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Kansas City to offer ‘smart’ city features along streetcar line

When the new Kansas City streetcar line opens in March, it will have high-tech add-ons like public Wi-Fi and digital kiosks. (KC Streetcar)

Kansas City will launch a streetcar line next year that could redefine this transit option for the 21st century. Lynn Horsley and Mark Davis report for the Kansas City Star that the 2.2-mile (3.5-kilometer) stretch through downtown will feature a host of high-tech add-ons. 

The entire route is to include free Wi-Fi, allowing pedestrians along the streets to easily connect mobile devices to the Internet. Energy-efficient intelligent lighting would provide illumination while sensors are to collect data on everything from pavement conditions to water pipe leaks. Twenty-five interactive digital kiosks will provide information about cultural events, dining options, businesses and city services, the article says.

The initiative backed by Mayor Sly James is a collaboration among the city government, Cisco and the telephone carrier Sprint, which is headquartered nearby. The city is investing US$3.7 million in the project. Sprint and Cisco combined are contributing US$12 million. The streetcar line is expected to open on March 1 of next year. “If the system works well, it could be expanded beyond downtown,” Horsley and Davis write. 

Kansas City Star

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