Arlington, Virginia Tech Will Apply to Join MetroLab Network

Published on March 12, 2016

  • In support of White House Smart Cities Initiative

  • National network of cities, counties and universities

  • Focus on local government infrastructure, city services, democratic governance, public policy, management

Arlington County and Virginia Tech will apply to join the Metrolab Network to begin a new city-university partnership to research, develop and deploy technologically and analytically-based solutions to make government more effective and efficient.

The Arlington County Board today approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Virginia Tech establishing the protocols for the partnership. The Board voted 5-0 (part of the Consent Agenda) to approve the MOU.

"This is another example of how Arlington is becoming a hub for innovation," said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. "Virginia Tech is one of the premier universities in the nation, and its regional headquarters is right here in Ballston. I think that this partnership will benefit our community and we look for this to be a model of ways to use technology to make government more efficient, transparent and responsive to citizens."

"Virginia Tech is pleased to partner with Arlington County in applying to the MetroLab Network. The network is a unique opportunity for advancing our smart city innovations in a real world "living laboratory' environment," said Virginia Tech National Capital Region Vice President Steven McKnight. "The agreement builds upon the university's longstanding relationship with Arlington County and will serve as focal point to concentrate our research and educational activities to positively impact the Arlington community. This collaborative engagement typifies the role Virginia Tech seeks as a modern land-grant university in the regional innovation ecosystem."

To read the staff report for this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #16 on the Agenda for the Saturday, March 12 County Board Meeting.

Supporting the White House's Smart Cities Initiative

Local government and universities launched the MetroLab Network to support the White House's Smart Cities Initiative. Through the initiative, the administration is investing more than $160 million in federal research "to help local communities tackle key challenges such as reducing traffic congestion, fighting crime, fostering economic growth, managing the effects of a changing climate, and improving the delivery of city services."

In joining the network, Arlington and Virginia Tech would join Washington D.C., New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Montgomery County and more than a dozen other cities and counties across the nation who are partnering with some of the best universities for the public good.

In their application, the County and University are proposing three projects in the coming year, including:

  • Rosslyn Transportation Characteristics Analysis — a pilot project focused on developing smart city protocols for the County to make informed decisions about planning and operational investments in dense urban areas. The project will observe Rosslyn intersections and collect data on pedestrian, bicycle, bus and vehicle movements in the intersections.

  • Crystal City Sensor Networks — Partnering with Vornado and Charles E. Smith, this project will implement and collect data from "Internet of Things" sensor devices on rooftops in Crystal City, in addition to utility and building automation data. The project will monitor building envelopes for energy and environmental parameters, with the goal of identifying opportunities for improving sensing and control of infrastructure and increasing building energy efficiency and environmental quality.

  • Engineering Smart Cities Capstone Design Projects — Arlington will partner with Virginia Tech to develop and design a Capstone course. Virginia Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering students will spend two semesters on a smart county/Internet of Things project where they will utilize emerging technologies, collect data and perform analysis on specific problems of interest to the County.