Charlotte Launches Pilot Program to Increase Technology Transparency

Published on September 22, 2023

City employees installing DTPR sign

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 30, 2023) – The City of Charlotte is trialing Digital Trust for Places and Routines (DTPR), an open-source communication standard created to increase transparency, legibility and accountability for digital technology in public places.

Thanks to an investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the City of Charlotte will be joining the City of West Palm Beach and The Underline in Miami as the three organizations selected to participate in the Knight Community DTPR Program. These groups will be piloting the standard through a partnership with Helpful Places.

“We are proud of how the City of Charlotte continues to leverage technology to build opportunity for residents and businesses to thrive,” said Mayor Vi Lyles. “Gathering community feedback on how we use digital technology will help us ensure we achieve our goals toward equity, sustainability and economic growth.”

As a smart city, Charlotte is full of public infrastructure supported by digital technology. The city is currently using the DTPR standard for the PoleVolt electric vehicle charger in Belmont and the TravelSafely app, which connects users in South End to a network of traffic intersections, pedestrian beacons, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Signs have been installed in Belmont and South End to inform residents and visitors about the technologies. The signs use a set of icons to visually communicate the type of technology being used and its purpose. They include QR codes and a URL for people to seek more information and provide feedback via a dedicated webpage. The City of Charlotte will also be actively seeking feedback through in-person and online surveys.

“Cities use technology to create efficiencies, improve sustainability, develop economically, and enhance quality of life for residents,” said Kelly Jin, Vice President for Communities and National Initiatives at Knight Foundation. “But people must first be informed and understand how the technology works to be able to engage in meaningful public conversations on how their communities will benefit from these tools. We believe that Helpful Places and these pilot projects are setting up the foundations for how spaces can use technology to deliver community outcomes.” 

Charlotte’s participation in the DTPR pilot is a key component of SmartCLT 2027, a smart city strategic framework that builds resident-centric strategies around privacy and data rights, digital equity, and digitally interconnected infrastructure. DTPR will empower residents to weigh in on decisions around which technologies are used and how they improve our entire community.

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