MidWest Smart City Solutions
Kansas City, Missouri, is weighing private-sector bids for an ambitious, comprehensive smart city public-private partnership that will oversee a gamut of next-generation technologies
“We’re actively looking at all opportunities out there and what’s the best approach for a win-win with cities,” said Rebecca Chisolm, the U.S. public sector director for Cisco’s state, local and education business.
Kansas City is the sixth largest city in the Midwest, with a metro region home to about 2.2 million residents. Several years ago, the city laid out a vision for developing a network of connected devices and systems that would then offer insight into quotidian urban concerns like traffic congestion, parking and transit, while also making available perks like public Wi-Fi and informational kiosks.
This phase of the project is expected to have a 30-month construction period, with five sub-phases which expand the network by 18 to 25 blocks every six months, according to the RFP.
Kansas City has the ambitious goal of becoming the most connected city in the United States, and has already made significant progress.
“Smart city programs reflect both the growth in our tech industry and employee base, and the expectations of our residents. Digitized cities will be ubiquitous in 10 years.”
Chief Innovation Officer KC Smart City Initiatives
Setting the Standard
Kansas City: A Model for Smart City Innovation
The next phase of initiatives involves building a fully integrated suite of next generation sensors, networks, and data and analytics platforms that will enhance security, safety and efficiency. Further steps include the extension of the smart city network from downtown along a bus transit route on Prospect Avenue. This would include approximately 1,000 wifi access points, 600 traffic sensors and 60 information kiosks along a proposed nine mile route.
Another signature smart city initiative in Kansas City has been the ambitious downtown KC Streetcar line project. Completed in 2016, the streetcar is free to ride and encourages citizens to visit downtown shops, restaurants and events. The streetcar begins in City Market, a farmer’s market and shopping area. It runs along the downtown corridor, home to the bases of major corporations such as H&R Block and Sprint, and through another bustling district of shops and restaurants called the Power and Light District. It continues on through the Crossroads district, a funky, gentrified area of art galleries, high-end dining and cool loft buildings, before terminating at Union Station. The streetcar route covers 54 square blocks, and the entire length of it has free public wifi, smart kiosks and smart lights.