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Arizona cities brace for more smart tech on their streets

(Wikimedia Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona cities are bracing for smarter technology hitting their streets.

Imagine street and traffic lights that switch on, but only when you walk or drive by.

“It’s not only reducing the cost of the electricity, but also [helping] some of the residential areas that do not wish to be illuminated at the same level,” Jeff Jenq, a program manager with the Maricopa Association of Governments, said.

He said he envisions smart infrastructure, increased mobility and other unimagined applications will improve community efficiency.

“All three together, married together, I think is just going to improve our way of life in the future,” Jenq said.

Arizona’s “smart cities” movement also aims to make businesses and residences more efficient.

Alika Kumar, executive director of Phoenix’s Minority Business Development Agency, said she wonders if neighbors and businesses could coordinate via smartphone apps.

“Could there be alternative ride-sharing?,” she asked. “What about apps to make it more effective to use, and quicker to use so that we can reduce pollution?”

Kumar says “smart cities” could also help businesses identify clientele they may have missed.

“It’s an open space where people can start to be creative, and think about where they can fit in, and where they can create a solution customized to the problems in their community,” she said.

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