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Photo Credit: FirstBuild

It’s a universal problem: Where can I charge my cell phone?

We use our cell phones to manage our day-to-day lives and, often our lives are on the go. So, when our cell phone battery runs out, we lose a key tool to navigate the modern world.

As part of #SmartRussell, Louisville Metro’s Office of Civic Innovation & Technology is building a public Wi-Fi network in the Russell neighborhood, and early in our community conversations about the project we heard that exact question: “Where can I charge my cell phone?”

We needed a solution inexpensive enough to widely deploy, but rugged enough to survive heavy usage and the elements. There weren’t any available commercial solutions, so we turned to FirstBuild and the Russell community itself to help us co-create a new solution to this universal problem. …

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You don’t have to try hard to find the hot new transportation innovation. It’s on your social media feed, it’s on the news, and, most glaringly, it’s on your streets. Disruptive transportation technologies are the norm, not the exception these days. And, the challenging thing about them: no one, not even the companies building them, know all the ways their product will change the way our cities work. Or, if they do, they don’t do a great job sharing, educating or working with local governments.

At Louisville Metro, our cross-functional Mobility Innovation Team (MIT) to provides a forum for local transportation agencies, both in and out of Metro, to learn about and start to prepare for the innovations we see coming and the ones that get dropped on us. Local practitioners and national experts share first-hand experience and knowledge about the newest transportation developments on topics such as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), electric vehicles & scooters, ridesharing, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), and so forth. The forum provides a physical place to learn, discuss and debate how new technologies will impact Louisville Metro’s transportation ecosystem. And, when appropriate, the MIT will take on projects to incorporate innovations into our local mobility system. …

NOTE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have shifted more funding to this project.

Residents of the Russell Neighborhood experience the consequences of the digital divide firsthand. Based on FCC data, up to 80% do not have a home internet connection. A lack of connectivity at home prevents kids from doing homework, adults from finding employment and even families from getting access to government services. Life is moving online and if you don’t have connection at home, you are at a disadvantage.

Learn how Louisville Metro is bridging the digital divide

The Vision Russell Transformation Plan identifies the lack of connectivity to information as a barrier for the neighborhood. With that in mind, Louisville Metro is building a public Wi-Fi network in the Russell neighborhood to provide basic internet access to residents. We do not think this solves the digital divide in Russell, but we do think it’s important to have a multi-prong approach. This network will connect Russell residents and visitors to relevant information about their community and opportunities to improve their lives and neighborhood. …


Ed Blayney

@OPI2Lou #iteam project manager, #localgov, #smartcity, #mobility,#digitalinclusion, #civictech, wannabe policy wonk #Veteran #RollTide #TarHeel

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