Looking back: our top 5 news stories from 2018

Mon, 2018-12-31 12:50 -- Doug Peeples

Reflecting on the year that has just passed is a time-honored tradition. And for those of us involved in smart cities that reflection provides an opportunity to evaluate the events and trends that could influence the decisions we make as we move forward. In that spirit we're sharing the five most widely-read news stories we published in 2018. — Doug Peeples

5. Chronic homelessness. Despite more low-income housing investment by most states, more than a third of the homeless are unsheltered. Our story details the issues and explains why early intervention for the newly homeless is critical.

4. Reducing food waste. The price tag for the food wasted in the U.S. in 2016 was $161 billion. Canada's food loss and waste strategy in a nationwide collaborative effort that calls for changes in regulations that govern how food handling and distribution is managed and other ways to recover safe, nutritious food rather than throw it away. While it's a nationwide strategy, several of its elements could be adapted by cities and/or incorporated into their existing food recovery and donation programs.

3. The future of mobility. We know city populations are growing at a steadily increasing rate as more and more people are drawn to the conveniences and opportunities of urban living. Unfortunately that also means more traffic congestion, which impacts a city's livability and its economic competitiveness. Our story makes the case for a solution: integrated intermodal transportation networks.

2. Cybersecurity threats. The number of cyberattacks is increasing in the U.S. and cities are now prime targets for them. Our story explains several types of cyberattacks, the legal implications for cities associated with those attacks and the critical importance of moving quickly to provide robust protections.

1. Smart connected streetlights. It may not come as a surprise that our most widely-read story for 2018 was about smart connected streetlights and the benefits they provide above and beyond lighting alone. They cost less to operate and maintain and can serve as a platform for a multitude of smart city applications, from air quality monitoring to gunshot detection. Our story notes that, surprisingly, most LED streetlight network conversions planned over the next several years aren't expected to have the connectivity to do those things — and makes the case for taking that next step and installing the controls and communications that enable a connected lighting network.