Pima Association of Governments’ efforts in economic vitality are identifying how the greater Tucson region can level the competitive playing field among smart regions. PAG’s Economic Vitality Advisory Committee established a Smart Communities Task Force, which prepared the following document to launch PAG’s smart region initiative efforts.
The six areas identified to improve the region’s economic competitiveness focus on establishing an advanced communications infrastructure, a modernized transportation system, resiliency of infrastructure, strategic talent alignment, water resiliency and a shared regional vision.
The resulting smart region initiative is led by the Regional Partnering Center (RPC), a 501(c)3 established by PAG, to develop public and private support and funding for collaborative efforts to build the region’s economic competitiveness and quality of life for residents.
Recognizing that the availability of high-speed broadband is an economic development and quality of life benefit, PAG worked with a consultant to prepare a Regional Assessment of Advanced Communications Infrastructure by evaluating current broadband offerings, looking at current uses and limits, and identifying opportunities for expansion of infrastructure.
Advancing communications infrastructure involves the development of policies and governance and investment in physical plant and other infrastructure.
Efforts in modernizing our transportation system include the introduction of electric shuttles at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. The RPC-led public-private partnership established the Sabino Canyon Crawler service with capital investment from Tucson Electric Power for the electric shuttles and utilities to operate and maintain the shuttle system. The RPC has a permit through the U.S. Forest Service to operate the Crawler service and contracts with Total Ride to operate the vehicles.