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Georgia Smart Communities Challenge selects four new community projects

After a successful launch in 2018, Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Communities Challenge named four new grant recipients at a special event at the government center in Macon on June 18, 2019.

Georgia Power has been a key sponsor since the challenge's launch, which serves as a funding and technical assistance program for local governments in the state of Georgia. Grant recipients are tasked with developing pilot projects promoting mobility, equity and smart resilience.

Projects utilize smart technology, such as intelligent infrastructures; and information and communication technologies, such as data centers and portals, web and smartphone applications; and automated digital services.

Each grant recipient is assisted by a Georgia Tech researcher.

“The Smart Communities Challenge, at its core, is about helping communities thrive and grow for the future,” said Pedro Cherry, executive vice president of customer service and operations for Georgia Power. “At Georgia Power, we share in that commitment to building a bright future for our state and we know that technology plays a critical role. Working with a leading research university like Georgia Tech and investing in smart, innovative solutions with local community partners is just one way we are doing our part.”

The 2019 winning Communities Challenge proposals were from Columbus Smart Uptown, Macon Smart Neighborhoods, Milton Smarter Safer Routes to School, and Woodstock Smart Master Plan and Corridor Study.

Below is the summary of each of the new projects:

Columbus Smart Uptown, Columbus-Muscogee County. The project seeks to improve safety and security, transportation systems, and connectivity to drive economic growth in the uptown district through the installation of Internet-of-Things devices, providing public Wi-Fi and integrating data into management.

Georgia Tech researchers involved will include John Taylor of civil engineering and director of the Network Dynamics Lab, Neda Mohammadi of civil engineering and Russ Clark of the College of Computing. The collaborators will include Uptown Columbus and the Muscogee County Schools.

Macon Smart Neighborhoods, Macon-Bibb County. This project will address underserved areas of the community by installing smart kiosks that will provide internet connectivity and on-demand services. This will promote community empowerment and give an equal voice to all residents.

Working with Arthi Rao of the Georgia Tech College of Design and the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, the project’s collaborators will include the Macon Transit Authority, Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority, Downtown Business Improvement District, Eisenhower Business Improvement District, Bibb County Schools, Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University, Central Georgia Technical College and Wesleyan College.

Milton Smarter Safer Routes to School, City of Milton. To promote walking and biking to school, this project will create a network of programmed devices, such as smart phones to connect students and parents and arrange supervised groups, designate safe primary routes and provide wait times for students wishing to join the walking/biking groups.

Kari Watkins and Angshuman Guin of the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering will provide technical assistance, and the key collaborator is Fulton County Schools.

Woodstock Smart Master Plan and Corridor Study, City of Woodstock. This project will conduct a smart corridor and infrastructure study to improve mobility and congestion in the city and deal with rapid growth and uneven commuting patterns.

Ramachandra Sivakumar of the Georgia Tech College of Design and Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization will consult. Collaborators will include the Woodstock Downtown Development Authority and Black Airplane design and development agency.

Collaborators in the Georgia Smart program include Georgia Tech, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions, Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Municipal Association, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Planning Association, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Technology Association of Georgia, and Georgia Power.

Learn more about the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge at