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File #: 2021-1202   
Type: Continued Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 10/5/2021
Title: Recommendation to Review, Comment and Provide Direction on Preliminary Needs Assessment and Recommendations for Development of Smart City Master Plan. (Information Technology 60626070) [Continued from September 21, 2021]
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Needs Assessment and Recommendations, 2. Presentation



Recommendation to Review, Comment and Provide Direction on Preliminary Needs Assessment and Recommendations for Development of Smart City Master Plan. (Information Technology 60626070) [Continued from September 21, 2021]




To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council




At the September 19, 2017 City Council Meeting, City Council initiated a City Council Referral to investigate options to provide free public Wi-Fi throughout the City of Alameda (City) as part of the Smart City Initiatives in the Information Technology Strategic Plan (2017).  With the recent Shelter in Place orders and increased distance learning and remote work, the need for available public Wi-Fi has increased.  At the December 15, 2020 City Council Meeting, City Council received an update on the Smart City initiatives related to the City Council referral and approved the consultant contract for Iteris to develop a Smart City Master Plan, which will guide the City’s use of new technology to improve community members’ lives.  Exhibit 1 is the Draft Needs Assessment and Recommendations Memo, which describes the preliminary draft recommendations that are intended to guide the City on how best to strategically invest in new technologies.




Multiple departments in the City are working together to develop a Smart City Master Plan.  City staff also has been working with the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), Alameda Family Services, Alameda Point Collaborative and Alameda Education Foundation to explore ways to address the “digital divide” to ensure all community members have equitable internet access, which is now considered an essential service.  In Alameda, community members are fortunate to have multiple internet service provider options - Comcast, Sonic, Monkey Brains and AT&T; however, the services can be slow, pricey and unreliable, especially at Alameda Point.  A recent request to improve Alameda Point service at one location, would total $230,000 in construction costs to invest in a private company’s fiber network, rather than being used for public investments in a core fiber City-owned network. 


According to the U.S. Census, relevant demographic data for Alameda is as follows:

                     Persons in poverty in Alameda: 7.3 percent totaling about 5,666 community members;

                     Households with a broadband Internet subscription, 2015-2019: 90.4 percent;

                     Households without a broadband Internet subscription, 2015-2019: 9.6 percent or about 2,920 households, which totals 7,417 community members when using the persons per household average of 2.54; and

                     Households with a computer, 2015-2019: 95.6 percent.

Source: U.S. Census, V2019 -



The Smart City initiatives include more equitable internet access and also work to ensure that City activities are transparent, responsive, and secure.  Smart cities collect, analyze and use data in new evolving ways to improve community members’ quality of live.  Given the potential of technology, the Alameda Smart City target objectives are as follows:


                     Equitable Internet: Provide equitable internet access options for telecommuting, teleschooling and telehealth to ensure digital inclusion, especially for equity priority populations and for the local business community; Provide free public Wi-Fi at key City facilities where “hot spots” are not an ideal solution due to poor cell service ; establish “Service Learning Credit” programs in partnership with educational institutions and other training programs for ongoing community technology training needs;

                     Government Operations: Provide more services to residents and staff digitally to enhance City productivity, transparency and engagement with community members; Enhance cyber security measures to protect City and community member information;

                     Transportation Operations: Improve efficiency of transportation operations such as with interconnected traffic signals, real-time public transit information, multimodal detection and data collection, and smart parking, street lights and maintenance; Prepare for the future of transportation technology deployments, i.e., connected and autonomous vehicles;

                     Safety: Provide emergency response optimization, disaster early-warning signals and crash avoidance system capabilities while reducing threats from cyber-attacks;

                     Economic Vitality: Enhance technology and internet access and training opportunities via City programs; Facilitate improved internet service options and improve reliability, speeds, and bandwidth availability; and

                     Climate Action: Deploy new technologies to reduce traffic emissions, water and electricity use, and to advance the City’s Climate Action goals including monitoring environmental quality indicators such as air quality and protecting the environment; Partner with the science communities and educational institutions to support climate-specific initiatives in Alameda.


The Smart City planning effort is expected to take one year to complete with completion expected in early 2022.




Exhibit 1 is the Draft Needs Assessment and Recommendations Memo, which is based on an existing conditions analysis and needs assessment focus group meetings completed earlier in 2021 by the Smart City Master Plan staff/consultant team in conjunction with key stakeholders.  Table 1 lists the preliminary draft recommendations that are intended to guide the City on how best to strategically invest in new technologies, and are explained in more detail in Exhibit 1.


Table 1: 10 Smart City Master Plan Preliminary Draft Recommendations




Short-term (<3 years) (Equitable Internet, Economic Vitality, Climate Goals)


Partner with Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Enhance internet availability and bandwidth for all Lower costs for improved internet services Mitigate predatory tactics on pricing escalations

Less than $100,000

Develop Dig Once and Standardization Policies

Reduce impact on City’s infrastructure Proactively build-out City’s infrastructure needs Require developments to build public right-of-way infrastructure defined within this Plan and others Improve coordination with utility companies for joint trenching opportunities Create a funding stream to implement the Dig Once policy

Less than $100,000

Deploy Emergency Vehicle Preemption

Reduce emergency response times by lessening delay at signals

$100,000 - $500,000

Deploy Citywide Transit Signal Priority

Reduce travel times for bus travel by providing priority Enhance transportation equity citywide  Enable AC Transit to consider expansion of service 

