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Greater Cincinnati Thinks Forward: Leaders work together for innovative solutions to 21st century challenges

By 2030, the United Nations projects 60 percent of the world’s population will live in mega-cities, dramatically increasing demand for resources and services. In response, leaders worldwide have begun closely examining how critical amenities like connectivity and transport will impact human life, work and interaction in the decades to come.

The decisions we make now will inform those outcomes, and the pressure is on to find innovative and sustainable solutions.

Leaders in Greater Cincinnati are up to the task, employing collaborative leadership and applying innovative technology resources to keep the region globally competitive. Take a look at just a few areas where our region’s leaders are collaborating to tackle common challenges, in ways that are anything but ordinary:

  1. Promoting public-private investment to spur connectivity

Cincinnati Bell has invested more than $1 billion in fiber installation throughout the region, one of many technology upgrades Greater Cincinnati will rely on to maximize connectivity in the coming years. That investment is inspiring local communities to research and implement public wi-fi hotspots, public announcement and warning systems upgrades, augmented reality and AI technologies to power driverless vehicles and modern drones and other connectivity solutions.

The analysis of the massive amount of data that is generated by these technologies is just as vital in developing smart solutions. The City of Cincinnati has been recognized as a national leader in transparent governance, thanks to concerted efforts within its Office of Performance and Data Analytics to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve effective delivery of municipal services to citizens — just one more way leaders in Greater Cincinnati are improving communication and accountability for increased safety and convenience across our region.

  1. Leveraging CVG as a regional transportation asset

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), along with our region’s central proximity to most major U.S. markets, has long positioned Greater Cincinnati as a leader in logistics and transport. That position has strengthened with the addition of DHL’s second-largest shipping facility and the Amazon Prime Air cargo hub, making Greater Cincinnati an ideal launching ground for next-generation transport solutions.

In response, leaders at CVG recognized the potential for drone usage and worked with the Kentucky General Assembly to become the first U.S. airport to allow drones within five miles of the airport.

“The private side of this technology is ready to go and can’t be held back by government regulations, which are beginning to respond appropriately,” said CVG Chief Innovation Officer Brian Cobb, adding that drones flown at the appropriate altitude and clearance of runways pose little danger and significant upside for airport logistics and operations.

This change in legislation better positions our region for future smart transportation technologies like the ones being tested today.

  1. Implementing a unified vision for a more connected Greater Cincinnati

Leaders from across the region have come together to define a vision for our transportation future that connects more people to jobs, education, health care and more, with examples that include:

  • SORTA, our region’s largest bus system, developing a plan for improving Greater Cincinnati’s transit service with new and 24-hour routes, bus rapid transit, shuttle service partnerships with the University of Cincinnati and hospitals in Uptown and on-bus wi-fi.
  • Leaders from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, City of Cincinnati, the OKI regional metropolitan planning organization and regional transit authorities SORTA and TANK launching a first-of-its-kind partnership called the Cincinnati Mobility Lab, making our region a testing ground for integration of rideshare technology with public transit, municipal government and the private sector, while ensuring our transportation system is smarter and more responsive.
  • Next-generation transport solutions quickly moving out of the realm of science fiction and into testing grounds all over the country. Collaboration will be key in furthering research trials, said UC professor of Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics Shaaban Addallah, whose teams’ hyperloop designs have garnered international attention. “The biggest thing that we can do to move these solutions forward is work together to build further acceptance and excitement for big ideas.”

These are just a few of the solutions-oriented conversations underway across Greater Cincinnati. Our region has long been known for thinking big and rolling up our sleeves to make ideas reality. While some of these smart tech solutions may still seem a way off, our leaders in government, research and community development are already working together on initiatives that will position Greater Cincinnati as one of the future’s leading smart regions.