City of Tampa and USF Sign MOU to work together to implement technologies to improve lives

USF President Genshaft and City of Tampa Buckhorn at memorandum of understanding signingUniversity of South Florida (USF) President, Judy Genshaft,  and The City of Tampa Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 20, that signifies their willingness to work together to implement technologies that will improve the lives of its citizens and create a more effective and efficient government.

“Every great city, every great urban area, has a research university. And a research university is a part of every big urban area,” Genshaft said.

The Smart Cities MOU states that through this partnership the city hopes to showcase itself as a vibrant, innovative and sustainable community through new technologies and methods created through its partnership with USF and more specifically through the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) on the Tampa campus.

Lack of public transportation and severe traffic congestion is one of the most significant obstacles Tampa faces in attracting new start-ups and businesses along with corresponding workforce.

“To realize that it’s not just about roads, it’s about finding solutions. Transportation is a problem, and the solution isn’t more roads. It’s using smarter grids and using the talent at USF and moving it to real-world application,”  said Mayor Buckhorn.

Dr. Robert Bertini, Professor and Director of CUTR along with Jean Duncan, Tampa Director of Transportation and Stormwater Services, will sere as the representatives between USF and the city.

Yesterday’s signing was symbolic as the agreement has already been executed and USF graduate students are already working with the city to protect against cyber attacks on its traffic system, including traffic signals and bridges. Future projects could include traffic sensors and autonomous vehicles.

For more information visit the College of Engineering’s Facebook site to see the recorded event.

City of Tampa and USF Accepted into MetroLab Network

MetroLab Network is a group of more than 35 city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics, and innovation to city government. Its members include 44 cities, 5 counties, and 59 universities. The Network’s mission is to pair university researchers with city policymakers to undertake research, development, and deployment projects that improve our infrastructure, public services, and environmental sustainability. The Network was launched as part of the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative in September 2015.

Enhancing Cybersecurity in Public Transportation

Cybersecurity is a significant concern in all industries. Given the rapid adoption of technology in the area of automated and connected vehicles, transportation infrastructure is a particularly attractive target. The concern is so great that in 2013 the Florida Legislature requested the formation of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity , which named transportation as a key focus area. Public transportation vehicles (e.g., buses) are perhaps the most-exposed component of transit infrastructure—they carry a large number of individuals that are continuously entering and exiting and contain a constantly increasing number of different technologies that can be leveraged as potential attack vectors. Technology on-board a typical transit vehicle includes publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks, traffic signal preemption equipment that can be used to change traffic light timings, wireless fare payment technology interfaces (Near Field Communication, Bluetooth, and barcode scanning), automatic passenger counting systems, and connectivity with dispatch/command and control systems via a wireless modem or dedicated short range communications (DSRC). This project will identify and mitigate transit cybersecurity liabilities and facilitate ongoing cybersecurity information exchange among Florida transit agencies, their vendors, and cybersecurity researchers. This project will include a literature review of transit technologies and their potential vulnerabilities, a survey for transit agency staff for deployed technologies in Florida, organization of a Transit Cybersecurity Working Group, and workshops aimed to bring together the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, students of cybersecurity, cybersecurity researchers, and Florida transit agencies, to consider and evaluate the security of transit technologies.

Partners: City of Tampa, Florida Department of Transportation University of South Florida