Address Existing Data Gaps and Establish Key Performance Indicator Benchmarks Before Scaling Up Projects.

Dallas Deployed a Smart Cities Living Lab Pilot Program That Contains Nine Component to Improve Pedestrian Traffic and Quality of Life in Its Historical District.

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Smart Cities Living Lab Case Study / DIA’s Case Study Shows Smart Cities Living Lab’s Positive Impact

Summary Information

The Smart Cities Living Lab pilot project, launched in March 2017, was located in Dallas’ West End Historic District and covered a four-block corridor in downtown. This pilot, initiated by the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA), originally comprised of nine integrated smart-city projects. A partnership of organizations across public, private, civic, and academic sectors, as well as collaboration with 20 City of Dallas Departments, made the Living Lab pilot a reality. The pilot lasted 12 months and implemented environmental and pedestrian sensors, smart lighting, waste management, digital citizen-centric kiosks, digital infrastructure nodes, smart park greenspace, smart water metering, smart parking, and public Wi-Fi. The main goal of the pilot was to improve operations, sustainability and create an inclusive and prosperous city through data and technology testing. This pilot study was also intended to be a steppingstone for future phases and expansions of this project implementation, providing insights to assess the future potential of a larger deployment throughout Dallas with all nine of the project components.  

  • Address existing data gaps and establish key performance indicator benchmarks before scaling up projects. A lack of baseline data and industry standards could potentially hinder achieving the goals of the projects within the framework of the pilot deployment. 
  • Use a coordinated data strategy for enhanced decision-making. The pilot found that facilitating the merging and comparison of interoperable data from various departments helped city leaders promote innovation and resource sharing. For instance, they adopted a "dig once" approach to integrate data and analytics, coordinating multiple projects, such as commercial development, water repairs, and fiber installation, in the same area for efficient execution.
  • Recognize that there is no ‘one size fits all’ type of solution to improving city living. It is important to take a neighborhood-based approach to ensure the unique needs of different areas can be addressed through infrastructural and technological initiatives like the pilot project outlined in this study. 
  • Maximize interactivity when designing digital kiosks. In this study, it was recommended that, for future implementations, it would be a good idea to enhance software features of the kiosk to facilitate two-way communication with city staff, safety reporting, or other functionalities.
  • Increase financial viability of the deployment by setting up a fund raised by project partners. Experience from this pilot revealed that successful financing of all projects could involve adding a condition to public-private partnership terms, wherein the parties agree to contribute to a digital inclusion fund, thus promoting data sharing while raising funds simultaneously.
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