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Atlanta takes part in Smart Cities Initiative

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Tim Rasmussen drives around Atlanta a lot dealing with traffic. “Honestly anything that helps is welcomed by me right now especially rush hour wise,” Rasmussen said. What might help is something Atlanta is taking part in. The Smart City Initiative means all these cities can share ideas and possible traffic solutions that may work in other areas. “Transportation and mobility by far is the number one issue every city is faced with and smart city technology is really paving the way to move the needle there,” Atlanta Chief Information Officer Samir Saini said. He describes what some smart technology could allow the city to do. “The ability for us to actually change the timing of the signals on our lights to align with near real time traffic flow conditions,” Saini said.

There can also be the use of camera systems to track and record data of cars, speed, and turns. Some people have raised privacy concerns. Saini says the city is addressing that. “Very clear about not capturing any and storing any personally identifiable information about our citizens,” Saini said. Drivers are hoping the right information is gathered and used to improve traffic in Atlanta. “Everybody’s got a smart phones now and everyone uses GPS to get around so yeah definitely if we can incorporate our lights and stuff like that into it then yes whatever it takes to help works for me,” Rasmussen said.

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Karnataka's smart cities project is on track. With special purpose vehicles (SPVs) for four of the six cities set up and work on incorporating the SPVs of other two cities in the final stages of completion, the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (KUIDFC), the nodal agency for the project in the state, is now focusing on ensuring that project management consultants are in place to guide the boards of respective SPVs discharge their mandate.Ministry of urban development has selected Belagavi, Davangere, Tumakuru, Shivamogga, Hubballi-Dharwad and Mangaluru for the project. SPVs have already been set up for Belagavi, Davangere, Tumakuru and Shivamogga, and the process of setting up a SPV for Hubballi-Dharwad is in the final stages. Even Mangaluru is expected to join these five cities by completing the registration process of the SPV under the Companies Act by March-end. V Ponnuraj, managing director, KUIDFC and mission director, Smart City project, Karnataka told TOI that the government has appointed independent CEOs for Belagavi, Davangere and Tumakuru and the commissioners of Shivamogga, Hubballi-Dharwad and Mangaluru city corporations will be the interim managing directors of the SPVs of their respective cities. The government will take a call on appointing independent CEOs- an officer of IAS rank to these cities- soon. KUIDFC is now focusing on appointing project management consultants (PMCs) for the SPVs so that detailed project reports can be prepared and work on their implementation as per plans drawn up by the respective cities in their smart cities bids initiated, he said. While PMCs have been appointed for Belagavi and Davangere, this process for other cities is on as technical bids are being evaluated, Ponnuraj said. Each of these smart cities will receive Rs 200 crore funds every year - Rs 100 crore each from central and state governments - for five years to implement the smart cities solutions decided by the stakeholders in the cities as per priorities drawn by them. The department has so far received 60 winning proposals entailing investment of Rs 1,31,762 crore. This includes Rs 1,05,621 crore proposals for total area based development and Rs 26,141 crore for pan city solutions.

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