The Austin CityUP Consortium aims to advance the quality of life for all Austinites through innovative smart cities approaches. Smart cities use data and analytics to improve their operations, services, infrastructure, environment, and overall quality of life. Smart cities will automate and optimize many civic services (e.g., automatic traffic signals to reduce congestion, autonomous buses, smart power grids, etc.) and improve human decisions (e.g., help police and firefighters monitor and assess dangers) that improve civic and social outcomes.
The smart cities concept is similar to how companies now use corporate and customer data for analytics that improves their operations, products, and services. However, most urban data is not yet collected, and most cities are in the early stages of understanding the how-to instrument themselves and to use analytics. Cities are expansive physical environments of buildings and infrastructure (with weather and other external forces), and cities have comprehensive, diverse responsibilities including public safety, mobility, energy, education, housing, health and social services, and more. The opportunities are tremendous, but the challenges are significant—hence the slow adoption of smart cities approaches.
Since the challenges are so complex, smart cities’ efforts require the collaborative efforts and collective expertise of many stakeholder groups to understand the issues and to design, develop, deploy, measure, and sustain smart cities solutions.
Austin CityUP was created in 2015 to bring these stakeholders together to evaluate, initiate, and accelerate smart cities efforts in Austin, and has grown to 40+ member organizations: companies (from startups to global technology leaders), government departments and agencies, non-profits organizations, higher education, and community groups and interested individuals. These diverse members share a common interest: to use smart cities approaches to improve cities and lives. With the launch in late 2019 of the first Austin CityUPinitiated project—the Affordable Housing Data Portal—Austin CityUP is now identifying additional new projects and potential civic solutions.