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Smart Cities & Innovation Committee

Download SCIC March 6 Meeting Package

Meeting Minutes – March 6, 2019

Hampton Roads Transit hosted the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR) launch of the Smart Cities and Innovations Committee (SCIC) on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Commissioners in attendance:

Chairperson, Commissioner Andria McClellan (Norfolk)
Commissioner Dr. Patricia P. Woodbury (Newport News)
Commissioner Jimmy Gray (Hampton)
Commissioner Keith Parnell (Norfolk)
Alt. Commissioner Carl Jackson (Portsmouth)

Hampton Roads Transit Staff in attendance:

William Harrell, HRT President and Chief Executive Officer
Alesia Cain, HRT Chief Information Officer & Chief Technology Officer, SCIC HRT Representative
Ray Amoruso, HRT Chief Planning & Development Officer
Robert Travers, HRT Corporate Counsel
Brian Smith, HRT Chief of Staff
Conner Burns, HRT Chief Finance Officer
Gene Cavasos, HRT Director of Marketing & Communications
Kamlesh Chowdhary, HRT Director of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
Scott Mitchell, HRT Director of Enterprise Technology Solutions (ETS)
Stephanie Salzone, HRT Manager of Bus Transportation
Tom Holden, HRT Marketing & Communications
Shelia Gulledge, HRT Technology Project Manager, SCIC Secretary

Additional attendees:

Kisha Brown, TRAC Member (Portsmouth)
Kevin Curry, Code for Hampton Roads
Ben Schoenfeld, Code for Hampton Roads
Janice Taylor, PAC Chair (Virginia Beach) (Phone)

The SCIC meeting package, detailed below, was distributed electronically to all Commissioners in advance of the meeting


  1. Mission Definition:
    1. To identify and support opportunities to deploy smart cities technologies and new innovation within HRT with the goal of providing more efficient, reliable transit to all of our riders and increase ridership.
    2. The primary objective of the Smart Cities & Innovation Committee (SCIC) is to create a governance structure to advise the Commission on the local, state and national public policy objectives, and to enhance HRT’s strategic position to accelerate the objectives and actions of Commission’s smart cities and innovation goals. The SCIC shares, manages, and evaluates smart city and innovation policies and projects, potential partnerships and funding opportunities. Collaboration and coordination are key for setting and implementing priorities and working with new partners to support investments in technology and data analytics to achieve improved lifestyle benefits, economic opportunities and more efficient service within a safe environment for the communities serviced by HRT.
  2. Goal Setting:
    1. Identify resources/grants for funding
    2. Create 1-2 pilot opportunities to focus on each year
      1. Micro transit/autonomous shuttles?
      2. Coordination with scooter/e-bike/PACE to create a more fluid end-to-end ride
      3. Uber/Lyft partnership for last mile?
      4. Partnership with Code for Hampton Roads
      5. Support of electric bus roll out and future expansion
      6. Telling the story of reduced carbon-footprint by using transit, etc.
      7. Exploring ways to increase carpooling/vanpooling with Traffix, biking?

Member List

  • Committee Chair, The Honorable (Commissioner) Andria McClellan, Norfolk – Andria.McClellan@norfolk.gov
  • The Honorable (Commissioner) Jimmy Gray, Hampton – jgray@hampton.gov
  • The Honorable (Commissioner) Dr. Patricia P. Woodbury (Past Chair), Newport News – pwoodbury@nngov.com
  • Commissioner Keith Parnell, Norfolk – mkp@keithparnell.com
  • Commissioner Aaron Rouse, Virginia Beach – arouse@vbgov.com
  • Carl Jackson, Manager of Transportation Planning, Portsmouth – jacksonc@portsmouthva.gov
  • Tara D. Reel, Transportation and Transit Planner, Virginia Beach – tdreel@vbgov.com
  • Susan Vitale, Chesapeake – svitale@cityofchesapeake.net
  • Janice Taylor, PAC Chair, Virginia Beach – janicetaylor104@gmail.com
  • Kisha Brown, TRAC Member, Portsmouth – kisha963@yahoo.com
  • Kevin Curry, Code for Hampton Roads – kevin@codeforamerica.org
  • Ben Schoenfeld, Code for Hampton Roads – ben.schoenfeld@gmail.com

Introductions and Opening Remarks

Chair McClellan opened this inaugural meeting with introductions and a premise of this initiative – exploration of “big ideas” on future direction of transportation in Hampton Roads, potentially using strategic partnerships that will enable HRT to serve as a “test lab” for technology innovations that would not add a financial or operational burden, which will be presented to TDCHR.

Ms. Alesia Cain added that with the influx of evolving technology, data analytics and security, it is important that we understand changes and the technical challenges they present to better support the community as we move towards more efficient transportation approaches. She further explained how “Smart Cities” is an umbrella term that encapsulates the IoT (Internet of Things) sensor technology concept that provides connectivity intersection of networks, devices, sensors, software, electronics, mechanical and digital machines. The smart city concept, for example, can be used to capture and leverage data from Norfolk traffic cameras to better resource public works.

Committee members discussed the two proposed mission statements. Based on input and discussion, Chair McClellan noted that the Mission Statement will be revised and presented at the next meeting.

Discussion ensued on using/publishing real-time schedule data and whether the analysis of that data can be pushed as well as pulled into the system. Chair McClellan mentioned that this is a discussion point at another of her upcoming meeting focused on Resilience which also affects our riders.


Chair McClellan advised that as an organization, there are no “extra” dollars for technology and innovation initiatives at this time. The participating cities support and pay for services that provide about 40% for operating budgeting but not as much for capital projects that would include supporting technology innovations.

