Spotlight on Innovation: SCAG Announces Future Communities Pilot Program

This article was co-written by Rye Baerg and Margaret de Larios

Whether you are a city trying to automate a parking ticket payment system or an individual struggling to learn yet another pay parking machine, the pace of technological change can be daunting. With their Future Communities Framework, the Southern California Association of Governments has stepped up to serve as a resource for its 191 cities. The idea is to make big data more useful and ensure that cities don’t veer into too many different directions tech-wise.

SCAG formed a committee last year to assess the changing landscape of technology in regional planning and provide guidance for local governments. Their key achievement was the development of a Future Communities Framework to help with smart technology implementation in the region and to ensure that technology meets social aims.

Announced in December 2017, SCAG’s new Future Communities Initiative lays out a three-year work plan to deploy smart-tech and use data analytics to reduce traffic and improve air quality. New programs in development include a Regional Data Platform, a Policy Lab/Tool Builder, a Data Science Fellowship, an annual forum and a new grant program called the Future Communities Pilot Program (FCPP).

The FCPP will put real dollars behind the technologies our region needs to reduce unnecessary trips by government vehicles. The program is co-funded by the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee and seeks to reduce vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, from local city and county operations through the application of data driven analytics and new technologies. This grant program will help cities build better IT infrastructure.

The Opportunity – Vendors

To develop the FCPP, SCAG released a request for proposals (RFP) in early February to select a research consultant with expertise in transportation demand management and the application of data analytics/analysis.

If you are interested in bidding, register here.

The Opportunity – Governments

SCAG will release a call for projects in September to city and county governments. Projects selected will be evaluated for their ability to reduce VMT and their ability to be replicated by other agencies in the region. A 25 percent match will be required.

If you think deploying remote city services such as inspections and court appointments could eliminate trips, or implementing sensor networks could make trash pickup more efficient, or something even better, we urge you to apply.

To learn more, contact Rye Baerg at