IBM and the Smarter Cities Challenge is partnering with 100 cities around the globe to solve complex urban challenges, awarding $50 million worth of services and technology over three years. IBM will contribute the time and expertise of  top experts from different business units and geographies, putting them on the ground for three weeks to work closely with city leaders and deliver recommendations on how to make the city smarter and more effective. 


In 2012, IBM worked with several Amerian cities on innovative solutions to solve complex local challenges. 


In Austin, TX, the IBM teamwas asked to investigate ways to address lingering disparities between East and West Austin, and propose a framework for the city to better coordinate and prioritize its infrastructure investments. The team delivered recommendations about transforming the delivery of social services, adopting a multi-modal approach to transportation planning, sharing data across city agencies, improving city communications, and creating an integrated planning process supported by an enterprise architecture. 


The IBM team in Mecklenburg County analyzed the feasibility of integrating the capital master planning in Mecklenburg County across multiple jurisdictions and issue areas, including parks, greenways, trails, recreation centers, libraries, schools, college campuses, residential and commercial developments, government facilities, transportation corridors, pedestrian and bicycle routes and watersheds.


In Providence, RI IBM helped the city plan for the reclaimation of 19.5 acres of land from the rerouting of Interstate 195, a freeway whose path through the Jewelry District isolated the area from the wave of revitalization that swept downtown Providence. The development of a new Knowledge District on this land requires the coordination of city agencies, state officials, developers and non-profit organizations. Mayor Angel Taveras challenged the IBM Team to create actionable recommendations for better, data-driven land use management, with systems that will promote the robust development of the city within and beyond the Knowledge District. The team identified four focus areas: organization, processes, technology, and performance, with recommendations that facilitate greater efficiency, greater alignment, better collaboration, more transparency and clear measurements. A better land use management system will enable the City to foster economic development by delivering more predictable review and approval times.


 When selecting the 2012 Smarter Cities Challenge grant recipients, several key criteria were considered.

The cities had to be prepared to match IBM's investment with their own commitment of time and resources. Proposals articulating pressing urban concerns that could be addressed by implementing *smarter* technologies and processes rose to the top of the list. Access to publicly available data that could leverage the capabilities of City Forward was an important consideration. And cities that demonstrated a solid track record of innovative problem solving were also viewed favorably.


You can learn more about the challenge and how to apply by visiting Smarter Cities Challenge.


The City of Loveland, Colorado has launched the first application of We Car technology in a municipal fleet in partnership with Enterprise. The program will save the city $300K in fleet costs for their pool vehicles, but is also providing a platform to add more alternative fuel and zero emissions vehicles into the fleet. As the program rolls out more hybrid, alternative fuel, and even fully electric calls will be joining the program. See the link below for a news article, and contact Steve Kibler, Fleet Manager for the City of Loveland at steve.kibler@cityofloveland.org or 970-962-3343 for more information. This information will help folks think outside the traditional fleet platform as a mechanism to support adding alternative fuel vehicles into their fleets.



Last month Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh, PA welcomed public works and sustainability professionals to the 2012 Sustainability in Public Works Conference.  Were you there?


This year's conference brought together sustainability experts and public works innovators from across the US and Canada to explore the latest trends, best practices and newest approaches to developing sustainable infrastructure and services in their communities. 


The conference was kicked off with a keynote address from Mayor Patrick Henry Hayes from North Little Rock, AR and current President of ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability USA. Mayor Hayes explained to the audience how his commitment the next generation along with the need to provide for economic development in his community led him to undertake an ambitious plan to transform North Little Rock.  Attendees at the conference had many great presentations (visit http://www.apwa.net/sustainability to see many of the handouts from these presentations) and technical tours to choose from including lessons from Monaca Borough where they are reaping big savings and other benefits  by transforming lighting in their communities; lessons on how a SMARTRAFFIC system can improve highway efficiency; and lessons from two communities who have embraced green infrastructure; and technical  tours to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and the Allegheny County green roof.  Another highlight of the conference was the buzz around the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) and the EnvisionTM Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System.  There were two excellent presentations that demonstrated how EnvisionTM can be used in the planning and evaluating of projects and exposed attendees to the benefits that using the system can provide.  ISI also had a booth in the exhibit hall where interested attendees could learn more about ISI and how they can get involved. 


All in all the conference was a great success and staff at national could not have done it without the support and assistance from the Western PA Chapter of APWA, Allegheny County.  Both were great hosts.  As a mater of fact, the County Executive issued a proclamation recognizing APWA for its work and commending the association for its efforts to educate its members on sustainability in public works.  (read the Proclamation here).  Finally a big thanks goes to Cathy Trexlor and her team of great volunteers who helped staff ensure that all ran smoothly.  

If you were able to join us in Pittsburgh feel free to share your thoughts below.  If you couldn't make it this year, hopefully you can make it to next year's conference.  Planning is already underway.  Consider submitting a proposal (http://www.apwa.net/conferences/cfp for more details) and check back for new details about the 2013 Sustainability in Public Works conference.