Greater Washington Smart Region Movement

The Greater Washington Smart Region Movement is a broad and diverse group of government, business, and community stakeholders working together to make Greater Washington the most digitally enabled region in the United States. Its long-term objective is to create a region-wide, harmonized system of smart city technologies to increase livability and accelerate inclusive economic growth.

To create the nation’s leading digitally enabled region

To be the best at providing a trusted, secure, and inclusive digital environment that helps people and businesses thrive, is driven by our communities, and is enabled by our unique assets

The three founding partners of the Greater Washington Smart Region Movement collectively represent hundreds of nonprofit, government, private sector, and academic organizations, forming the most comprehensive cross-sector partnership for smart regional growth in the United States.

The Greater Washington Board of Trade represents a wide range of organizations, from nonprofits to construction companies, law firms, technology companies, and professional services firms. By facilitating focused conversations among its members, the Board of Trade will lead thinking on what upgrades the region needs to become more livable and inclusive.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments represents 300 government officials across 24 local governments. It will help to build a supportive and consistent public policy framework so that new technologies align with regional priorities and don’t stop working at jurisdictional borders.

The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area represents 17 institutions and nearly 290,000 students. It will help ensure that the region’s educational and training programs can prepare its workforce for the employment opportunities on the horizon. It will also help identify research and development partners for testing new technological solutions.

Additionally, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has joined as a strategic partner. It will draw upon its experience as a cross-jurisdictional transit authority to help the movement navigate legal, policy, and regulatory issues; identify smart city projects already underway; develop public awareness campaigns; and other activities that are necessary to move critical digital infrastructure projects forward in our region.

In the News

Access to transit, traffic, congestion to be addressed in Metro DC ‘Smart Region’ efforts, WTOP, March 14

New consortium sets vision for Washington region to be national leader in finding digital solutions to problems, Washington Post, March 19

DC groups form comprehensive partnership for smart regional growth, Smart City Dive, March 20

Building the Smart Infrastructure the Region Deserves, What’s Working in Washington (podcast), April 7

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of smart city technologies and digital infrastructure?

Digital infrastructure and the technology solutions that follow can help citizens enjoy a high quality of life while making the region more efficient and productive. The following outcomes are typical of smart city projects observed around the world:

  • 15-20 percent reduction in commute times
  • 30-40 percent reduction in crime
  • 20-35 percent improvement in emergency response time
  • More efficient use of energy and water
  • More meaningful citizen engagement

What does a smart region look like?

The technological foundation of a smart region is widespread connectivity, secure and trusted systems for data collection and analysis leading to more responsive infrastructure and amenities, and a reliable, clean, and resilient electrical grid. The human foundation is a system that allows people to work across jurisdictions and sectors to execute projects for the public good. With those foundations in place, the region can explore hundreds of smart applications that make daily life easier, safer, more sustainable, and more productive for the region’s citizens. A few examples include public WiFi, air pollution alerts, smart parking apps, and traffic signals that respond intelligently to traffic and better manage traffic flow.

What is the problem it is trying to solve?

The Washington metropolitan area has many assets, but also faces several longstanding challenges: Its economy is too dependent on federal government spending, local public policy making is fragmented, quality of life and economic opportunity vary dramatically from one neighborhood to the next, transportation and housing infrastructure are not keeping pace with population growth, and economic growth is slow. Together, we want to create a diversified and thriving economy that benefits all residents, a coordinated policy landscape that encourages business development region-wide, and state-of-the-art infrastructure that supports our growth.

What happens next?

Movement partners are currently collaborating closely with community stakeholders to design and operational and governance framework. Once in place, this framework will guide the decisions that lead to on-the-ground changes.

Further Reading

Greater Washington launches the most comprehensive cross-sector partnership for smart regional growth in the United States (press release)

How Technology Can Make Metropolitan Life Easier—And Why We Should Invest (blog)

Demystifying the Smart Region with Tom Touchet (blog)

Igniting a Smart Region Movement (2018 primer)

Featured Members