3 things to know before Austin City Council meets Nov. 3

After failing in its bid earlier this year to win federal grant funds for innovative mobility solutions, the city of Austin is looking for ways to make good on its efforts.

Austin City Council will consider a resolution that would direct the city manager to develop a roadmap for informing policy decisions and create a prioritized list of possible "smart city" projects.

Austin was among the seven finalists in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart Cities Challenge this year. The agency awarded $40 million to Columbus, Ohio, and charged the city with helping to "define what it means to be a 'smart city' and [becoming] the country's first city to fully integrate innovative technologies—self-driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors—into their transportation network."

Here's what you need to know ahead of Thursday's meeting:

1. The Smart Cities Strategic Roadmap would be brought forward for council consideration in May if the resolution is approved.


The resolution would also entail identifying potential public and private funding opportunities for implementing the proposed initiatives, including federal, state and local resources.

2. Local entities may take a hard look at their real estate portfolios.


The city manager could also be directed to develop a process for working with such agencies as Austin ISD, Travis County, Capital Metro and Austin Community College to identify land within their respective portfolios that could be redeveloped to achieve certain policy goals. Those include creating affordable housing, transportation solutions and space for creative professionals.

3. The city could contract with a Dallas County forensic services agency to address the backlog of untested rape kits at the Austin Police Department.


Austin City Council will consider a $1.6 million, 12-month contract with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas, a department within Dallas County. The agreement includes five 12-month extension options which cannot exceed $400,000 each, meaning a total contract would not exceed $3.6 million.
By