The town of Stafford, VA has been christened the “Smart City Test Bed” and will serve as a proving ground for other communities considering how to enhance their towns through technology. As the Potomac Local News reports, officials in Stafford have been working with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and will soon unveil the first phase of the project.
At the center of the project is the county courthouse. When launched, smart city wireless technology will connect residents and visitors to a wealth of resources ranging from local attractions, to government services, to traffic management, to suggested eateries. A test drive of the Downtown Stafford project is scheduled for May 25.
“Smart is bigger than technology,” stated Stafford County Economic Development Director John Holden.
Project enthusiasts are betting that this proves to be true since bigger also comes with a big price tag. So far, $1 million has been spent on the Smart City Test Bed, leaving some to wonder if the money would have been better spent on other ventures, like the ongoing overhaul of Aquia Town Center and The Garrison shopping and residential complex.
“We [the CIT] have funded what I would call the core digital infrastructure of the testbed,” said CIT spokesperson David Ihrie. “Going forward, the intent is to use the test bed as a place to demonstrate and test additional technologies that we think have the potential to advance smart communities, digitally-enabled government services etc. The test bed has garnered widespread interest for potential use.”
Supporters like Garrisonville District Supervisor Mark Dudenehfer are all in, acknowledging that there will be challenges, but committed to the possibilities of the smart city. “Sometimes, when you’re out there on the tip of the spear, you can’t answer all of the questions about what the future holds,” he noted, according to the Potomac Local News.