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Albany, Chamblee, Chatham County and Gwinnett County will implement smart development through a Georgia Tech-led program

Four Georgia communities will partner with Georgia Tech to implement smart design solutions for issues the communities say are obstacles in our state. The projects are housing, traffic, autonomous vehicles, and sea level rise related.

The challenge partners the higher education institution with public agencies to help local governments implement smart development. If the strategies are successful, they will be used as models for other communities in Georgia.

The program provides seed funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice and a network of peers. A Georgia Tech researcher will advise and conduct research in support of each group’s goals.

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The winning proposals are:

  • Albany Housing Data Initiative. Led by the city of Albany the project will evaluate an automated housing registry. The system will allow for improved neighborhood infrastructure and revitalization and encourage a safe and sustainable housing inventory for the city. Assigned Georgia Tech researcher: Omar Isaac Asensio, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy.
  • Shared Autonomous Vehicle Study. Led by the city of Chamblee the project will study improvements in mobility through the use of autonomous vehicles that travel from MARTA stations into the community. This will reduce road congestion and increase pedestrian and traveler safety. Assigned Georgia Tech researcher: Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor in the School of Architecture.
  • Smart Sea Level Tools for Emergency Planning and Response. Led by Chatham County, this project will develop and test a pilot sensor network for measuring sea level flood risk during natural disasters and storms. The network will improve flood warnings, emergency response action plans and predictions for future flood events. Assigned Georgia Tech researcher: Kim Cobb, Georgia Power Chair and professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
  • Connected Vehicle Technology Master Plan. Led by Gwinnett County, this project will evaluate traffic management technologies for improved vehicle mobility throughout the region. The technology will improve safety and connectivity. Assigned Georgia Tech researcher: Angshuman Guin, senior research engineer in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The teams will each receive $50,000 in grants and $25,000 from Georgia Tech in researcher support. The selected communities each raised an additional $50,000.

In a press release, President G.P. “Bud” Peterson said, “Georgia Tech is excited at the opportunity to collaborate with four of Georgia’s dynamic communities in this inaugural Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. The enthusiasm for this new program has been gratifying, and we look forward to seeing how Georgia Tech’s research expertise and the communities’ vision of smart development mesh together to improve the lives of their citizens. These groundbreaking projects have the potential to become models for other communities around our state.”

Additional partners include: Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia Centers for Innovation, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Municipal Association, Global City Teams Challenge, Metro Atlanta Chamber and Technology Association of Georgia.

Work on the projects will begin in September and continue through September 2019.

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