Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee on April 23, 2021
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on May 5, 2021
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 17, 2021
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the integration of technology into our transportation infrastructure systems to build community connectivity, workability, and resiliency.
All transportation modes should be incorporated into the Sustainability, Mobility, Affordability, Resilience, and Technology (SMART) City infrastructure system. This includes ensuring optimal choices and services for the community through effective planning, deployment, operations, and maintenance. All levels of government, private utilities, as well as data service and communication providers should continue to invest in SMART City infrastructure elements. At its core, improving the broadband network must be a critical component to ensure effective system operations.
SMART City projects should be evaluated for the effective use of data and various technologies to improve safety and efficiency, increase cross-community access, enhance economic development, promote resilience, and bolster environmental stewardship. Continued development and deployment of information data and technology resources should also be used in an appropriate manner, with private sector and government entities working together to ensure personal privacy and safety. Transportation project development and evaluation criteria should include coordinated automation and connectivity with vehicles and existing infrastructure, quantitative resilience information, and communications technology which includes internet access, improved infrastructure asset use, and ultimately a more connected and involved citizenry.
Future investment should lead to the development, deployment, and operation of an integrated transportation infrastructure system that provides optimal performance and effective management of these systems.
SMART Cities are defined as communities that use information, data, and technology resources as a framework to enhance infrastructure systems in order to improve personal mobility and economic activity, increase safety and security, foster sustainability, and strengthen infrastructure resiliency.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) launched the SMART Cities Challenge to develop ideas for an integrated transportation system and expand the opportunity for communities to compete for resources that fund technologically based efficient, creative, and innovative transportation projects. The SMART City challenge was designed to find innovative, technology enhancing ways to improve community movement, adaptability, growth, and fiscal management. Ultimately, the proposed projects are intended to improve people's quality of life, enhance economic activity, strengthen transportation system logistics, and foster sustainability. DOT has continued its efforts to invest in SMART Cities. In December 2020, DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced $50 million in grants to fund connected traffic infrastructure solutions for 10 state and local agencies.
Widespread fifth-generation cellular broadband (5G) is also critical to supporting SMART City investments. ASCE’s 2021 Infrastructure Report Card estimated that 65% of counties have average connection speeds lower than the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) definition of broadband. Poor connection speeds negatively impact the needed levels of connectivity to support the overall control, operation and monitoring of utilities and other infrastructure systems, elements of which may often include environmental safety monitoring.
As our society becomes more technologically developed, it is widely recognized that this is a catalyst to building and maintaining economically, socially, and environmentally successful communities. Our infrastructure system needs to include the latest technology to enhance our ability to connect and improve quality of life.
ASCE Policy Statement 557
First Approved 2018
Other ASCE policies related to SMART Cities:
PS 131 Growth and Development
PS 313 Infrastructure Research and Innovations
PS 444 The Role of the Federal Government in Civil Engineering Research and Development
PS 454 Intelligent Transportation Systems
PS 548 Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
PS 564 Broadband