Smart City News
Baltimore Releases B'Smart Vision for a Smart City

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 challenges. 

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