March Quarterly Meeting: Smart Cities

Please join us Thursday, March 16 at 10am at the Capital District Transportation Committee for the Clean Communities first quarterly meeting of 2017!  The featured presentation will focus on Smart Cities.

What is a Smart City? 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a Smart City uses data, applications, and technology to help people and goods move more quickly, cheaply, and efficiently.  The USDOT launched the Smart City Challenge in December 2015, looking for project proposals from cities across America that would utilize first-of-its-kind smart transportation systems.  The Capital Region was 1 of 78 cities that submitted a proposal.  The proposal was coordinated by multiple agencies like the Capital District Transportation Authority and Capital District Transportation Committee.


The USDOT narrowed the 78 applicants down to 7 finalists.  They worked with the 7 finalists to refine their project ideas and focus their efforts.  This contributed to the report, Smart City Challenge: Lessons for Building Cities for the Future, which can be downloaded from their website. Columbus, Ohio was awarded the $40 million Smart City Challenge in June 2016 and an additional $10 million grant from the Vulcan Inc. Foundation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the de-carbonization of the electric supply and transportation sectors.  While the Capital Region was not awarded funding through the Challenge, it remains committed to reducing emissions in transportation through technology and better use of data.


Quarterly Meeting 

Our March meeting presenters include Meghan Cook from the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany and Eric Shannon from the City of Schenectady.  Meghan will provide an overview of Smart Cities best practices and Eric will present Schenectady’s Smart City project, including the development of an electric vehicle friendly downtown.

Meghan Cook is Program Director at the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) University at Albany, SUNY as well as Adjunct Professor, at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and Affiliate Professor at Albany Law School.   With over 20 years experience in leading multi-sector, multi disciplinary innovation initiatives, Meghan helps build capability in public sector organizations and agencies throughout the world.  Last year, Meghan was awarded the University at Albany’s Excellence Award for her work with government and community leaders.   Meghan has served in an advisory role to the NYS Local Government IT Directors for over 10 years as well as with the NYS City CIOs for more than three years.   Meghan is currently leading four Capital Region cities (Amsterdam, Gloversville, Schenectady, and Troy) in their effort to address blight through the development of a shared information resource, funded by the NYS Department of State. She has worked with the City of Binghamton to building their information technology and management capabilities, as well assist the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in NYC on a change management planning effort for the deployment of an enterprise system. Meghan has published numerous research and practice articles was recently, she was selected by the Intelligent Community Forum to serve as one of 11 international analysts to select the world’s most intelligent community.

Eric Shannon is an Innovation and Performance Specialist for the City of Schenectady focusing on smart city initiatives, sustainability efforts and interdepartmental projects that improve local government processes and effectiveness. Having specific interest in entrepreneurship and foreign economies, Eric’s first experience with the City of Schenectady was as a representative at the 2015 3rd China-South Asia Exposition in Kunming, capital of the Yunnan Province, China. While attending, he had the opportunity to meet political representatives from several countries around the world including Australia, Nepal, Japan, Turkey, Canada, France and multiple provinces of China. Eric holds a B.S. in Biochemistry, Biophysics and an M.S. in Management, Marketing and New Product Development from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.​


Next Steps 

The Capital District Clean Communities Coalition will be tracking the Columbus, Ohio Smart City project, as well as others across the country in hopes of replicating some cutting-edge technologies and ideas here in the Capital Region.  The 2017 Clean Communities work plan will include a Capital Region Smart Cities Roadmap.  The information presented by Meghan and Eric on March 16th will help provide a launching pad for the Roadmap.

Please join us! Coffee and light refreshments will be served. Learn about new funding opportunities for electric vehicles and infrastructure, as well as other initiatives being led by Capital District Clean Communities this year.  Download the meeting agenda here.