The Kansas-based engineering firm said that nine out of 10 people respondents regarding smart cities “transformational", and that cities and utilities are viewing the adoption of ‘smart cities’ technologies as important to preserve resources.
The company notes that municipal governments face challenges in planning and financing smart cities projects.
Black and Veatch received 778 responses to its survey from people with utilities, commercial businesses, municipalities and providers of “smart services”.
Why the surge in interest in smart cities?
A report “2016 Smart City/Smart Utility” put together by Black & Veatch, as a result of the survey which took place from mid-October to mid-November last year, noted that respondents’ opinion of smart cities, was that they are “transformational and will have a positive long-term impacts on cities around the world.”
The engineering firm said that one indication of increased interest in the smart cities movement was that the survey got five times as many government responses as the previous survey later in 2014.
[quote] It added that interested parties noted that little had been done in terms of smart cities development. Just over half of Black & Veatch survey respondents said that their local municipalities “do not understand” the movement.
Local news source Kansas City, said that Kansas has “embraced the movement” and has taken steps toward expanding broadband access, a streetcar line and increasing the number of electric vehicle charging stations.
Additional smart cities drivers
Other survey findings, notes Black & Veatch, is that a high-speed data network was among the three most important smart city systems to invest in first, followed by energy management systems, smart water systems, smart transportation, smart buildings, smart electric grid and renewable and distributed energy generation.
Primary drivers of municipalities establishing smart cities initiatives include improved efficiency and reduced costs, environmental and resource sustainability and better overall management of community systems.
On the other hand, the main hurdles for governments in smart cities development were budget constraints, lack of resources or expertise, policy hurdles and ownership across departments.
Lastly, less than 8 per cent of survey respondents though a smart city model would be implemented in the US in five years, while 36 per cent though that it would take up to 10 years, and 22 per cent that it would take 11 to 15 years to get a smart city model up and running.