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Greensboro To Participate In National "Smart City" Program In March

Greensboro Chief Information Officer Jane Nickles

The city of Greensboro was the only city in North Carolina selected to participate in the National Smart City Program.

The program, put on by Envision America 2017, allows select cities to find new ways to use technology to make their cities more efficient.

A smart city uses technology to keep its residents updated on what's going on around them.

Greensboro’s Chief Information Officer Jane Nickles said there were plenty of benefits of being a “smart city.”

“Smart cities provides better services to residents, smart cities provide real-time information to be able to monitor energy efficiency in real-time,” she said. “They can monitor water consumption to provide situational information about where you are and what’s happening around you. It’s able to better, more efficiently move traffic with smart transportation systems.”

The three-day program, which also serves as a workshop, will take place in Charlotte in early March.

Nickles said the city has also been working its Open Data Portal project to share during the workshop.

The portal shares traffic data and road closure information and an increase in mobile options for its residents, including real-time transit tracking and a pay-by-smartphone parking option.

“You can make decisions about where you are, what's happening around you, how long is it going to take you to get from here to there,” Nickles said. “You can start making those real-time decisions based on real-time information."

Another initiative in the works is high-speed broadband. The collaborative initiative is called “Tri-Gig” and works to use existing assets to accelerate the buildout of high speed broadband networks.

“We're already looking at how we can be a smarter city and I think those kind of things have gotten us the attention to be invited or accepted into these programs and it says a lot about how progressive and innovative we are as a city,” Nickles said.

The other cities picked for the Smart Cities Initiative, include Jackson, Miss.; San Antonio, Texas; Wichita, Kan.; Providence, R.I.; Burlington, Conn.; Detroit, Mich.; Chula Vista, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo. and Long Beach, Calif.

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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