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Skip Descant

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas for Government Technology magazine.

A $30 million project to modernize bus shelters in Los Angeles considers them as mobility hubs that could house modern amenities like digital screens, e-bike and e-scooter docking, dimmable lights and movable shade structures.
California county supervisors were among the members of the National Association of Counties who went in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to extend funding for a program providing subsidies to help low-income households afford broadband Internet service.
Míocar, a nonprofit car-sharing platform, is expanding its reach across the Central Valley, bringing electric vehicles and expanded transportation options to low-income communities.
Transportation officials in the San Francisco Bay Area are working on a plan to use Glydcars — small, electric and autonomous vehicles — to make last-mile connections to more traditional forms of transit.
California continues to be the outlying leader in the transition to EVs. Some 21 percent of new car sales were electric this year. Forty percent of zero-emission vehicles sold in the United States are sold in the state.
California and some other states are already moving forward with adopting new rules to require the transition of truck fleets to zero-emission vehicles, with drayage fleets serving large ports to be fully electric by 2035.
The Long Beach Collaboratory has been created to provide a new form of citizen engagement where residents can be chosen to join collaborative teams to identify technology pilot projects for their neighborhoods.
More than 380 loading zones in Oakland will be turned into smart zones, allowing for commercial fleets — like parcel and other deliveries — to seamlessly park and pay by the minute.
California plans to invest more than $5.5 billion in state funding toward electric vehicle charging infrastructure and incentive programs. This is in addition to some $384 million in federal funding.
A partnership among state agencies in California and a local transit provider has developed an easy-to-use app where seniors can quickly confirm their eligibility for their fare discount, and then simply tap their credit or debit card as they board the bus.
Fremont has long been the manufacturing hub of the Silicon Valley tech ecosystem, but it is quickly becoming a focal point in the battery and green energy storage space as the need for the technology increases.
Regional government organizations in Sacramento and Denver have taken an oversight and data collection role in micromobility operations, showing that they are well-positioned to navigate these planning efforts.
L.A. Metro has turned to technology to monitor and enforce dedicated bus lane rules. Metro plans to issue a request for proposals this summer that would identify a technology partner for wider application on other bus routes.
Cities like Los Angeles worked fast during the COVID-19 pandemic to radically change the way we think about sidewalks, curbs and parking areas. Many of the changes government and businesses made, some through technology, are here to stay.
A bill introduced in the state Legislature aims to make the transit experience across the San Francisco Bay Area’s 27 providers more seamless. The bill would appoint a regional commission to lead the effort.
A new no-touch fare system at Santa Maria Regional Transit is making rides free for students at the local community college. The change has made the system more efficient on several levels.
The city’s pick for the C-level post comes from within City Hall and brings with him a dedication to digital inclusion.
LA Secure, a new free app for riders of buses and trains across the Los Angeles Metro system, alerts riders of malicious links, rogue Wi-Fi signals and other cybersecurity threats associated with using public transit Wi-Fi.
The California Department of General Services has issued a request for proposal to make it easier for transit providers in the state to acquire the needed hardware and software to support contactless payment systems.
A traffic signal upgrade project will involve 26 intersections around the University of California, San Diego. The project will use adaptive software to enhance mobility across the region.
La Quinta, in Southern California’s lush Coachella Valley, has turned to an AI-powered solution that mines real estate transactions and other data to zero in on the homes that are operating as unpermitted vacation rentals.
A plan to modernize IT and better enable a work-from-anywhere posture in Santa Monica served the city well when the COVID-19 pandemic reshuffled city services and how they are delivered.
Three augmented reality projects have been awarded $20,000 each by US Ignite to develop projects that use AR technology to address city concerns like transportation, education or health care.
Ticketing and trip-planning across some half-dozen transit providers in San Joaquin County have been brought under one app, allowing for an easy jump for riders moving from one system to another.
A study conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University found that cybersecurity protocols and general concern about cyberthreats were inadequate across many agencies.
“This venture has the potential to be a key driver of jobs in L.A. and to knit together the fabric of our transportation systems as a low-noise, all electric, accessible and affordable option for getting around,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
“We wanted to identify how to deploy such a service in San Jose in different locales. Is it suitable for all of our city streets?” said Andrea Arjona, transportation specialist with the San Jose Department of Transportation.
Fleet management officials in the capital and elsewhere are using technology to better track their vehicles and gain detailed insights into vehicle operations for both gas- and electric-powered autos.
The information harvested from e-scooters and newer forms of mobility has helped San Diego shape the way these types of vehicles will become a part of the city.
The legislation is designed to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure in underserved communities as well as create a new program within the California Energy Commission to fund school upgrades through electric ratepayer-funded energy efficiency efforts.