$100,000 - $500,000

Short- to Long-term (<3-8+ years) Phased Approach with Targeted Locations (Equitable Internet, Government, Transparency & Cyber Security, Transportation Operations, Safety, Economic Vitality, Climate Goals)


Build-out City Communications Network Establishing an Administrative Fiber Network separate from AMP

Reduce City dependency on Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) communications infrastructure as the entire city’s network is currently managed under very restrictive utility regulations Enable remote operations of City-owned assets (signals, facilities, lighting, irrigation, pump stations, etc.) Enable network connection at all facilities to support a public Wi-Fi network Enable improved digital City services by establishing access to City assets and data citywide Increase City’s readiness for future technology advances related to connected/autonomous vehicles Empower more robust data collection effort, including environmental data Enable improved coordination, and interconnection with regional partners Support City parking management strategies

$1 million or more

Deploy Public Wireless Networks (Wi-Fi)

Enhance internet availability in public places, and decrease the digital divide Attract businesses and commerce to Alameda

$500,000 - $1 million

Mid-term (3-8 years) (Transportation Operations, Safety)


Deploy Citywide Advanced Traffic Management System

Manage traffic operations in real-time, remotely Provide a dashboard for signal performance measurement and management Contribute to emergency response Reduce time needed to maintain and monitor signal system Increase City’s ability to monitor and mitigate traffic incidents in real time Enable Management of closed circuit 

$100,000 - $500,000

Mid- to Long-term (3-8+ years) (Government Transparency & Cyber Security, Safety, Transportation Operations, Climate Goals)


Interconnect Emergency Operations Center & City Facilities

Establish a central location for management of City services during an emergency Provide a secondary location for Public Works management of assets Enhance IT support and maintenance across the City Reduce City dependency on AMP communications infrastructure Empower IT management of cyber security citywide

$1 million or more

Implement Transportation Data Analytics

Enable high-resolution multi-modal data collection Enable deployment of signal performance measurement Bring hardware up to current communication standards Contribute to operations management to increase safety and reduce delay and emissions citywide

$1 million or more

Long-term (3-8+ years)  (Transportation Operations, Safety)


Deploy Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Network

Improve real-time traffic management and incident response while following the city’s Data Privacy policies Provide incident detection and emergency response Monitor bridges for emergency route planning in real-time

$500,000 - $1 million

City staff used these preliminary draft recommendations to help craft approaches on how to move forward with potential funding sources.  IT Department Staff recommended the “Smart City Master Plan & Broadband” proposed project for $6 million to be funded from the $28.68 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies at the July 20, 2021 City Council meeting.  This proposed ARPA project would build out an administrative fiber network to improve connectivity across a core area of Alameda and would provide the fiber network needed to implement the Top Ten recommendations above including public Wi-Fi to business districts and equity priority community members according to Alameda Unified School District vulnerable school population data.  These equity priority community members have to rely on unreliable technology such as “Hot Spots” that connect through cellular services. With sporadic cellular service throughout the island, this temporary solution is disadvantageous compared to connecting to the internet through fiber for distance learning and remote work. Initial fiber runs in core areas of the city would include Webster Street to City Hall West, Santa Clara Avenue, Park Street, and Broadway to the Golf Course (with a potential link to San Leandro’s “Lit San Leandro” fiber network for a smart traffic corridor).  Other potential funding opportunities could include the upcoming federal infrastructure bill as well as state surplus monies depending on the state budget.  Expedited funding would help speed up the implementation of the Smart City initiatives, which is especially important to ensure the most equitable and comprehensive internet access.




Staff is looking for direction on the Smart City Master Plan preliminary draft recommendations, and the City Council alternatives are as follows:


                     Proceed with the Smart City Master Plan preliminary draft recommendations for inclusion into the Draft Smart City Master Plan;

                     Provide revisions to the preliminary draft recommendations for inclusion into the Draft Smart City Master Plan; and

                     Recommend an alternative course of action, which could delay the completion of the Smart City Master Plan.




The estimated cost of implementing the preliminary draft recommendations in the short-term is in the range of $400,000 to $1.2 million and the total will be in the range of $4.5  to $6.7 million.


Funding for implementing the Smart City Master Plan has not yet been appropriated by City Council. The Smart City Master Plan would be an eligible use of the City’s ARPA monies, which must be spent by the end of calendar year 2026, if so directed by City Council. The proposed federal infrastructure bill may also be a potential funding source for the Smart City Master Plan.




This action is in conformance with the Alameda Municipal Code and all policy documents, and is consistent with the Information Technology Strategic Plan (2017), the Transportation Choices Plan (2018) and the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (2019).




This action is not a project under California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines, section 15378(b)(4).




The Smart City Master Plan effort will further the implementation of the Transportation Choices Plan (2018) and the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (2019), and will guide the deployment of new technologies to improve transportation operations and energy and water efficiencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.




Review, comment and provide direction on preliminary needs assessment and recommendations for development of Smart City Master Plan 




The City Manager is seeking direction on implementation of the Smart City Master Plan Needs Assessment and Recommendations.



Respectfully submitted,

Carolyn Hogg, Information Technology Director

Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Annie To, Finance Director



1.                     Needs Assessment and Recommendations



cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager

                     Gerry Beaudin, Assistant City Manager

                     Erin Smith, Public Works Director