COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The City of Colorado Springs is on its way to becoming a "smart city." According to city officials, that means finding different ways new technology can help solve problems in the Pikes Peak Area.
"Living life in cities is getting progressively more difficult," said Tyler Svitak with the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance. "Cities are getting more and more strain on their infrastructure and the climate is changing. There are a lot of reasons that technology and innovation can help improve people's lives every day."
There are a lot of new technologies coming to the city. First, a smart waste program that's currently being evaluated. The trash bins have internal sensors to detect when it's at capacity, reducing the need for employees to check them and empty trash that doesn't need to be emptied yet. Right now, there are 30 bins downtown to expand through the entire city.
Another new technology is smart parking. The city currently has smart meters, mobile pay, and sensors to detect parking frequency in certain areas. But something new called 'spot parking' is launching soon. That will provide a digital image identifying live, free parking, and meter parking availability.
"I like to hear people came downtown and had a nice meal, went and had a drink with friends, went shopping," Colorado Springs Parking Enterprise Director Scott Lee said. "Not that they couldn't find a parking spot, that they paid too much for parking, or worse yet they drove around and left."
Irrigation is the biggest cost for the Colorado Springs Parks Department. Recently, they installed technology which measures how much water each particular park needs based on weather.
"We can also measure exactly how much water needs to go on that park," Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Director Britt Haley said. "So we're no longer overwatering, we're watering exactly what is needed."
Next in the 'Smart Parks' initiative is the process of turf conversion in the City's parks to native species, which officials say works better economically.
Also, roadway collection vehicles monitor and gather information on streets. Such as lane markings, cracks, and street signs. But they're working on ideas to include video imagery of sidewalk data as well.
"The way we're moving ahead now is concrete," Colorado Springs Public Works Operations and Maintenance Manager Corey Farkas said. "So sidewalk data collection. Which has been difficult because we can't drive this van on the sidewalks. So we're looking into different options with new technologies with either lidar and video imagery."
Mountain Metro transit services launched an app in May of 2022 for people to find routes and buy tickets online as part of Phase 1. In progress is Phase 2, which is a smart car system.
Lastly, the City is working on installing a fiber network that all of the smart technologies around the city would connect to. It would also give residents within city limits faster and cheaper internet if they choose to connect to it through Colorado Springs Utilities.
For more information on SmartCOS, click here.