Schenectady Mayor Maps Smart City Plans for U.S. House Subcommittee

The New York city has plans to deploy environmental, optical and acoustic sensors, and Wi-Fi technology that could assist in a range of municipal service improvements.

by Larry Rulison, Times Union / February 28, 2018

(TNS) — Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday speaking to a House of Representatives energy subcommittee about "smart city" technology the Electric City is deploying.

McCarthy was invited to the hearing, which focused on the nation's energy infrastructure, by U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, who called McCarthy a "progressive" leader with "great vision" about the future of U.S. cities.

McCarthy talked about Schenectady's current project installing LED fixtures on the city's light poles, a program that will provide the city with a 50 percent energy cost reduction.

But it also gives the city an opportunity to use the light poles for other uses related to "smart city" technologies, such as the installation of environmental, optical and acoustic sensors and Wi-Fi that can greatly improve the type of data that the city collects to better manage its services such a policing and traffic control, along with other public safety programs.

The city is partnering with National Grid, General Electric Co., AT&T, Cisco and others on the pilot project.

"These devices will enable better and more cost effective delivery of municipal services, valuable exchange of data and information, improved educational opportunities within our city school district and help with cost containment in providing health care," McCarthy said in his testimony before the energy subcommittee.

Tonko's office said that the energy subcommittee, part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, held the hearing in order to look at the challenges that cities face with energy infrastructure projects and how they can use partnerships with private entities to help pay for them.

"As Congress moves forward with debates over America's infrastructure future, our local leaders must have a voice and an opportunity to share their best ideas and perspectives, including those that could deliver greater grid efficiency, public safety, internet access and citizen engagement," Tonko said. "Because of his experience and visionary leadership demonstrating smart energy projects in Schenectady, Mayor McCarthy is someone I want my colleagues to hear from in this debate. I am delighted that the committee agreed and that leaders throughout the nation will have the opportunity to learn from Schenectady's example."

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