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The infrastructure bill could drive the creation of more smart cities. Ohio has a head start

On this stretch of roadway in Central Ohio there are 432 strands of fiber, 63 roadside units and 29 connected intersections in Marysville.
On this stretch of roadway in Central Ohio there are 432 strands of fiber, 63 roadside units and 29 connected intersections in Marysville.

Ohio is leading the nation on smart city technology, and the recently passed $1 trillion public works bill could give the state's head start another boost.

It’s unclear just how much money from the bill will go to cities to connect their infrastructure. In August, after it passed the Senate, SmartCitiesDive speculated on the amount because an increasing number of urban cores are seeing the value of smart connected cities for safety, ease of travel and constructing better roadways.

So, what is a smart city?

Sensors in a smart city are embedded in infrastructure and can talk to each other and drivers and transmit the information to city planners to improve safety.

There are many examples of how this can work.

StateTech magazine imagined some of them in this article. One includes video streams turned into roadway monitoring devices to ease congestion. Other sensors could gauge air pollution and promote sustainable transit alternatives. Maybe not so popular are parking sensors alerting police when somebody hasn't paid.

Ohio leads the nation in smart infrastructure

Ohio has a head start when it comes to smart infrastructure — the state has invested $100 million.

This fall it officially opened the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, running from the City of Dublin to Marysville, right past Honda's manufacturing plant. The Transportation Research Center in East Liberty is an integral part of the Smart Mobility Corridor.

DriveOhio’s Luke Stedke says, “The ecosystem of 33 is meant to be flexible, to be able to pivot to new technologies as they mature, and the industry starts to adopt them. So, it’s a work in progress.”

Ohio’s Smart Mobility Corridor has:

  • 432 strands of fiber
  • 70 miles of fiber creating a redundant loop
  • 63 roadside units installed
  • 29 connected intersections in Marysville
  • 16 connected vehicle intersections in Dublin, including a multi-lane roundabout

Smart infrastructure companies nationwide are already using AI to make cities safer

Derq develops algorithms to predict pedestrian and driver intent, tracking the information for city planners to design safer roads.

“So when you see somebody crossing the road, either in a crosswalk or not, and maybe a vehicle comes close to that, we’re looking at the analytics, what kinds of things could be put into place to help avoid those types of situations,” says Derq Vice President of Development Jamie Sullivan.

Derq and others are working toward Vision Zero, or zero fatalities.

The smart cities market is expected to get a lot bigger, growing to $1.03 trillion by 2028.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.