Mr. William Harrell noted the following discussion items:

  • The importance of technology is now recognized, and the State has incentivized technology initiatives in its new approach to funding capital grants so more of the capital budget will likely include technology; there are funding opportunities at the state level beginning next fiscal year which may be as much as a 68% match on total project costs
  • HRT will continue to seek out technology and innovation grants
  • There are corporations that budget large research and development (R&D) projects and it may be advantageous to also attract them to participate in innovation projects at HRT

Mr. Ray Amoruso commented on how other communities are doing innovative things, such as LA Metro standing up an Office of Extraordinary Innovation.

It was noted that HRT is part of a state Automated Bus Consortium Project in partnership with DRPT and AECOM.

  • The first meeting is scheduled on March 22, 2019. Additionally, HRT is exploring other opportunities such as the potential for micro-transit services. There was a discussion about the need and requirements to ensure accessibility for all segments on the population when piloting new services
Transforming Transit

Mr. Brian Smith provided a brief update on the Transit Transformation Project. It was noted that a focal point is how can the region have a better bus system; not just from a technological perspective, but also evaluating routes and frequencies and performance that can be more efficient and effective than current services.

HRT launched a pilot mobile ticketing project at the Virginia Beach oceanfront and will continue looking at feasibility of implementing system-wide.

Commissioner McClellan noted that there are many positive attributes within Hampton Roads that would encourage business, innovators, technologists and investors to partner with HRT. It was suggested that partnerships with grass-roots organizations can also be beneficial; for example, the League of Women Voters and HRPTA providing assistance to complete surveys and provide other support.

Upcoming Efforts

Completion of the in-progress CAD/AVL system upgrade allows HRT the ability to implement Real-Time Passenger Information technologies by the end of the year:

  • HRT is developing a scope for implementing components of a new real-time information system and associated project support services. The real-time information data will be supplied by the upgraded CAD/AVL system.
  • The project will include reaching out to transit-dependent customers, choice customers, businesses, community, and other stakeholders to understand the real-time information needs and encourage use of transit services

Chair McClellan and the members discussed other potential opportunities:

  • Create one or two pilot opportunities to focus on each year
  • Seek partnerships with local universities that want well-scoped internships for their students
  • Partnership with Code for Hampton Roads
  • Coordination with scooter/e-bike/PACE to create a more fluid end-to-end ride
  • Uber/Lyft partnership for last mile
  • Telling the story of reduced carbon-footprint by using transit, etc.
  • Support of electric bus roll out and future expansion
  • Explore ways to increase carpooling/vanpooling with Traffix, biking
  • Expand SCIC membership with members from the Chamber, HRTA, HRTAC, etc.

Chair McClellan encouraged generation of ideas and to go “big picture,” even if there may not be funding in place at the present time and to explore the range of tools that fall within a “real-time” application.

It was suggested to consider using this idea committee as a community engagement forum, inviting people from outside and identify opportunities that would enable small or midsize research and development firms to find us and assist in dream initiatives.

The committee discussed dividing into several standing Working Groups to support focused attention on key areas. It was noted that committee information should be included on the HRT website as well.

SCIC Working Groups

Committee Topic/Focus Members (Leads are highlighted)
Data & Analytics
(data & analytics; push/pull of data; surveys)
Kamlesh Chowdhary, Kevin Curry, Ben Schoenfeld, Tara Reel, Alesia Cain
Fare Collection
(alternative fare collection methods and innovative technology to support on-boarding and fare collection)
Alesia Cain, Carl Jackson, Kisha Brown
First Mile/Last Mile
(how to get passengers to and from transit stations based on their origins and destinations)
Aaron Rouse, Sam Sink, Ron Hodges, Janice Taylor, Kisha Brown
AV/EV/Alternative Transportation
(Autonomous Vehicles/Electric Vehicles/Scooters/Bikes/Fuel)
Andria McClellan, Ray Amoruso, Sybil Pappas, Susan Vitale, Tara Reel, Alesia Cain
(liaisons within military, healthcare organizations, university student services, previous contacts from other initiatives)
Keith Parnell, Jimmy Gray, Brian Smith, Ron Hodges

Smart Cities & Innovation Committee Action Items

Date Action Item Responsible Party Due Date Completion Date and Outcome
03/07/19 Provide revised SCIC Mission Statement Commissioner McClellan
03/07/19 Identify military liaisons via Traffix Ron Hodges
03/07/19 Reach out to ODU to discuss internship possibilities Commissioner McClellan
03/07/19 Attend and report on the May 19-22, 2019 APTA Mobility Conference Alesia Cain
03/07/19 Publicize registration information for the upcoming (May 28 activities, May 29 & 30 conference) Virginia Transit Association (VTA) Conference that will cover the transformations happening in transit Brian Smith
03/07/19 Develop press release(s) to inform about the existence and efforts of the SCIC Gene Cavasos
03/07/19 Send TransitMaster Upgrade RFP to Kevin Curry Kamlesh Chowdhary
03/08/19 Follow up with Janice Taylor on transportation to and from SCIC Committee meetings (Keith Johnson) Alesia Cain
03/08/19 Committee adoption and by-laws amendment review (Robert Travers) Alesia Cain 3/28/19 3/28/19 – adopted
03/08/19 Commissioner List Review Alesia Cain
03/08/19 Develop email distribution list for SCIC Alesia Cain 4/5/19 4/5/19 – Internal
03/08/19 Working Group leads report activity/progress at SCIC meetings Kamlesh Chowdhary, Alesia Cain, Aaron Rouse, Andria McClellan, Brian Smith

Next meeting will be at 12:00 pm, on April 11, 2019.
Location: HRT, 509 East 18th Street, Norfolk, VA – 2nd Floor Board Room

The meeting adjourned at 2:05 pm

Meeting Date

March 6, 2019 12:30pm

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