By Paul Nagrowski
Finance Head, LDA Americas at Siemens and Tech Alpharetta Board Member
We’re currently living in the fourth industrial revolution – the journey of digitalization. As our physical and digital worlds become more intertwined, our cities are recognizing the need to adapt. This transformation has led to the creation of Smart Cities.
Smart Cities are cities that use technology to improve the lives of citizens. They are using innovation to modify the things we do every day and make them easier and more efficient.
While technology is a major part of a Smart City, it is not the only thing that makes it smart. Also essential is the willingness of local officials to have a conversation and realize challenges and opportunities; while not accepting things as they are, but thinking holistically about how to ease people’s lives.
One of the goals of a successful city government is to improve the way people get to the places they need to go, whether that’s commuting to work, going out to eat for dinner or taking kids to school. Digitalization can help cities identify challenges and address pain points to enable people to do the things they need to do.
Two common challenges significantly impacting the Alpharetta and Atlanta areas are traffic and traffic flow. In fact, I-75 and I-85 carry more than 340,000 vehicles per day, making it one of the most congested segments of interstate highway in the United States. The Smart City approach has great potential to enhance traffic flow and improve existing resources. For example, utilizing real-time data to improve access to and efficiency of public transportation can reduce the usage of private vehicles. As a result, employers directly benefit because employees arrive to work safely on time and stress-free.
The planning horizon for cities also needs to change to reflect the high pace of the technological innovations that we are seeing today. The city of Alpharetta is taking great steps to have conversations to develop long-term plans and make the right investments to become a smarter community for its residents and employers. This forward-thinking will differentiate the cities that are successful and the cities that are not.