on their behavior in downtown.
The project is a collaboration between Kansas City, Sprint, Cisco and Think Big Partners. Kansas City signed an agreement with Sprint and Cisco in June to create the largest smart city in North America with the intention to improve municipal services. The project also includes 125 “smart” streetlights along the streetcar line and 25 touchscreen kiosks that offer information on city services, nearby restaurants and real-time information collected from smart city sensors.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James previously said that the project is an open invitation to innovators from around the world to test various technologies on Kansas City’s smart city framework. Think Big’s Living Lab initiative will serve as the testing hub for entrepreneurs’ smart city ideas.