The city of Baltimore recently published their vision for Smart City (B’Smart) is a bold step forward that connects communities to opportunities.
Beyond Traffic: USDOT Smart City Challenge
Connecting Communities to Opportunities in Baltimore for a
Safe, Efficient, Sustainable, Equitable and
Economically Competitive Smart City.
The Baltimore Vision for Smart City
(B’Smart) is a bold step forward that connects communities to opportunities, starting with historically
underserved neighborhoods in West Baltimore that bore the brunt of displacement and disconnection
through the construction of the “highway to nowhere” in the 1960’s and 1970’s. To transform Baltimore
into a city of greater economic prosperity and social equity, it is vital to successfully demonstrate how
smart city technologies can better connect low-income communities, often with limited access to Internet
and smartphones, to economic opportunities, and how these technologies integrate with the existing
infrastructure and create new prospects within these communities.
The City of Baltimore and its partners have developed a comprehensive approach toward this goal. At
its core are the Smart Community Hubs, where traditional transit services meet smart mobility services,
enabled by connected/automated/electric vehicles and the sharing economy, to provide low-cost options
to connect users to transit hubs and final destinations. These hubs will also house electric vehicle and
smart grid infrastructure, public Internet/Wi-Fi/Smart phone portals, next-generation city logistics
operations, on-site job training opportunities and additional features that will attract new businesses and
spur economic development.
Baltimore proudly includes a series of innovative smart city solutions in this proposal specifically
designed for low-income communities, such as connected V2V/V2X-enabled mesh networks offering
free Wi-Fi access to the West Baltimore community, low-cost automated mobility service for hub
connection and accessibility, way finding tools for elderly and disabled citizens, low-income credits in
sharing economy ecosystems, new jobs from technology implementation, and many more. Another
strength of the proposal stems from the connected and automated port concept, supported by crowdsourced
freight solutions at the Port of Baltimore and Smart Community Hubs.
Baltimore is the ideal candidate for the USDOT Smart City Challenge. Following the civil unrest that took
place in West Baltimore this past spring, city, regional, state, federal and private-sector leaders have
publicly stated their commitment to revitalizing underserved communities in Baltimore. In 2015 alone,
USDOT chose West Baltimore as one of the seven cities to receive technical assistance for economic
development related to transportation projects through its LadderStep pilot.
The State announced a
$700 million plan to eliminate blight in West Baltimore and a $135 million plan to improve transit service.
While Baltimore’s struggles have been highlighted over the past few months, it is by no mean alone.
Many American cities, especially cities that developed around heavy industry, are facing similar
The B’Smart vision can be easily replicated and shared elsewhere. At the heart of the
Baltimore team are more than 50 committed city, regional and state agencies, leading universities,
locally invested non-profits, and Fortune 500 corporate partners.
The assets, expertise and commitment
these partners bring, coupled with the B’Smart vision and the USDOT Smart City Challenge
investment, will generate the biggest, most progressive, and most transferable impact with the highest
chance of a truly transformative success.
Read the full proposal