The Internet of things is becoming reality as state and local governments invest in a growing number of “smart” infrastructure projects. The term, coined in 1999 by British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton, refers to the connecting of physical objects to the Internet via sensors and other technologies. The concept envisions, for example, roads that sense looming traffic jams or electrical grids that automatically react to spiking energy demands.

A survey of senior-level state and local policymakers and managers shows that more than 40 percent of them have smart technology projects or pilots underway in their jurisdictions. The results are based on responses from 113 members of the Governing Exchange, an online community of government executives.