‘Smart Cities’ program targets congestion, climate change

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Obama administration today proposed to invest more than $160 million in programs aimed at tackling climate change, reducing traffic congestion and other local efforts.

The announcement of the administration’s new “Smart Cities” initiative comes as the White House hosts a forum today that convenes politicians, researchers, city representatives, members of the technology sector and others to discuss improving cities’ technology and infrastructure.

The White House proposed total investments of more than $160 million in federal research cash under the initiative.

That spending includes nearly $70 million in new spending and more than $45 million in proposed investments by U.S. EPA, the Energy Department and other agencies focused on issues, including energy, climate preparedness, transportation, safety and health.

EPA announced new environmental monitoring and analysis programs. The agency will spend up to $4.5 million for grants to conduct air quality pilot studies using low-cost portable air pollution sensors. EPA also plans to launch a new project to help communities plan for public health impacts and deploy “village green” air monitoring stations to Oklahoma City; Hartford, Conn.; and Chicago.

DOE will invest almost $10 million to expand efforts to support the emergence of “smart, energy-efficient and low-emission cities,” the White House said. Those efforts include spending more than $3 million to advance building technologies that maximize energy savings and participate in “smart” communications both within buildings and from buildings to the grid. DOE will also create a new research consortium — with $5 million in new funding — to “examine the nexus of energy and mobility for future transportation systems.”

The National Science Foundation also announced more than $35 million in grants and over $10 million in proposed investments in the coming year related to the Smart Cities initiative, the White House said.