students working on designs at desk

The Presidential Initiative is intended to foster excellence and preeminence in urban and place-based research and creative work at CU Denver through offering funding, coordinating faculty across campus, communicating outcomes, enabling connections with partners in the community, and serving as a resource for sharing data and best practices. In so doing, it is intended to both increase the impact of CU Denver’s urban and place-based research and creative work, and to attract and fund faculty and students interested in this domain. While focused on urban issues generally, the Initiative emphasizes work relevant to the Front Range, particularly when it has implications nationally or internationally.

The Initiative funds projects that address critical and timely topics related to cities, such as:  Social and Environmental Justice, Equity and Inclusion, Affordable Housing, Plan Making, Public Spaces, Global Cities, Smart Cities, Urban Informatics, Artificial Intelligence for Cities, Infrastructure, Transportation and Mobility, Climate Adaptation, Green Infrastructure, Air and Water Quality, Urban Ecology, Biomimicry, Green Real Estate Development, Public Health, Water and Energy Use, Natural Hazards Mitigation, Environmental Policy, Public Finance, Historic Preservation, Creative Industries, Placemaking, Community Development, Arts and Urban Revitalization, Healthcare Access, Economic Development, Behavioral Economics, Education Policy and Practice, Public Policy and Governance, Public Safety, Public Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Urban Design, Construction Management, and much more.

The 2021 Request for Proposals for seed grants  is now closed. Full descriptions of the projects awarded in the 2020 round of funding are given from the links below.

2021 Award Recipients

Using Artificial Intelligence and Sensors to Quantify Mobility in Real-time

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Dan Connors

Unit: Department of Electrical Engineering

Project Abstract:
While vast resources are being invested in the creation of autonomous vehicles, identical attention must be placed on making equal advances in smart, connected intelligent transportation infrastructure. SmartCity infrastructure enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) can perceive objects (e.g., vehicles, pedestrians, bikes, etc.) on the roadway and gather information on individual vehicles or composite state of traffic at a considerably finer level of granularity than present systems provide. The proposed seed grant will extend and promote the development of AI-based computer vision developed by Professor Connors and University of Colorado Denver’s Edge Computing Laboratory.

The core goal is to enable infrastructure-based computer visual perception and sensor fusion that quantify all mobility within transportation and urban areas. With an application to two areas of immediate practical interest the research will highlight using UC Denver Auraria campus as an open-research SmartCity environment: vehicle identification and classification, and smart intersection signaling. In both cases the project will utilize physically and visually realistic computer simulation to develop and evaluate deep learning neural network algorithms and follow with a pilot deployment of the algorithms for real-world validation with municipal partners. Overall, with the help of community partners, the seed funding will help extend existing work in artificial intelligence and computer vision further into the SmartCity domain. Seed support will impact the potential success of large-scale funding opportunities within National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and Department of Transportation.

2020 Award Recipients