Smart City: Hoboken to Become Laboratory for Use of Tech-Driven Urban Data

The Smart City: Hoboken lab is a new three-year, collaborative research effort that will aim to analyze and distribute real-time data in order to improve the urban condition.

The Stevens Institute of Technology (pictured) has announced a three-year research collaboration and partnership with the City of Hoboken, New Jersey that will focus on the use of information technology and smart devices for improved urban service management and governance. Dubbed Smart City: Hoboken, the project will aim to leverage sensor technologies, public data and smart phones and tablets to provide citizens and city decision-makers with information to improve the delivery of urban services and their utilization.

Stevens will build the Smart City Lab on its Hoboken campus, where it will analyze crowdsourced information and data from environmental, emergency management, traffic and energy metering sensors. Eventually, it will give residents real-time information about traffic situations, parking availability, energy consumption and sustainability, air and noise pollution, and emergency response times.

The project’s first phase – to be led by Stevens research team head Dr. Ali Mostashari, an associate professor in the School of Systems & Enterprises who will also serve as the director of the Smart City Lab – will result in a Smart City app. The app will allow Hoboken residents to find available parking spots, make more efficient energy choices, monitor air and noise pollution in different parts of the city, receive information about emergencies, and sync with Hoboken’s 311 constituent request system to report issues and problems.

“We are thrilled to work with the City of Hoboken to implement smart city technologies,” said Dr. Mostashari in a press release. “With its ever expanding population, Hoboken can benefit greatly from embedding intelligence into its urban governance, and Stevens is honored to lend its expertise in this area to improve everyday life in the local community.” Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer echoed those remarks, saying that “[w]ith the incredible talent from Stevens, we are taking an exciting step towards further establishing Hoboken as a tech hub. The Smart City project is an opportunity to build a more informed community and responsive government.”

While the idea of leveraging data – whether crowd-sourced or made available through API – in order to improve urban living isn’t necessarily novel, turning the famously one-mile square Hoboken into a living laboratory just might be. New York City, of course, continues to build its repository of public data sets produced by City agencies and organizations in API and other machine-readable formats, which developers are turning into myriad apps. But thanks to the city’s relatively small geographic footprint, the Smart City: Hoboken experiment could take a step forward by developing best practices for how data can most effectively be obtained and deployed at broader municipal and even regional levels. The lab hopes to release a first version of the Smart City app this fall.

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