In 2011, Mayor Michael B. Hancock emphasized the importance of City process innovation to increase performance, and he created the Peak Performance program. The program increases taxpayers' return on their investment in city government by empowering employees to improve work process by giving them the tools needed for small and large innovations.
Since then, two catalytic events in 2015 created momentum to create Denver Smart City:
- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge galvanized the City & County of Denver to examine transformative, multi-disciplinary Smart City projects that improve access to mobility choices. Denver was one of 7 national finalists provided the opportunity to think above and beyond normal budget constraints, knowledge barriers, and technological hurdles to identify a concrete path forward with a focus on innovative technologies, vehicle electrification and connecting neighborhoods.
- Panasonic’s move to 61st and Pena and subsequent smart solution Public Private Partner collaboration created momentum to address problems with next-generation solutions, and it emphasized the importance of both innovative technology and partnership to accomplish projects neither industry nor government would have completed on their own.
WHY is it important?
With Global megatrends such as population growth, urbanization and climate change, resource limitations are placing considerable pressure on cities around the world. These trends threaten to add to existing problems that disproportionally affect our most vulnerable populations such as:
- Smog and other environmental degradation
- Aging public infrastructure.
Denver faces many of these same challenges:
- 23% population increase into Denver, which amounts to 10,000 – 15,000 new residents annually
- Increasing congestion, as seen by 73% of trips in Denver are Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOV), which is up 3% from last year
- 61 traffic related deaths in Denver alone, over 500 in Colorado, over 40K in the US and over 1M in the world
- 23.9% of residents near or below the poverty rate with limited mobility options
- 30% increase in cost of living since 2010
- Ozone non-attainment area
- Nearly 1 in 10 Denver residents have asthma
- 53% of Denver residents thinks air quality is poor
Smart city efforts can help:
- Problem Solving: Technology can help us mitigate our citizen’s day-to-day pain points, such as access to city services, fixing potholes through easy flagging and reporting, reducing traffic accidents and improving mobility choice.
- By integrating technology into the built environment, collecting multiple data sets and analyzing models, citizen problems and point points can be addressed holistically to provide lasting solutions.
- Addressing the high percentage of Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) usage in Denver.
- Fully integrating Intelligent Transportation Systems and Public Safety systems to significantly reduce, detect and even prevent traffic accidents.