How Innovative Public Policy Put Kansas City on the Smart City Map

At Venture Smarter's Smart Regions Congress in Washington DC, Bob Bennett shared 3 lessons learned as Chief Innovation Officer for Kansas City, Missouri.


Meet Smart City Trailblazer Bob Bennett

By intelligently changing public transportation systems, water systems and electronic systems, any city can be poised to become a Smart City,” according to Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Kansas City, MO, Bob Bennett.

Speaking on the The Internet of Everything, Connectivity and Security in Smart Regions at last month’s Smart Regions Congress in Washington, DC, Bennett said his city is working on plans to extend Smart City infrastructure across the region, with an emphasis on Digital Inclusion.

“I can make any city in America a “relatively smart city” without making any infrastructure changes, simply by studying available data,” Bennett said. “85 percent of the data necessary to better understand any community already exists,” Bennett said.

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According to Bennett, permit data, land use data, crime data, FCC data and other types of readily available work together to tell any city’s story.

“By looking at all of the data, we can see  where problems and opportunities lie,” he said, “and from there, establish a Smart City strategy.”

To do this effectively, Bennett said public officials must achieve three goals:

  1. Inclusion -- Smart Cities seek to improve the lives of everyone.
  2. Efficiency -- Smart Cities improve efficiencies at all levels.
  3. Future-forward -- Smart Cities take full advantage of technology.

In Kansas City, MO, Bennett spearheaded the Smart City initiatives, a suite of projects including data analysis, public Wi-Fi, digital kiosk installation and smart lighting programs throughout the downtown core.

Since then, Kansas City received an Edison Award (Gold) for “Collective Disruption” and civic innovation in 2017.

Current Kansas City projects include extending Smart City infrastructure across another 318 miles of the greater Kansas City area, with an emphasis on digital Inclusion. One project includes partnering with Avis to deploy the first fully Connected Vehicle Fleet in a municipality.

Bennett urged public policy officials to look at the three core ingredients to achieve Smart City quality of life: water, technology, energy.


The Smart Regions Congress was presented by Venture Smarter as part of the Regional Smart Cities Initiative

RSCI supports interdisciplinary and interagency efforts to develop technology and process planning standards at the local, county, state, and federal level; to educate and align leaders around available resources; and to understand and address pressing problems in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The core mission is to improve the quality of life across the nation while alleviating strained municipal budgets using smart technologies and strategies.