As many urban areas adopt “smart city” initiatives, Chattanooga is doing so with a slightly different approach—and now, the city is being recognized for its ethical practices. The Smart 50 Awards, created by US Ignite, Smart Cities Connect and Smart Cities Connect Foundation listed Chattanooga’s data analytics practices as a winner in the Digital Transformation category, which recognizes projects that deal with data, artificial intelligence, sensors, IoT (or Internet of Things), cybersecurity, privacy and blockchain (data security).
“Chattanooga is pioneering smart solutions that can improve people’s lives, and we are proud that we’re doing that in a way that keeps citizens’ interests front and center,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
The Chattanooga Smart Community Collaborative was given the award for protecting citizens’ privacy during data collection and analysis. The collaborative is a research partnership between the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the City of Chattanooga, Erlanger Health System, EPB, Hamilton County, Co.Lab, and The Enterprise Center.
Under the direction of Mina Sartipi, UTC’s Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP) has led research in Chattanooga to improve citizens’ lives through advancement in energy, mobility, health care and other areas. CUIP operates a series of sensors along M.L. King Boulevard, including video cameras, that collect data about traffic, bicycle and pedestrian behavior. This data is compiled by a CUIP-developed software platform that allows for easy integration of new sensors and provides data management and analysis capabilities for users. The platform design ensures interoperability of diverse data sources in terms of data rates, volume and dimension.
Working with UTC’s social sciences department, CUIP created strict guidelines and data governance policies to ensure all data is anonymous and that all video footage is turned into meta-data and immediately deleted. Because of CUIP’s data platform capabilities, traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, allocation of public resources and operational support can be improved and many more applications developed, enhancing quality of life in Chattanooga and beyond.
“This award recognizes CUIP’s commitment to transparency, ethical practices and respect for the community’s privacy,” Sartipi said, “and that commitment arises from the individual commitment to these values shared by each of us who work on this and related projects.”
The Smart 50 Award will be presented at the Smart Cities Connect Conference in Denver in April.