In 2010, the city flipped a switch and Chattanooga became the first city in America to offer fiber optic internet to every citizen.
In a world where rapid urbanization can leave small and mid-sized towns high and dry, the city of Chattanooga and its power company, EPB, built the city its own lifeline: high-speed, fiber optic internet for everyone. The effects were realized immediately. A study by the University of Tennessee estimated that the Gig could be directly tied to between 2,800 and 5,200 new jobs, bringing in roughly $1 billion in revenue from the internet’s installation to 2016.
The story of the CUIP, the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress, is inextricably tied to that of Chattanooga’s internet: without the Gig, the CUIP could not do what it is doing. There is far too much data moving to be plausibly housed anywhere nearby.
Millions of data points stream into the CUIP every day—audio, video, air quality, RADAR, LIDAR—all of this used to learn how our city moves and works together, identifying problem spots, and crafting solutions.
What if we built a city where emergency service vehicles had the ability to stop traffic miles ahead, giving themselves a green light runway to the accident? What if predictive modeling showed us were vehicle accidents were likely to take place? Response times and accident frequency would plummet. What if we revolutionized how hospitals treat stroke victims after surgery, reducing the number of care mistakes made with a notoriously difficult condition to take care of? What if we taught cars to “talk” to each other and the city infrastructure, drastically reducing the number of accidents and near-miss incidents?
Ultimately: How can technology be used to make people’s lives better?
This is the question the CUIP seeks to answer. Click below to read more about our research and the work we’re doing.