Chula Vista’s 24-Year Smart City Plan Is Leading the Way
Chula Vista is seven miles south of its famous tech relative San Diego yet, the little city of 265,000 is punching a big hole through the smart city tech landscape.
The Beginnings of a Smart City
In 2013, it installed LED streetlights in a pilot project, did a retrofit to install them citywide, and the city’s officials are now in a pilot to test smart streetlights. Chula Vista was one of 10 regions chosen as autonomous vehicle proving ground with its local network of streets and roadways acting as a testing area for self-driving vehicles. The city was chosen as one of 10 finalists in the Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant program.
The 24-Year Plan
10 years have been put in by city officials to create a plan to be completed in four phases to redevelop over five acres on its waterfront to include smart city technology that will spill into downtown. Phase one is focused on reducing energy use in the bayfront development. The long-term plan concentrates on energy efficiency, smart devices, data analytics, and software to revamp infrastructures such as lighting, wifi, and other city services. A rough completion timeline of phase one is 2021 or 2022, depending on when the 30-month construction starts.
Since this waterfront smart city overhaul is meant as a testing bed before expanding further, sustainability is an important part of the whole project. The bayfront buildings will use 50 percent less energy than required, as well as include smart transportation like extending the existing trolley system in the area to integrate it with vehicles and pedestrian traffic. There are also plans to incorporate an autonomous driving shuttle bus from downtown to the bayfront to transport visitors.
The master plan includes how to build out the city using high-speed fiber internet service that can support thing like live streaming video to the police department for public safety. If other cities take a similar interest and lead in smart cities, many of the problems facing us today could disappear.