University of Pittsburgh
September 26, 2016

Pitt Joins Carnegie Mellon University and City of Pittsburgh in White House’s MetroLab Network

MetroLab part of “Smart Cities” Initiative
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh has joined Carnegie Mellon University and the City of Pittsburgh in the MetroLab Network, the White House announced today. MetroLab, part of the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative, was launched by 21 founding city-university pairings in September 2015 to create city-university partnerships bringing data, analytics, and innovation to city government.

Today’s announcement, which also added Los Angeles, San Francisco, and greater Miami to the network, brings the total to 40 city-university partnerships.

MetroLab Network’s city-university partnerships are relationships in which the university serves as a research and development arm, and the city serves as a test-bed for technologies and policies. Faculty members and students gain access to real-world laboratories to develop and test tools and programs that utilize information technology, data analytics, sensing, and more. Cities benefit from their technical expertise, leading to solutions that reduce the cost of infrastructure and services, make cities more sustainable and resilient, and improve citizens’ quality of life.

Partnerships are focused on “research, development, and deployment” projects that offer technologically and analytically based solutions facing city infrastructure, services, or other public-sector priorities.

Pitt’s first three contributions to the network are:

The District Energy Initiative, a “grid of microgrids” concept within and around the city of Pittsburgh, which will create a more resilient, efficient, economical, and sustainable energy ecosystem for the region.

The 2nd Avenue Solar Canopy and Direct Current Microgrid and Electric Vehicle Car Charging Station, which will assist the city in switching part of its fleet of vehicles from gasoline to electric power.

The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center supports key community initiatives by making public information easier to find and use. The data center provides a technological and legal infrastructure for data sharing to support a growing ecosystem of data providers and data users. The data center maintains Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh’s open data portal and provides a number of services to data publishers and users. The data center also hosts data sets from these and other public-sector agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations. The data center is managed by the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research and is a partnership of the University, Allegheny County, and the City of Pittsburgh.

Gregory Reed, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and director of Pitt’s Center for Energy, will oversee the first two projects with Grant Ervin, chief resilience officer for the City of Pittsburgh.

Bob Gradeck, project manager of the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, is overseeing the project with Laura Meixell, analytics and strategy manager for the City of Pittsburgh.