Skip Descant

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas for Government Technology magazine.

Posted By Skip Descant

Oct 18

East Bay Hub Picked as Test Site for AV Shuttles

Local Motors, which makes the Olli AV shuttle, will partner with both GoMentum, an enormous vehicle test site in the Bay Area, and AAA Northern California to further fine-tune connected-vehicle technology around small, electric shuttles, making the vehicles perhaps the most promising form of autonomous transportation in the near term.
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Oct 7

Midsize Cities Hold Key to Innovations in Smart Mobility

As the experts see it, midsize cities are the ideal places to test and develop new ways of getting around. During a symposium in Sacramento last week, thought leaders discussed the issue and where strides could be made.
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Sep 19

Traffic Data Generates Off-Road Applications

Collaboration between a Southern California land conservation nonprofit and a traffic analytics firm is paying off as officials get a better idea how many visitors are flocking to parks.
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Sep 6

SF Metro Area Toll Bridges Go Electronic

Seven Bay Area toll bridges will move away from accepting cash payments over the next several years.
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Jun 13

State, Others, Mull Cybercrime Risk at EV Charging Stations

As electric vehicle charging stations proliferate, so could the potential for cybercrime. A new report suggests a possible solution, and a state board will weigh another option later this month.
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Jun 5

Counties Contemplating Upgrade to Next-Gen 911

Digital replacements, capable of pinpointing caller locations and handling more data faster, are in the pipeline. The state is assisting various counties in their Next-Gen 911 projects in the form of funding and project management.
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May 31

DMV Hears Comment on Regulations for Testing AV Delivery Vehicles

The California Department of Motor Vehicles heard comments on Thursday from industry, business and transportation planning officials and others, about new regulations that would set up testing of autonomous light-duty delivery vehicles.
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May 22

San Diego Makes Strong Bet on IoT, Telematics and Apps

The city is in the midst of one of the biggest IoT deployments in North America, involving cameras, microphones and sensors, that will help understand how people move through San Diego's streets.
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May 20

Santa Clara County Redefines 'Street Smart'

With highly intelligent traffic signals on major 10-lane arterial roads, the county has been using cloud technology and edge computing to control the flow of traffic for the benefit of cars, bicycles and pedestrians.
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Apr 25

California Leads With Hydrogen-Powered Electric Cars

The state has just 39 hydrogen refueling stations, but could have as many as 1,000 stations by 2030, enough to jump-start the little-known, but environmentally friendly, specialized electric-car market.
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Apr 19

Local Police Agency Lands Wider Drone Deployment

The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized a San Diego-area police agency to operate drones beyond the "visual line of sight."
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Mar 25

Ten Finalists Emerge in Smart Cities Readiness Challenge

Five winners will be selected during the Smart Cities Week conference April 15-17 in San Diego. Those cities will become part of the year-long Readiness Program to scale up smart city visions into reality.
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Mar 1

Technology Could Help Manage, Care for Stressed L.A. Trees

In a new report, Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin explores using remote sensing, mapping and data sharing to aid in cataloging and managing the city's urban tree population, which could decline 30 percent in the next 10 years without proper care.
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Feb 22

Sac State Rolls Out Electric Bus in Driverless Pilot Program

The first self-driving shuttle has just launched at Sac State, and although it's for a three-month pilot, it’s likely here to stay. The electric, eight-passenger vehicles — which will be 3-D printed — will connect riders from a parking garage to classroom buildings.
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Feb 19

Electric Car Programs Need to Remember the Needy

Electric vehicle car-shares, charging ports and other pieces of the green mobility future may go unused in many communities if the projects fail to understand local needs or the communities the projects hope to serve.
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Feb 1

Other States Following Sacramento's Lead on Digital License Plates

Arizona is joining California in offering motorists the ability to upgrade their metal license plates to an electronic, digital version, opening the door to easily changeable plate numbers, messaging, and even a “find my vehicle” feature, thanks to the technology’s wireless connectivity. The plates are made in California, and the city of Sacramento is piloting a program using them on some city cars.
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Jan 17

BART App Allows Multi-Modal Trip Planning

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system has released an upgraded trip-planning application that considers transit data from more than 30 transportation operators across nine counties in the San Francisco metro area, providing easy door-to-door travel.
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Jan 8

AAA Acquires GoMentum, Nation's Largest Autonomous Vehicle Test Site

The largest autonomous vehicle test site in the United States has been acquired by AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah, one of the most familiar car-club brands in the country.
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Dec 19

State Board OKs Rule Making Transit Buses Emission-Free by 2040

The Innovative Clean Transit rule, three years in the making, is designed to spur adoption of electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles while not placing too great a burden on transit agencies.
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Nov 29

A Meeting of the Minds: Change Management Key to Smart Cities

How Verizon and Sacramento approach their partnership to deliver solutions like 5G, free Wi-Fi in city parks and digital kiosks may evolve, but neighborhood-level issues and the importance of the underlying 4G and 5G infrastructure won't change, officials from the company and the city said recently.
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Nov 2

Sacramento Gets Dibs in EV Car-Sharing Program

Two apartment complexes in Sacramento are getting early access to a car-sharing program that’s starting small in largely disadvantaged neighborhoods, with plans to spread to other areas.
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Oct 30

Sacramento in Vanguard of Driverless-Microshuttle Project

Businesses, schools, government agencies or others eyeing small, driverless shuttles have a new opportunity to try out the technology during a largely free trial in Sacramento.
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Oct 11

Silicon Valley City Plans RFPs to Use Data, Apps to EaseTraffic

Its Silicon Valley location has long been a boon to the tech-forward city of Fremont, but that proximity has brought with it a significant rise in commuter traffic. Now, city officials hope that joining the Startup in Residence program and leveraging a partnership with the makers of a popular travel app will help them manage gridlock by keeping drivers on the freeway.
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Oct 9

Alliance to Spend Millions Targeting California in EV Awareness Campaign

If Californians are not already familiar with the details of electric cars, a new multimillion-dollar ad campaign wants to change that. Veloz, a nonprofit alliance of carmakers, electric utilities, policymakers and others, will launch the informational campaign, known as Electric For All, to raise awareness about electric vehicles in the state.
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Oct 4

Fiber Optic Master Plan Guides City's Future

In the coming years, the public library in San Leandro could have more than just books and movies to lend out: Patrons may also be able to check out a mobile Wi-Fi hot-spot device. The plan to become a smarter city includes moves like upgrading traffic signals to the latest intelligent tech to better manage traffic, as well as a bevy of sensors and cameras to enhance public safety.
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