The 10 best Airbnbs in Colorado, from a chalet with a sauna near Denver to a cabin with a hot tub in Durango

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colorado airbnb mountains

  • Colorado is a scenic year-round destination for skiing, hiking, and outdoor activities.
  • Airbnbs across the state are particularly popular, so it’s best to book early.
  • There are currently no travel restrictions to enter Colorado, and experts say it’s safe to stay in an Airbnb.

Colorado offers an ideal year-round nature-filled vacation. The Rocky Mountains make it easy to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe in winter or hike during warmer weather. There’s also gorgeous fall foliage, and plenty of buzzy restaurants and world-class art in cities like Denver.

I’ve been spending much of the pandemic savoring Colorado’s wide-open, natural surroundings and I’m hardly alone. There are no COVID restrictions to visit Colorado and some of the best vacation rentals are being booked months in advance.

If you’re considering a road trip to the Rockies or getting a head start on planning a future trip, it’s never too early to consider your lodging. Here’s where to start.

Browse all the best Airbnb homes in Colorado below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

Here are the best Colorado Airbnbs, sorted by price from low to high.

A tumbleweed tiny home in Fairplay, $79

Tiny House mountain colorado airbnb

Book this tiny home in Fairplay on Airbnb starting at $79 per night

Designed and built by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, one of the leading tiny home companies, this all-pine-wood property is located in an RV and cabin site in Fairplay, the mining town made famous by the show South Park. In fact, not far from the rental is an open-air museum dedicated to the show. Breckenridge is also just a 30-minute drive away.

Like most tiny homes, this one is chicly designed to make the most out of its limited size via clever storage spaces and a loft bedroom with a Queen-size bed. There’s also a bench that serves as the unit’s main seating area that can be expanded into a twin bed for additional sleeping space. Heat, air-conditioning, and a decent kitchen with an induction stove are included as is access to community hot tubs (seasonal from Memorial Day to Labor Day).

Off-site, outdoorsy pursuits from hiking to fishing are never too far away. And considering the region’s history as a mining town, visitors can also try their hand at gold-panning.

This tiny home has plenty of open dates over the next few months, until the fall.

A cozy tiny house in Colorado Springs, $82

Carriage House Fort colorado airbnb

Book this house in Colorado Springs on Airbnb starting at $82 per night

Despite its smaller square footage, this thoughtfully decorated tiny carriage house packs in a lot of personality. Located just outside Colorado Springs’ newly blooming downtown core, this is a convenient accommodation choice if you’re looking to experience the region’s natural attractions such as Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.

The “bedroom” of this studio is actually a sleeper loft accessed by a pipe ladder, which could potentially pose some mobility concerns. The main floor of the unit is nicely furnished with the original carriage-house door from the 1900s, faux fur couch throws, quirky framed artwork, and a midcentury console in the living room. There’s also a fireplace for cozying up during the colder months. The bathroom comes with a tub surrounded by subway tiles and the kitchen is small but has all the necessities, including a mini-fridge stocked with local beers.

The adjacent garden is accessible to guests. There’s also a fire pit, and herbs grown on raised planters are yours for the picking.

This studio has plenty of availability over the next several months beginning at the end of April.

A historic city home in Denver, $114

Historic Carriage House in Denver's Oldest Neighborhood airbnb

Book this home in Denver on Airbnb starting at $114 per night

This playfully decorated one-bedroom carriage house, which dates back to the 1800s, is an ideal home base for exploring Colorado’s booming capital city thanks to its central location. Parks, shops, restaurants, and public transportation are all within walking distance.

Despite its historic bones (there are beautiful exposed bricks throughout), this home has been updated with modern elements, including a dishwasher, air conditioning, Netflix, and heated floors (including in the bathroom). Perks like garden access, a hot tub, and a gym (shared with other homes on the property) elevate the experience.

But it’s the quirky interior decor that truly makes this house special. A repurposed dresser is now the bathroom counter, a license plate collage hints back at the property’s previous life as a garage, and wood-frame windows act as a wall that separates the bedroom from the living room.

