CCI Selects Alexandria, VA for “Safe + Smart Cities” Pilot Project

Part of the Washington, DC metropolitan region, at no cost to its taxpayers, will soon learn how to harden its resiliency and maximize its operational performance through the efficient use of technology.

That part of the region is Alexandria, VA, which has been selected by the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative (CCI) for its second “Safe + Smart Cities” pilot program. The first pilot was conducted in Newark, DE; CCI is now finalizing its “blueprint” containing a variety of practical recommendations, such as increasing electric grid resiliency, system redundancy, and operational efficiency. CCI is also in the process of linking communities similarly situated to Newark, DE together so that the lessons learned from the blueprint might have a larger impact on the region.

CCI is a public-private collaborative founded six years ago to support technological innovation. Its Safe + Smart Cities coalition comprises a group of world-class experts from technology industries, academia, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the law, and the financial sector. Through its pilot projects, the coalition is providing pro-bono expertise and recommendations to selected municipalities in the mid-Atlantic region of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

These recommendations are intended to provide pragmatic and feasible options to help visionary urban communities achieve or exceed their “safe and smart” objectives while also increasing global competitiveness, sustaining regional economic growth, and improving citizens’ lives.

“Responding to the threat of climate change and sea level rise is central to my vision for a new Virginia economy,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “The CCI pilot project in Alexandria will provide valuable information and unbiased recommendations that can help enhance our communities’ resilience, quality of life, and economic growth through technology and innovation.”

“Alexandria is pleased and honored to be selected as a participant in CCI's Pilot Program,” said Alexandria Mayor William Euille. “We believe the benefits we will gain in collaboration and partnership with the consulting team will enable our city to enhance its sustainability, resilience, and smart cities commitment toward our future growth and success.”

“It’s hard to imagine that 99 percent of the physical world is not connected to the Internet,” said Clifford J. Thomas, Managing Director of Cisco Systems, Inc. “But cities can now act as hubs for the ‘Internet of Everything,’ where people, things, data, and processes can be connected to deliver new and amazing value for citizens.”

The Alexandria pilot project will kick off with a collaborative discovery process to better understand the municipality’s technological maturity, its particular risks and vulnerabilities, status of its infrastructure, and what tools could be utilized to help implement the city’s “safe and smart” vision.   The process culminates in a collaborative workshop between the City and the Coalition. 

Based on the workshop and additional research, the team will produce a Safe + Smart City “blueprint,” which will outline “big picture” recommendations for improving and integrating critical hard and soft infrastructure functions including buildings, public safety, energy, transportation, water/wastewater, and information and communication technologies (ICT). The initiative will merge strategies for improving both resiliency and “smart city” technologies.

Commented Herb Miller, Co-Founder and Vice Chair of CCI: “Today, more functions are connected to the Internet than ever before. Governments have the responsibility to keep communities safe, while industry wants to make both people and their communities smarter. Our initiative is based on the premise that the same technologies that make people smart also can make them safer.”

 “At CCI, our work with academia, government, and industry led us to see the critical need for a cross-sector, integrated approach to making cities both safer and smarter,” added Stephanie Carnes, Managing Director of CCI. “Our coalition hopes to enhance the great work that already has been accomplished by local governments in this area."

CCI’s Safe + Smart Cities coalition includes the following participants:

·         The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars - conducts research on the pilot municipalities as well as relevant State and Federal government programs, and develop policy recommendations.    

·         The law firm Holland & Knight - provides legal analysis, ensuring the legal viability of the team’s policy recommendations.

·         Several academic institutions within the region – including Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland, and the University of Delaware -- leverage their substantial expertise in the area of resiliency and risk mitigation.

·         A number of technology firms --including Cisco, Schneider Electric, AtHoc, Verint Systems, Inc., and Priority 5 - examine the technological maturity of each pilot city, contribute vendor-neutral insights from a business and technical perspective, and offer suggestions on how the city can optimize its efficiency.

·         National Standard Finance - conducts research on the current funding and financing tools available to each pilot city and identifies potential funding resources to help implement the project team’s recommendations.

·         Federal and state government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security – ensure that the coalition’s recommendations are in line with existing government policies.

The ultimate objective of this pilot project is to develop a tangible, actionable and comprehensive Safe + Smart Cities program that can:  

·         improve the overall operations and management of local government, both day to day as well as in times of adversity;

·         expand capabilities in urban data collection, analysis, and dissemination;

·         purposefully create beneficial new linkages among community residents;

·         help democratize and expand individual citizens’ participation in government; and

·         create an effective, replicable model of public-private collaboration.

