Pittsburgh to Increase Involvement in MetroLab Network

The MetroLab Network, part of the White House's Smart Cities initiative, has received an $80 million boost in funds.

by Tracie Mauriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / September 27, 2016
Pittsburgh, Pa. Flickr/Jaime Dillen-Seibel

(TNS) Energy, electric vehicles and data sharing will get a boost now that the University of Pittsburgh is part of the White House’s MetroLab Network that began last year with an initial group of 21 college and city pairings.

Pittsburgh already was part of the network because of its collaborations with Carnegie Mellon University.

MetroLab Network is part of the Obama administration’s Smart Cities initiative, which received an $80 million boost in federal funding Monday. The money is aimed at efforts to improve transportation, climate, public safety and city services by making it easier for cities and universities to work together to research, develop and deploy new technologies.

Pitt’s first three contributions to the network are its District Energy Initiative, Second Avenue Solar Canopy and Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center.

The energy initiative employs a “grid of micro-grids” to support a more resilient, efficient, economical and sustainable regional energy system.

The solar canopy will enable the transition from a gas-powered fleet of city vehicles to an electric-powered fleet.

The data portion aims to strengthen the city and county’s open data portals to more easily host data from other public sector agencies, nonprofits and schools. It is managed by Pitt’s Center for Social and Urban Research in partnership with the city and county.

The White House created the MetroLab Network to support partnerships that give university students access to real-world laboratories, and that allow cities to benefit from local universities’ technical expertise.

Pittsburgh also will join 19 other cities in deploying “smart city” technologies that expand policies related to “the Internet of Things,” ensure transparency regarding the use of public assets for such technology, and advance public dialogue about how universities and governments can collaborate.

In addition, Pittsburgh is joining the Urban Innovation Council, a new coalition of cities, startups and corporations that includes Microsoft, Global Automakers, Uber and the emirate of Dubai. PIttsburgh is one of only two cities that are part of the initial participants announced by the White House. The other is Arlington, Va.

©2016 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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