Tampa ranks among the 21 smart communities to watch in 2018 according to StateScoop.com

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Smart cities were born from the idea that the most environmentally sustainable, most culturally vibrant, most efficient, safest and most equitable places to live in the future will be cities. The movement is evolving daily, with some of the most obvious indicators showcased in the neighborhoods of cities like Stockholm, Chicago, New York and Tokyo. But smart cities are being built everywhere, in communities large and small. This list was created to recognize communities of all sizes whose efforts have either flown under the radar or whose leaders have recently undertaken new initiatives that add interesting new dimensions to already-promising work. These are the smart communities to watch in 2018.

Tampa is a smart city in the making — and the only city in the U.S. using public residents to facilitate a U.S. Department of Transportation-funded connected vehicle pilot. The city won $21 million in grant funding from the U.S. DOT to launch a 1,600-car connected vehicle pilot beginning this month, and will incorporate local drivers and pedestrians into the pilot through mobile apps and connected devices.

"We're using volunteers for on-board units we put in their vehicles to be used on the connected vehicle corridor, so managing their involvement requires a deft hand," Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority Planning Director Robert Frey said in November.

The pilot is a path toward incorporating connected vehicles into the Tampa traffic ecosystem in the long term, while reducing collisions and environmental impact of vehicles in the city. Pedestrians will be able to download a mobile app allowing them to activate some crosswalk signals and warning them of oncoming trucks or vehicles.

The city is also developing a 53-acre waterfront space to be a hub of smart technologies. Called Water Street Tampa, it's being developed by Strategic Property Partners, a real estate group with designs on making the development “one of the most connected environments in the world.” With more than $3 billion in private investment going into building the mixed-use space, future residents and patrons can expect free high-speed Wi-Fi, digital platforms for concierge services around the space, and smart and interactive parking platforms.