The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative (CCI) is a regional collaborative to advance innovation in energy, life sciences, and security in the “Chesapeake Crescent” region of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. CCI’s leadership includes Federal government agencies, State and local government leaders, major private sector companies, and academic institutions. CCI was launched in 2008 with the mission of advancing innovation in energy, security, and life sciences through new models of government, university, and private enterprise collaboration. Learn more at:


Participants in the CCI “Safe + Smart Cities” Coalition

Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations

The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative (CCI) is a regional collaborative to advance innovation in energy, life sciences, and security in the “Chesapeake Crescent” region of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. CCI’s leadership includes Federal government agencies, state and local government leaders, major private sector companies, and academic institutions. CCI was launched in 2008 with the mission of mission establishing the region as a global leader in energy, security, and life sciences innovation through new models of government, university, and private enterprise collaboration.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, chartered by the U.S. Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for Congress, the Administration and the broader policy community.  The Center's Urban Sustainability Laboratory builds on more than two decades of programming to promote inclusive, safe and sustainable cities. The Urban Sustainability Laboratory identifies innovation in urban policy both in the United States and abroad and provides government leaders with new solutions to challenges, identifying strategies to leverage the opportunities found in an increasingly urbanized world. By creating networks of urban academics, policymakers, practitioners and leaders from civil society, the Urban Sustainability Laboratory engages experts from around the world to advance policies to prepare for the global urban future.

Technology Companies

AtHoc is the recognized leader, innovator and trusted partner in network-centric interactive crisis communication systems. AtHoc's products are used for physical security, business continuity, employee protection, personnel accountability, staff recall and regulatory compliance for military, homeland security, government, healthcare, industrial and commercial organizations. AtHoc was recently awarded Government Security News' (GSN) award for Best Mass Notification System and has also been recognized by Gartner, Inc. as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Emergency Mass Notification Services and by IHS Inc. as The Fastest Growing Mass Notification Software Supplier.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected.

Priority 5 Holdings is the creator and publisher of the unique suite of software programs known collectively as the Touch Assisted Command and Control System, or TACCS™.  TACCS™ is the trusted situational awareness and decision support software system for operations centers at every organizational level, and creates a dynamic, real time common operating picture that supports all four elements of team situational awareness (perceiving, understanding, projecting and sharing) and the full range of preparedness activities (mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery).  The TACCS™-based system installed by the Greater Lafourche Port Commission is the recipient of the American Association of Port Authorities 2013 IT award for operations and security software.

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries. The company offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in utilities and infrastructures, industries and machine manufacturers, non-residential buildings, data centers and networks, and the residential sector. The group is focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive, and green, through an active commitment to helping individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNT) is a global leader in Actionable Intelligence® solutions. Actionable Intelligence is a necessity in a dynamic world of massive information growth because it empowers organizations with crucial insights and enables decision makers to anticipate, respond and take action. Verint Actionable Intelligence solutions help organizations address three important challenges: customer engagement optimization; security intelligence; and fraud, risk and compliance. Today, more than 10,000 organizations in over 180 countries, including over 80 percent of the Fortune 100, use Verint solutions to improve enterprise performance and make the world a safer place.


National Standard Finance, LLC is a leading independent, globally-integrated, asset-based long-term investor. The company develops, finances, acquires, and owns essential social and economic infrastructure assets and real estate. Its progressive and innovative organization works in emerging and developed global sovereign and public markets. The firm invests in a wide range of assets including educational, correctional and public services facilities; transportation infrastructure such as ports, rails, roads, bridges and airports; equipment; hospitals and other health facilities; and both traditional and renewable energy projects. 


Holland & Knight LLP is an international law firm with over 1,000 lawyers working in 20 offices throughout the United States, as well as international offices in Bogotá and Mexico City.  In the Chesapeake Crescent Region, Holland & Knight has major offices in both Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, whose lawyers provide advice and representation to clients in the areas of federal, state and local government contracts, federal and state government relations, real estate and finance.

Academic Institutions

Virginia Tech’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience (GFURR) brings together faculty from Virginia Tech and partner organizations to expand the knowledge base on resilience.  Resilience has become an important concept in planning and policy in response to vulnerabilities resulting from climate change; economic, social and political instability; and population expansion into places where the potential for human disruptions from natural events is heightened. GFURR was established in 2013 to build on the university’s existing base of faculty and partnerships. It has offices on the main campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and in the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Virginia.

University of Delaware is the state’s largest university, with its main campus located in Newark, the site of CCI’s first Safe + Smart Cities pilot. It has about approximately 16,000 undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate students. Founded in 1743 as a small private academy, the University is now research-intensive and technologically advanced. Its 271-acre Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus, created in 2009 on the site of a  former Chrysler assembly plant, serves as a collaborative innovation hub focused on research and innovation partnerships in energy and the environment, health and life sciences, and defense and national security.

The University of Maryland’s Center for Disaster Resilience serves to assist individuals, communities and governments in understanding and reducing the catastrophic effects of natural hazards, especially coastal and riverine flood hazards. The Center comprises a team of risk and resilience experts and their partners in government, private practice, and academia, providing risk assessment, risk communication, and risk reduction capabilities to help decision-makers build community resilience. With the District of Columbia, Baltimore, Annapolis and Ocean City all nearby, the center is ideally located to both understand and better serve the urban and coastal infrastructure challenges of the region. Specializing in flood and coastal risk management, the center helps communities integrate the complex science and engineering of flood risk analysis with the often confusing policies around land-use, building codes and environmental protection to improve watershed and coastal planning. The center excels at bringing stakeholders together to find and implement sustainable, disaster resilient solutions.

Government (Alexandria, VA Pilot)

The City of Alexandria

The Commonwealth of Virginia

US Department of Homeland Security