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BY SKIP DESCANT | GOVTECH.COM | APRIL 3, 2018

In a partnership with Kansas City, some 5,000 smart, connected Avis rental cars will receive and send data related to parking, general information or events.

 

Aerial shot of Kansas City. In a partnership with Kansas City, some 5,000 smart, connected Avis rental cars will also communicate with the city for data related to parking, general information or events.

The Avis Budget Group, which operates rental brands like Avis, Budget and Zipcar, will partner with Kansas City, Mo., to allow the city to feed some of its many data streams into its cars. The result means renters, who are often visitors to the city, will have easy access to parking and traffic information via mobile devices using the Avis app.

“From a user experience, we hope this will guide renters to their destinations more efficiently and provide them with local knowledge of things like construction, congestion and other impediments to getting around,” said Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer of Kansas City. “Similarly, by adding parking context — don’t park on the east side of Main Street on the first Wednesday; it’s street cleaning day — and guiding customers to sites that meet their needs, they will have more time to meet or shop in our community with less frustration.”

Kansas City has become a leader in the smart cities arena, deploying an army of sensors, harvesting data and using it to predict everyday problems like what intersections are most vulnerable to potholes. Bennett calls downtown Kansas City “the 54 smartest blocks in the United States.”

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