A Smarter Tucson

Have you ever been driving down a major Tucson street and find yourself hitting every. single. red. light? It’s not just your imagination, it’s a symptom of Tucson’s antiquated infrastructure and failure to adopt smart city technologies. 

In the past, Tucson has tried to shield itself from growth by opting not to plan for it, with terrible results. Growth is inevitable. If we proactively plan for it by adopting a 21st century approach, we can balance the preservation of our culture and character while making significant improvements to roads, traffic, public transit, utilities and sustainable living.

A smarter and more sustainable Tucson follows strategies that include:

Promote urban density by focusing on development in the downtown core and along major corridors. I will make it easier to do infill and repurpose old buildings, focus on creating more choice in public transportation and create more walkable / bikeable spaces. By doing so we will reduce traffic, our carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Use Smart City technology to improve infrastructure. Smart cities use data and technology to enhance our quality of life more efficiently. Data collection can help us improve everything from traffic congestion to trash collection to public safety. Some Smart City examples include:

Incorporate Adaptive Signalization of traffic signals to reduce congestion with technology by synching lights with the actual traffic flow. By doing so we can alleviate the need for street widening in most instances.

Utilize real-time arrival information for buses and the modern streetcar though an app so riders can plan their trips accordingly.

Increase our participation in the 2030 District, utilizing the data from city buildings and more to improve sustainability of existing buildings and plan for more sustainable new ones.

Employ smart water sensors for more efficient water scheduling in our parks.

There are just a few of endless opportunities for Tucson to become smarter and more sustainable. We will only make progress if Tucson’s next mayor sets the vision and works together with diverse community groups to make it happen. We must stop failing to plan for our inevitable growth and start being proactive in shaping the future we want.

Imagine the opportunities we can create if we just work a little smarter.

See my full plan here.

— Randi Dorman

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