‘We need to make changes now, or we’ll be left behind: New Orleans City Council announces Smart City plan

NEW ORLEANS -- Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell and City Council members spoke at Wednesday's press conference at the Pan American Life Center on Poydras Street -- and their main message: We want to make New Orleans a smart city, and we need to start making changes now, or we'll be left behind.

"New Orleans is on the move to becoming an official smart City in every way and every capacity," said Cantrell.

"This once again is a generational opportunity for our city to be proactive— not be the last on the list — but first on the list, integrating all these amazing technologies into a comprehensive program to improve our city," said New Orleans City Council President and Utility Chair Jason Williams.

All the speakers emphasized how this has to be a cooperative effort between the council and the administration. This smart city idea is a campaign being adopted across the globe. Smart cities use the internet and technology to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services. They connect citizens, improve the quality of life, and foster sustainability.

One of the city's first smart city goals? Upgrading Entergy structures and technology. They also want to increase energy efficiency for both private and public buildings in the city, broadening the use of electric vehicles, especially city vehicles. They also want to move in more electric vehicle charging stations.

They strive to be more efficient but also safer, utilizing gunshot sensors, smart street lights, and crime data and analysis. The technology will also provide more effective tools for traffic and crowd management, especially during major events.

They also want to expand wireless communications, including lower-income residents. Councilman Williams said "access to state-of-the-art technology cannot be a luxury enjoyed by a few; it must be a necessity shared by all."

Sot lots of ideas on the board, but these are just ideas right now. No numbers yet. The committee is speaking with experts right now about the initiative. The next step, this resolution goes to the council on their February agenda.