The Center for Data Innovation has expressed its support for the Moving and Fostering Innovation to Revolutionize Smarter Transportation (Moving FIRST) Act, introduced by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). The Center issued the following statement from its director, Daniel Castro:
Smart city technology is set to transform America’s major urban centers, but our research shows that compared to other leading countries, the United States has woefully underinvested in smart city efforts. The exception is the Smart City Challenge, a $40 million initiative launched in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Transportation to support the development and deployment of innovative technology in one mid-sized U.S. city. But there is much more to do. The bipartisan Moving FIRST Act would significantly expand the Smart City Challenge and create many more opportunities for U.S. cities to improve their efficiency, resiliency, and global competitiveness.
Until recently, most smart city projects in the United States have been small-scale projects focused on particular applications or problems. The Smart City Challenge has spurred cities to consider more broadly how to integrate sensors, data, and analytics across all of their public services. Unfortunately, without continued and expanded support for smart city pilot programs, the United States will continue to fall behind countries like China, Singapore, and South Korea, which recognize the incredible potential benefits of smart cities and are investing in them accordingly.
The Moving FIRST Act would be a crucial step toward making U.S. companies more competitive in developing smart city technology and making U.S. cities more competitive by deploying these technologies. Additionally, it would speed progress toward the economic and social benefits they can provide people in America. This bill would create an ongoing smart city pilot program within the Department of Transportation that would award $100 million annually to large, medium, and small U.S. cities and communities to implement smart city projects. These funds would provide much needed incentive for cities to take on ambitious smart city experiments involving sensors, automation, connected vehicles, smart infrastructure, and other technologies that can improve safety, efficiency, mobility, and economic opportunity.
Congress should quickly to pass the Moving FIRST Act so the United States can start realizing the full potential of smart city development.