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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.

Philadelphia will begin the process of transitioning its fleet of more than 5,500 vehicles to electric. The transition comes as the city moves forward with a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The availability of charging options remains a key factor in the decision to switch to an electric car. And it’s part of the reasoning behind a plan to have 10,000 car-charging sites on New York City curbs by 2030.
Electrification, congestion pricing and how streets are used could all greatly influence the future of transportation in cities, say speakers at the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo.
Public-sector and industry leaders remarked on the future of work at the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo, saying remote should be the default to improve efficiencies and aid in recruitment.

In one of the first panel discussions at the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo, cybersecurity took center stage as experts advised for more spending, education and collaboration as threats increase.
The Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., opened its in-person gathering today after a two-year hiatus that sent the regular meeting to a video-conferencing posture.
At the heart of the Beta District in Central Ohio is the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, a 35-mile “living lab” to test and deploy transportation technology. The corridor was officially unveiled last month.
The Fremont Police Department in California has been testing electric vehicles for a few years and is in the process of making its fleet fully electric. However, full adoption can't occur until charge times are reduced.
Harris County, Texas, is turning to a managed private network to bring broadband connectivity to disadvantaged households. Officials hope the effort will increase access to distance learning.
Las Vegas has entered into a partnership with Cox Communications to set up a “managed private network” in a public park. The system uses video surveillance, sensors and other technology to evaluate park activity.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced government organizations to explore newer creative avenues to engagement with the community, taking meetings and other events out of conference rooms, and interacting with more community members.
The National Smart Coalitions Partnership was formed by regional smart city organizations from Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Arizona and Florida with the goal of furthering collaborations across the country.
Cruise and Waymo received “deployment” permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles for their autonomous vehicle operations in the Bay Area, clearing another hurdle to for-hire commercial AV service.
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles has adopted new technology to better manage the flow of customers and transactions through its offices in the midst of the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic.
A new initiative led by the National Science Foundation, US Ignite and other partners is using RF over fiber (RFoF) technology to bring high-speed wireless broadband service to a rural town in Missouri.
Karina Ricks had led the Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure since 2017. She is now working for the Federal Transit Administration as associate administrator for research, innovation and demonstration.
Legislation aimed at requiring the electrification of autonomous vehicles and bolstering offshore wind power have cleared the governor’s office, as the state pushes to be a leader in the transportation and energy sectors.
Research has shown that the Citi Bike bike-share program in New York City is predominantly used by men. How can local areas ensure a public transit system serves everyone? Experts weigh in.
A survey of transit riders illustrates some of their concerns around the cleanliness of vehicles, on-time performance and the technology that seeks to improve engagement and the overall experience.
A six-mile traffic technology testbed in Tennessee will utilize some 300 high-definition cameras to analyze and understand traffic flow. The project will include researchers from major universities as well as automakers.
Detroit will be one of three cities to launch autonomous delivery programs using Kiwibots. The small, electric devices will travel on city sidewalks and partner with businesses to explore automated deliveries.
The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the essential yet complex role public transit plays in the lives of citizens. Experts say this is the moment to make it physically and financially more accessible to everyone.
The Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric project is a nearly 4-mile autonomous electric shuttle route in Whitby, Ontario. The project integrates with local public transit and smart city technologies in the region.
The Mobility Data Collaborative, in partnership with the Future of Privacy Forum, has created an assessment tool to help cities and other organizations protect the data collected within the transportation sector.
The Legislature approved SB 500, which would require that autonomous vehicles be emissions free by 2030, nudging an industry that has been clearly trending toward electric. The bill awaits the governor’s signature.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has announced three cities will receive grants as part of the Delivering Zero Emissions Communities program — a move toward 100 percent zero emissions commercial vehicles by 2030.
Transit systems in New Orleans, San Diego, Miami and other cities have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a variety of new approaches, ranging from reduced fares to redesigned networks.
Pay-by-the-minute electric and hybrid car-share operations are becoming a regular part of the transportation mix in large cities as they seek to expand mobility options and reduce the need for car ownership.
SWITCH Maritime is set to launch the Sea Change, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric ferry in the San Francisco Bay. The zero-emission vessel is designed to accommodate around 75 passengers.
Ridership on commuter rail declined as much as 90 percent for some services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Operators are now exploring options to bring back not only riders who sat out the pandemic, but new customers as well.