Major population centers in the US are already investing in new technologies and infrastructure that aims to meet the challenges posed by climate change and clean, sustainable urban management. Here are three cities that are leading the way.
Boston's Transportation Department has launched Vision Zero Boston, a smart-street project that aims to reduce traffic accidents. The idea is to collect and analyze as much data as possible to orient intelligent investment in new infrastructure — road signs, surveillance cameras, LED lighting etc. — and to inform decisions on safety for pedestrians and other road users. The city is also pushing ahead with traffic information programs that provide drivers with data on the quickest modes of transport for particular routes and the availability of parking spaces. In the long term, Boston is working on the modernization of information systems and public services to make them more accessible to everyday users.
In San Antonio, the city's Office of Innovation is implementing several projects to improve the urban environment. Vehicles belonging to the city have been equipped with sensors designed to signal a range of problems on roads, most notably potholes, to municipal authorities so that they can be repaired as quickly as possible. At the same time, the city has created a Smart Streetlight project, which makes use of a network of sensors to monitor data on temperatures, air quality, noise and parking conditions. In its downtown area, the city has installed interactive terminals that give locals and visitors access to real-time information on traffic, public transport and nearby services. The terminals also function as WiFi relays, as well as providing direct access to the city's administrative services.
Hawaii stands out as a sustainability pioneer in the US. In a program dubbed the Aloha Challenge , the island state has adopted precise goals for 2030 on the transition to clean energy, locally sourced food, the management of natural resources, and waste reduction. Locals can even monitor progress towards these objectives via a specially dedicated website. With regard to Honolulu, the city has developed its own resilience strategy and set up an office to study the impact of climate change and natural disasters (hurricanes, tsunamis...) so as to be better prepared in the future.