Skip Descant

Staff Writer

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.

Citizens in El Monte, Calif., will be taking advantage of digital signage that reveals the availability of roughly 400 parking spots in the city. The system also includes an app that can help residents plan their travel.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is using dashcam footage gathered from ride-hailing drivers to gain added insights into the status of the hundreds of highway work zones in the Las Vegas region.
Some 1,500 intersections in Los Angeles to get upgraded with new traffic signal equipment.
Hill Air Force Base is involved in a demonstration project to use hundreds of small, low-wattage sensors, which require neither batteries or a separate power supply. The sensors “harvest” energy from their ambient environments.
The Revive! Challenge, organized by the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, is open to low- or no-cost tech solutions to help communities in a post-COVID world. Submissions are due May 5, and winners will be named in July.
As the vehicle market evolves, industry insiders debate the future of hydrogen fuel cells, and how the most plentiful element in the universe can be the answer to renewable energy and zero-emissions transportation.
A three-month pilot project to test small, electric autonomous shuttles in North Carolina launched at the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills. The project will inform other driverless initiatives in the state.

A roundtable discussion related to what’s needed for expanded EV deployment took a look at concerns around the difficulties of building out a half-million new charging locations in the near future.
Local governments found themselves with pressing needs during the pandemic, and pilot programs testing automated shuttles stepped up to help — for example, by delivering COVID-19 tests and meals.
On the second day of the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo, private- and public-sector tech officials discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic shifted smart city efforts and initiatives and positioned them for the future.
The eighth annual Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo opened with a panel discussion around digital equity and the need for all communities to expand access to broadband as they emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
Once an overlooked part of the urban landscape, the curb is now considered hot real estate in many cities. The demands of delivery services, ridesharing and micromobility have cities re-examining how they manage their assets.
Officials from Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles were part of a government IT panel at the oktane21 conference, reflecting on how they’ve guided city government systems toward an environment that is both secure and accessible.
Scooter companies like Lime and Bird are introducing new products to the micromobility landscape in a number of cities. Meanwhile, New York City is introducing its first scooter pilot project.
VIA Metropolitan, the transit operator in San Antonio, Texas, has partnered with Spain-based startup NaviLens to pilot a wayfinding smartphone application for blind or low-vision transit riders.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has retrofitted two of its 40-foot buses as mobile vaccination centers, traveling to neighborhood churches and community gathering spots to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
The American Jobs Plan, to be released today, is proposing the investment of $2 trillion toward the country’s aging infrastructure and next-generation transportation technologies, among other things.
The Ray, a highway testbed in Georgia, is partnering with Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, the Texas Department of Transportation and the city of Austin to explore transportation opportunities.
A partnership among US Ignite, the National Science Foundation and Schmidt Futures has selected seven projects in both rural and urban areas to expand Internet access and help close the digital divide.
The city has kicked off an innovative pilot that uses autonomous vehicles to provide on-demand transit services. The project, which has been named RAPID, involves several partners.
Based on an analysis of community improvement districts in the Atlanta metro area, Georgia Tech researchers have concluded that CIDs are primed to spearhead any number of smart city initiatives.
Chief Information and Digital Officer, NJ TRANSIT
Public transit ridership in the United States fell 53.3 percent in 2020, as cities responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has left an industry far from deflated, but geared for a revival.
Transportation experts participating in the recent Urbanism Next conference stressed the importance of ‘mundane mobility’ like sidewalks and buses that run frequently and on time as solutions to deal with any number of city goals.
The California Mobility Center recently opened in Sacramento as a one-stop location to grow next-gen transportation companies. The center will serve as a foothold for new companies in the state and the explosive EV market.
CIO, Atlanta Housing Authority
OReGO is a voluntary road-usage fee program that allows drivers to pay 1.8 cents per mile traveled. The project could also serve as a mechanism for collecting highway funding from electric vehicle drivers.
The company's Electric Vaccine Vehicle can drive up to 50 miles and can be recharged on a standard electrical outlet, making it a potentially attractive cost-saving vaccine delivery option.
San Diego’s approach to expand electric vehicle adoption could serve as a template for the state as the region explores opportunities to grow partnerships and collaboration to expand zero-emission vehicle use among all sectors of society.
Via, which provides on-demand micro-transit services in dozens of cities, has acquired transportation planning platform Remix in a $100 million deal. The deal may help cities offer better integrated transit options.