DowntownDC is Getting Smarter With New Technology

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

By Scott Pomeroy

(Image: 3D model of DowntownDC ecoDistrict/Autodesk® InfraWorks® 360)

From 3D modeling to pedestrian counters, new waste sensors, GIS mapping and real-time transportation information, data and technology are rapidly changing the way DowntownDC operates and is maintained.  

The new, “smart” Downtown and some of the latest technology partnerships underway in the District will be among the topics featured Sept. 15-17 at Smart Cities Week®, hosted at the Renaissance Hotel (999 9th Street NW) by the Smart Cities Council and Clarion. This multi-day event offers attendees an opportunity to learn about technologies “helping cities save money, build more robust economies and enhance citizens’ lives,” according to event organizers.  

At Smart Cities Week, the Finnish based company, Enevo, will showcase programs in Rotterdam and Helsinki where Enevo sensors are managing municipal waste and optimizing hauler routes to effect cost savings. The sensors work by providing hourly readings of the volume of containers and then recording how full they are when trash is collected.  

Several of these sensors are currently being installed in DowntownDC.  

"The sensor data makes it much easier for property management to establish the reporting baselines needed to calculate diversion rates and to achieve valuable LEED certification points” said DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) Sustainability Manager Scott Pomeroy. "The six Enevo sensors installed in Brookfield properties last May will soon have company as dozens more are being scheduled for installation."  

[Interested in registering for Enevo’s pilot trash sensor program in DowntownDC? Contact greening@downtowndc.org]  

The DowntownDC BID, in collaboration with the District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) is using the DowntownDC ecoDistrict as a lab to test energy and stormwater policies and incentives designed to achieve the District’s Sustainable DC goals to make the District a more sustainable city. 

“I want to test technology and policy scenarios for stormwater management before they roll out. For example, what is the mix of green infrastructure technology that will allow us to convert 75 percent of the landscape to capture rainwater? Understanding the technology options will inform our policy making,” said Interim Deputy Director of DOEE's new Urban Sustainability Administration Bill Updike.  

Using 3D simulation and “Big Data” analysis, as outlined in the “Smart Buildings Plan” prepared by Interface Engineering for DOEE, it is now possible to quantify sustainability benefits before implementing changes.    

Information on energy and stormwater technology in the BID will be showcased during Smart Cities Week at a presentation at 1:30pm on Sept. 15 called, “Sustainable Strategies for Energy and Stormwater Stewardship in Washington, D.C.,” presented by Updike and Emma Stewart, Head of Sustainability Solutions of Autodesk.  

At the DowntownDC BID, technology and data are directly changing the way the streets of Downtown function.  

Today, the BID’s red-uniformed Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance (SAM) employees use handheld devices to log defects in an application created by the BID’s public space management department. This application for the first time combines data on conditions—such as broken pavers and graffiti— with GIS mapping, creating a real-time data mapping system which has helped increase the number of resolved conditions in DowntownDC.  

The public space management team is also using technology to create for the first time an accurate estimation of foot traffic in Chinatown. As nightlife increases in the Chinatown neighborhood, so has foot traffic, and by installing pedestrian counters in the Gallery Place-area, the BID and stakeholders can now more accurately characterize needs and make better informed planning decisions.  

There are many ways yet to be discovered that technology can help support DowntownDC. Attend Smart Cities Week Sept. 15-17 and find out more about what technology you can use today.  

Register today