Boston Planning and Development Agency - Smart Utilities Policy

The City of Boston, Massachusetts Smart Utilities Policy focuses on climate resilient infrastructure planning. A two-year pilot program, the policy incorporates five Smart Utility Technologies into Boston’s Article 80 Development Review, and Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Development Review Guidelines. The policy calls for the integration of new technologies that will prepare utility infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, including increased flood risks, heat waves and stronger storms.

The Smart Utilities Policy calls for the incorporation of five Smart Utility Technologies into new Article 80 developments based on each project’s size or other criteria:

  1. District Energy Microgrid - For projects over 1.5 million square feet, a centralized energy system or on-site power plant must be developed that has the ability to produce electricity while using excess heat for energy to heat and cool buildings. The system can also be disconnected from the power grid during outages and continue providing electric, heating, and cooling needs.
  2. Green Infrastructure - Projects over 100,000 square feet will incorporate green stormwater infrastructure to prevent storm runoff and excessive stormwater flowing into the water and sewer system.
  3. Adaptive Signal Technology - Smart traffic signals and sensors that communicate with each other to make various types of travel (pedestrian, vehicle, bicycle) safer and more efficient.
  4. Smart Street Lights - Traditional light poles will be designed with additional electrical and fiber optics connections at the pole for future deployment of smart sensors, Wi-Fi, and/or cameras.
  5. Telecom Utilidor - An underground tube used to consolidate the wiring installed for cable, internet, and other telecom services, with ample space to add more wiring over time. (For projects over 1.5 million square feet or projects that cover over a half mile of roadway.)

The Smart Utilities for Article 80 Development Review is a result of a two-year initial Smart Utilities project. The City and BPDA developed strategies “for more equitable, sustainable, affordable, resilient, and innovative utility services in the City of Boston.”


Publication Date: June 14, 2018

Related Organizations:

  • City of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Boston Planning and Development Agency


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Agency guidance/policy

States Affected:


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