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Pitt, CMU Partner To Continue Smart Cities Plan Through New Program

Chuck Szmurko
The city is partnering with Pitt and CMU to continue it's Smart Cities ideas, even though it lost the challenge and missed out on a $50 million grant.

Though Pittsburgh lost out on the $50 million Smart Cities grant, city officials are still participating in a project called MetroLab, under the same federal initiative.

The MetroLab network is a city-university partnership that’s part of the White House’s Smart Cities project, where schools serve as research and development arms.

The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are working together on the project. Pittsburgh will act as the test bed for the technology that’s developed.

“We have a long history of working with the city and we identified three very solid projects that could really add value to the city,” said Rebecca Bagley, vice chancellor for economic partnership at the University of Pittsburgh.

Those projects include a grid of micro grids, designed to make the region’s energy system more efficient, sustainable and economical. It also includes converting city vehicles from gas to electric power and enabling county, city and other types of government data to be open to the public for use in different ways, such as hosting information from nonprofits, schools and other data providers.

"It really helps how to figure out how to reduce costs as well as implement new technologies into the database of the city," Bagley said.  

The Regional Data Center went live in October of last year. Other projects in the works are still in various stages of development.

Pittsburgh is one of 40 city-university partnerships in the MetroLab Network. Other metropolitan areas in the network include Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.