Initiative 3

Implement policies and infrastructure to allow for urban technology experimentation

The City will implement policies and basic infrastructure that make Chicago friendly to technology experimentation, allowing Chicago to become a global leader in environmental sensing, spectrum research, and wireless connectivity, while enabling researchers to develop solutions to city problems.


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Chicago Cars

Urban sensing—collecting and using data from sensors in public urban spaces—is essential to the next generation of data science. By implementing access policies that respect individual privacy and installing basic infrastructure (including platforms with power/connectivity), Chicago will become a leader in this emerging field. In addition, Chicago looks to position itself at the forefront of advanced wireless research and development.

These policies and infrastructure will enable researchers to collect data at little cost to the City, will help attract technology companies and STEM talent, and could increase R&D money spent in Chicago.

Additionally, results from this experimentation can be used to help to solve city problems. Chicago expects to have these policies in place within the next six months, and basic infrastructure will be available to approved researchers shortly thereafter.

Solutions to many endemic urban challenges—from traffic congestion to river contaminants—require that we ‘see’ at a level of detail that is only available through sensor networks.

Charlie Catlett
Senior Computer Scientist
Argonne National Laboratory and
the University of Chicago