Enter Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI)—an urban economics consulting firm that combines the academic and practitioner experience to deliver cutting-edge models. These models can explain the economic value, RoI, and efficiency of smart city solutions for a city, both for improving government and economic performance. “Our experts have high-level academic and economic knowledge of the practical realities that a city leader deals with,” says Steve Wray, Sr. Vice President and Principal, ESI. Having worked with the government closely throughout their careers, these experts completely understand the budgetary pressures, the decision-making processes, and the concerns city leaders may have while choosing a smart city solution and integrating it into their policies. That’s why ESI starts the client engagement process working to understand a city’s needs and goals, strategy, city plan, and budget. They talk to city leaders to find out the citizen’s inputs received over time. This helps the company to align citizen expectations and government expectations and accordingly suggest solutions to meet those goals. “We bridge the gap between citizens’ expectations and government’s expectations to help leaders make informed decisions,” says Wray.
We believe smart cities are not just about investing in technology, but making sure that technology is integrated into the strategy of a city and improving the quality of life
To put things into perspective, ESI has worked with a city in the Northeastern region in the U.S. to help them connect citizen’s expectations with their technology goals and objectives. The company built a roadmap to guide their investments and decision-making as the client moved forward. Moreover, ESI has worked with a transit agency to help them understand the impact of traffic delays and congestion on the operations of the transit system. It has an impact on the equity of services that are provided. For example, cars can use any way to divert off traffic, whereas buses have fixed routes to pick up passengers. Any delay impacts people in terms of lost time and affects the revenues of the agency. ESI demonstrated this impact. As a result, the agency partnered with the city leaders to develop new parking and transit stops rules to improve the transit system’s efficiency and reduce traffic delays. They are also working to reduce the amount of time that buses consume to take people to their destination.
With such a wide breadth of expertise, Econsult Solutions has recently launched “ESI Center for the Future of Cities” to bring its expertise in real estate, transportation, economic development, city government policy, universities or higher education, and hospitals—all the factors that make up an urban ecosystem. The company combines high-level expertise, adept analytical skills, and the ability to tell the story of the current scenario of a city to help support new policies and innovation. “We believe smart cities are not just about investing in technology, but making sure that technology is integrated into the strategy of a city and improving the quality of life,” says Wray.