This property has scattered availability over the next few months with more dates opening up for spring and beyond.

A midcentury hygge chalet in Grant, $176

The Hygge Chalet and Sauna Colorado airbnb

Book this chalet in Grant on Airbnb starting at $176 per night

One of Colorado’s most popular Airbnbs, this 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom cabin is full of relaxing features for a self-contained vacation. Located in a semi-secluded forested pocket of Grant, a Platte Canyon town about an hour away from both Denver and Breckenridge, this home is as tasteful as it is tranquil.

The A-frame construction in vibrant blue hints at the design-forward interiors. But before you even enter the cabin, you might spot the steam sauna on the deck — one of the cabin’s signature amenities. Inside, there’s a midcentury lean to the decor. Furnishings are minimalist, textured, and have enough rustic touches to match the natural landscape outside. There’s a fireplace, memory foam Queen beds, and walk-in showers.

Outside, in addition to the sauna, seasonal add-ons include a grill and hammocks. Wi-Fi can be spotty given the tucked-away location, but there is a cabinet full of board games to keep guests entertained. Or, just hang out in the back deck, looking at the pretty mountain views.

Because of this rental’s popularity, it’s currently booked until late fall, but travelers who like planning ahead can find plenty for the end of the year.

A ski cabin with a hot tub in Durango, $181

Private cabin with hot tub Next to Purg Resort colorado airbnb

Book this cabin in Durango on Airbnb starting at $181 per night

In southwest Colorado, near the border of New Mexico, this rustic-chic two-bedroom cabin is conveniently located right next to Purgatory Ski Resort, a 1,500-acre ski destination popular among locals. In fact, the slopes are so close, guests can watch lift chairs swinging just over the deck. Though it’s not quite a ski-in/ski-out property, other active pursuits can be done right at its doors, including hiking, mountain biking, and snowshoeing.

While the cabin technically has two bedrooms, one is a lofted sleeping area. Interiors toe the line between vintage and rustic, with wood snowshoe wall accessories, pendant lights of exposed bulbs tied to thick knots, and lots of wood treated in a variety of finishes. There are also plenty of windows that provide spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The cabin’s list of amenities also includes an indoor fireplace, a hot tub, and a cedar sauna. 

This cabin has open availability in the coming months.

A modern cabin in Pike National Forest, $232

Pikes Peak Resort-Wilderness Cabin Colorado Airbnb

Book this cabin in Pike National Forest on Airbnb starting at $232 per night

This newly renovated cabin in Pikes Peak Resort is a marriage of modern luxury and secluded rusticity. The cabin was treated to a recent comprehensive facelift to match the stunning Rocky Mountain views that surround it.

A three-bedroom, two-bathroom hideaway in the middle of Pike National Forest, the cabin is perched along a ridge overlooking a picturesque lake and meadow. The log construction offers up the ultimate in bucolic charm and even the bed frames are constructed with what could be blonde tree trunks and branches. The recent renovation included updating the outdoor deck, the bathrooms, plumbing, and flooring as well as installing a brand-new kitchen and the outdoor hot tub, which is perfect for star-gazing.

Considering the location in a national forest, staying here means quiet and seclusion. But more intrepid thrill seekers won’t have to venture far to find activities like mountain biking, ATV riding, fishing, and snowshoeing.

This cabin has very limited availability in spring, but dates open up starting in June.

A riverside A-frame in Basalt, $241

airbnb colroado Frying Pan River Aframe on private water

Book this riverside cabin in Basalt on Airbnb starting at $241 per night

For a discreet getaway, consider this red-roof A-frame cabin in the quaint town of Basalt, located 20 miles north of Aspen. It’s the epitome of country charm.

This one-bedroom refuge is nestled along the Frying Pan River on Dallenbach Ranch, a 140-acre expanse that is regularly visited by deer, big-horn sheep, and turkey. In addition to the cabin, guests are given access to a mile-long private section of the water, where catch-and-release fly-fishing for trout is permitted.

