Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg praises smart city innovation at CES
In a virtual address last week, Buttigieg said he anticipates cities that will be built on connected technology and guided by policy that encourages collaboration.
Smart cities and the capabilities of connected infrastructure were a focal point of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s virtual address to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week.
“In our lifetimes, we could see truly smart cities built on the connected technology showcased at CES, where cars, buses and infrastructure all communicate with each other to plot safer routes and use less energy,” Buttigieg said.
He also praised cities and states for their innovative responses to the pandemic, noting that “some of the most important innovations were deceptively low-tech.” He pointed to the ways that local leaders have encouraged more walking and biking, in addition to the new ways that cities have used outdoor space for dining. He also said that small solutions like self-healing pavement to reduce potholes “may do more for Americans in our lifetime” than highly exclusive commercial space travel.
The transportation secretary also focused on the public sector’s role in guiding innovation toward the public good. Recalling the history of transportation in the United States, from railroads and aircraft to GPS and e-scooters, he pointed out the role of government in the development of these technologies through basic research, funding and the development of essential infrastructures such as highways and airports.
Looking ahead, Buttigieg outlined six principles the U.S. Department of Transportation is establishing to guide their work on transportation innovation. He described the principles by saying that innovation is not an end in itself, but a chance to improve everyday life. Innovation should help the country “win the 21st century,” support workers, allow for experimentation and learn from setbacks, he said.