When you stroll through Cape Charles, what do you see? Public works trucks, streetlights, a stretch of streets and sidewalks. Beyond the physical, what else is there to envision: a network of sensor platforms; a vertical mall for comm and digital solutions; easements for solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations; and a multi-use space for walking, commercial deliveries, shared bike lanes, and our outdoor cafés.
This is looking at asset management in a new way.
An example may be streetlights. They have an intimate connection to electrical power and their locations on the right of way–they now can become locations for air-quality sensors, places to attach communications technology such as 5G transmitters, as well as curbside electrical re-charging stations. Data provided by communications technology can monitor street, curb, and sidewalk use during the height of our tourist season, which is only going to grow.
The assets that define our streets provide an opportunity to leverage shared-mobility options and our local and out-of-town visitors’ ever-increasing expectations of just-in-time (almost instantaneous) delivery services. To fully leverage all of our assets will require a comprehensive spatial visualization of those assets.
While the concept of a town’s ‘Digital Twin’ may be overkill, it still needs a list of assets exploited by GIS visualization and overlaid with other information, such as peak density times and situations. Moving into the future, we need to move past the current, and dominant notion of “value engineering,” where a capital project is scrutinized to find ways to increase its value to the city and its residents and decrease its cost.
Our vision needs to look at not just better ways to save money through design modifications but also to assess the assets’ characteristics and look to add value by leveraging them for other purposes.
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