Public Policy IssuesTransportation, Aerospace & Aeronautics

NSF Announces Research Center for Smart City Streetscapes


On 9 August, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the launch of a new Engineering Research Center in partnership with Columbia University (lead), Florida Atlantic University, Lehman College, Rutgers University and the University of Central Florida. The center will focus on R&D related to creating livable, safe and inclusive communities through real-time, hyperlocal technologies for streets and their surroundings.

NSF committed $26 million over five years to support the new NSF Engineering Research Center for Smart Streetscapes (CS3), which will work to “develop a rich ecosystem of streetscape applications built upon real-time, hyper-local intelligence to advance livable, safe and inclusive communities.”

The CS3 collaboration will explore five application themes: road safety and traffic efficiency, public safety, assistive technologies for people with disabilities, the future of outdoor work, and hyper-local sensing and modeling. The work will focus on three urban testbeds in New York City (N.Y.), West Palm Beach (Fla.) and New Brunswick (N.J.).

CS3 investigators believe their work will help advance the emerging discipline of smart cities by advancing fundamental knowledge in civil and urban systems engineering, electrical and network engineering, visual analytics and sensor fusion, computer privacy and security, and public trust and technology — catalyzing and coalescing the emerging discipline of smart cities.

In addition to the CS3 initiative, NSF also announced the launch of three new engineering research centers focused on sustainable and distributed fertilizer production, hybrid autonomous manufacturing, and precision microbiome engineering.

NSF’s Engineering Research Centers represent a strategic approach to public-private partnerships involving academe, industry and the NSF (and often other state or federal government agencies). They support high-risk, high-payoff research focused on advancing engineered systems technology and education through multidisciplinary, cross-sector partnerships. In addition to cross-disciplinary research, they provide integrative, systems-oriented educational experiences to undergraduate and graduate students, and contribute to curriculum innovations. Centers are typically supported by NSF for ten years, after which they are expected to become self-sustaining.


For more information on the CS3 “Smart Cities Streetscapes” Initiative, see Columbia University’s announcement at:


IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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