Following in NYC’s footsteps, Miami-Dade is rolling out free WiFi on buses and trains and near transit stops, the Miami Herald reports. Over the next three months, more than 1,000 city and county transit vehicles and 51 transit stations will be outfitted with WiFi. Another 300 interactive digital “WayPoints” with WiFi and USB quick-charging ports will also be installed around the city.
Miami-Dade officials are calling the WiFi rollout the city’s first step in becoming a “fully integrated smart city.” The networks will also allow for more timely transportation schedules and better emergency alerts.
“These new devices and services are much more than a new way to access the internet,” said Alice N. Bravo, Miami-Dade director of transportation and public works, in a news release. “Greater connectivity in the transit system means increased efficiency, less downtime, and overall better experiences for our passengers.”
The WiFi is being installed by CIVIQ Smartscapes, the same company that turned NYC’s old phone booths into internet kiosks. They’ll also be footing the bill — which is estimated to be about $20 million to start — and will in turn make money off digital advertising on the kiosks. Miami-Dade will also get a revenue share from the project.
Although Miami has long carried a rep as not being the friendliest city for people who walk, bike or take transit rather than drive, the city has made better mobility a priority in recent years. Last February, the city merged its transportation and public works agencies into one with the goal of improving efficiency and better integrating services. Bravo told Next City last year that the merger could make technology adaption easier by streamlining advancements under the umbrella of a single department.
“All those technologies, all those apps, everything is transportation,” Bravo said. “Every asset, every resource is an opportunity to serve multiple mobility purposes.”
Kelsey E. Thomas is a writer and editor based in the most upper-left corner of the country. She writes about urban policy, equitable development and the outdoors (but also about nearly everything else) with a focus on solutions-oriented journalism. She is a former associate editor and current contributing editor at Next City.