Enhancing the use of digital technology and data to improve how the City serves residents, businesses, and institutions


The Smart Memphis Plan is about technology.   But many of the challenges facing cities and city governments are adaptive, rather than technical.  In other words, cities are complex places not easily optimized by technical solutions alone.  In this plan, we recommend advancements in the City's use of technology, analysis of data, and deployment of fiber.  We discuss how operations and management - people - enable these advancements.  The aim of the plan is to illustrate how the city government can serve the people of Memphis by using technology for the primary purpose of improving economic opportunity and quality of life.  This plan focuses on the short-term: the next five years.  It does not attempt to predict how technology will shape the future.  Rather, it is based on a belief that the city's policies, investments, and organizational coordination of resources can shape the future of economic opportunity and quality of life for residents and businesses alike.  This plan serves as a starting point to inform how we use technology to do just that.


The Smart Memphis Plan is organized around six plan elements:

Transportation and Streets, Utilities, Buildings, Public Safety, Digital Equity and Economy, and Public Services.



Moving people, vehicles, and freight is an essential function of the city's transportation and streets system.  The system is supported by a complex network of signs and signals, regulated by policies of access, parking, and loading, and maintained by multiple agencies responsible for various components of the system.  Technology is currently deployed by individual divisions and agencies to improve how these components are administered, but system connectivity is necessary to enhance economic and social good and innovate new solutions to mobility.



Utilities and associated infrastructure connect and network our city. The system is made up of electrical components, meters, fiber, and hardscaped infrastructure to manage the network of information exchange and conveyance of electricity, gas, and water systems on and under the City’s surface. This element includes comprehensive, integrated asset management to assess infrastructure conditions, prioritize repairs, and make informed and strategic infrastructure interventions. Technology can be used to better gather and manage information. 



Buildings are more than the bricks and mortar used to build them – they are a complex set of working pieces that serve essential functions as homes, workspaces, and public places. Through permitting and codes, the City influences how buildings are placed, designed, and constructed, offering opportunity to manage the City’s growth. The City’s facilities are essential components of how it functions and provides services. Making public buildings more energy efficient is fiscally responsible and supports climate action goals.



Providing fire, emergency management services (EMS), and police services is a critical function of city government. The deployment of appropriate technology can increase the city’s return on investment, as each improvement creates the additional time that firefighters, paramedics, and police officers can spend serving residents. In many ways, the police and fire departments have been leaders in the adoption of new technology, but there are opportunities to more effectively use and connect the systems they have.



Over the last several decades, the digital revolution has transformed our economy and the types of jobs and skills in demand. It is more important than ever to have internet service, devices, and basic technology skills to access information and resources, connect with educational opportunities, find jobs, and stay connected to friends and family. Despite the growing importance of digital technology in our lives, inequities in digital literacy and access to broadband service persist within our city. Memphis Public Libraries has led the way in offering programs, training, and devices to help close the digital divide.



Public Services including solid waste, codes and zoning, and permitting are at the heart of government function. Efforts are currently underway by individual divisions to increase efficiency and improve the delivery of these services, but enhanced coordination is needed to ensure consistent and more efficient service. Advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), provide an opportunity for smart service that will improve the lives of residents and allow for centralized efforts across City divisions.