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Securing Levi’s Stadium with Technology

Wednesday, January 7, 2015   (0 Comments)
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When it was announced that the City of Santa Clara would be home to the new 49ers Stadium, the full service, charter city began planning for the impact this massive stadium would have on the City. Many in city government would think in terms of land use planning around the new stadium site to respond to the coming changes to the community; but in this instance, significant planning for public safety and traffic management technology began and fully developed over the course of more than two years. 

Information technology, public safety and public works started collaborating on what information technology each department needed to properly serve the stadium. Santa Clara’s IT Department got involved early and became a key partner in the discussion of how to manage public safety and traffic management effectively. IT did not wait to be asked for services by the departments. Rather, they sat at the table to brainstorm on solutions to effectively serve all the departments needs. 

Think for a moment what a stadium means for a City.  70,000 people descend into a community of 118,000 residents for a roughly four-hour event.

That’s a lot of people, a lot of movement and a lot of need to coordinate efforts. Patrons have a significant impact on traffic, public safety and other City resources. Responding to those impacts depends on technology integration and required cutting edge solutions. 

City of Santa Clara Chief Information Officer Gaurav Garg and his team saw the train coming and played an integral role in bringing stakeholders together to ensure Santa Clara had cutting edge information technology for City infrastructure to match the cutting edge stadium. IT worked with the departments on a plan and design to give their vision shape.

“In a traditional approach, we would have waited for public works, traffic, police and fire to tell us what they wanted to accomplish with their individual department goals,” said Garg. “By taking a collaborative role with all departments, IT was successful in offering innovative and creative ideas to unify efforts.”

By being proactive and involved early on, the IT Department along with the Police Department created a GIS based Common Operating Platform (COP) that provides real-time situational awareness for first responders and command staff.  Police, Fire and traffic systems were funneled into one central platform so collaborative public safety event management could take place.  

The City extended dark fiber from City Hall to the Stadium to ensure sufficient bandwidth capacity to deliver full service connectivity with City technology resources. This was particularly key around providing real time information and communications.

To address the spike in demand for additional officers to staff the Stadium during events, an app was deployed to partner with neighboring police departments to double badge their officers. Using this app, officers can sign up for shifts and command staff can effectively manage schedules across agencies. 

A command post was established in the stadium for events.  From one central location, public safety and public works command staff can monitor incidents via the COP, observe traffic cameras video, and execute signal synchronization. So, from one location Police can report a traffic accident, Fire and emergency medical responders can be dispatched, and traffic signals can be altered to adjust traffic flows in the area. 

Of course, this type of technology infrastructure, while critical to the operation of the Stadium, does come at a price. By getting involved in the process from the visioning stages, IT was able to define what was needed and inform leadership of the cost up front so proper budgeting could occur. 

Commented Garg, “The City departments really came together as a team on this effort, and I am glad that the IT Department was viewed as a partner in empowering the project and creating a vision that is very successful today.”

“The takeaway for MISAC members is that technology is so pervasive in your organizations, you really have to get your hands into a project early, to guide your fellow departments on the feasibility of their ideas while at the same time offering your own fresh ideas. Clearly, pulling on the experience of fellow members can make you a better partner to the departments you serve.”

For more information on the Santa Clara story contact Santa Clara CIO Gaurav Garg at 


Click here for a PDF version of this article. 


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