The accommodations are thoughtful but modest. There is a Queen-size bed, plus a pullout sofa in the living room, making it an ideal choice for a couple or small family. The cabin comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, an outdoor grill, and Direct TV. While cell reception is available, there is no Wi-Fi here.

This property has scattered availability in the next few months.

A four-bedroom cabin in Grand Lake, $248

Classic Colorado A-frame on the creek Airbnb

Book this cabin in Grand Lake on Airbnb starting at $248 per night

Surrounded by a few different lakes (including Columbine Lake and Grand Lake), this four-bedroom woodsy cabin is especially great for larger groups like multi-generational families or pods of friends. Its location near Rocky Mountain National Park makes it an equally ideal booking for outdoors enthusiasts.

There are four bedrooms with different bed configurations to accommodate as many people as possible. One is set up with three Twin beds, while another has a King bed and a Twin bed. The rental also has plenty of lounging spaces, such as two living rooms and large decks on both the front and back sides of the house. You can move the portable fire pit to either side. Convenient amenities like a washer/dryer and indoor fireplaces make long-term stays possible.

The interior decor provides a homey but global feel. The leather pouf ottoman, the Native American-inspired textile throughout, and patterned rugs are complemented with deer antler wall fixtures and minimalist coffee tables.

It’s important to note, however, that while this property is part of a residential community, on-site features like the clubhouse, the horse pasture, and the gazebo can’t be used by renters.

The cabin has plenty of open dates over the next few months.

A ski-in/ski-out penthouse condo in Breckenridge, $608

Ski-In/Ski-Out Penthouse in Downtown Breckenridge colorado airbnb

Book this ski condo in Breckenridge on Airbnb starting at $608 per night

As one of the country’s top ski resorts, Breckenridge’s accommodation pool fills up quite often. As far as rental options go, this stylish three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo (big enough to fit up to 10 people) is among the most popular, especially because you can ski in and out of the building.

Just yards away from Breck’s downtown core and Quicksilver SuperChair, the location is the biggest selling point. But within its four walls, there’s still a lot to complement a day on the mountain. Handsome decor includes wooden ski wall fixtures, vibrant area rugs, and lots of wood surfaces to reinforce the chalet inspiration. Both bathrooms have tubs, including a larger soaking tub in the master bathroom. There’s also a fireplace in the living room, and outdoor patios that overlook the Rockies.

Recreational amenities like the gym, outdoor fire pit, as well as a sauna and steam room are shared with the building.

This condo has open availability throughout the year, aside from the month of June. 

A modern glass house in Winter Park, $925

the glasshouse Colorado airbnb

Book this glass house sanctuary starting at $925 per night

This sprawling, three-bedroom mountain house is a splurge-worthy booking for families or traveling pods. Its location just outside Winter Park’s ski resort means the property is perched over gorgeous views of the trails and boasts easy ski access. For city time, Denver is just 70 miles away.

The striking interiors mean there’s much to enjoy before you even set foot outside. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer round-the-clock visual access to Winter Park’s stunning natural landscapes, not to mention tons of sunlight during the day. The open floor plan is layered with modern furnishings, such as bright, high-end leather couches and top-of-the-line kitchen appliances.

All three bedrooms come with en-suite bathrooms. Plus, the loft area is outfitted with a Queen-size pullout bed, allowing the house for a maximum occupancy of eight guests. Other perks here include outdoor lounges, a hot tub, and grilling equipment.  The host also makes himself available to assist with guests’ needs, from shuttle services to grocery delivery.

This property is available starting in April, well into next year.

FAQ: Can I travel to Colorado right now? Here’s what you should know.

How do I book a vacation rental home in Colorado on Airbnb?
You may search for homes on Airbnb and filter results based on location, price, date, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, amenities, and more. Once you’ve found a home you want to book, check for cancellation policies, and review your price in full. For more information on how to book on Airbnb, click here.

What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?
Cancellation policies on Airbnb are different for every home and set by each host. For a full breakdown of Airbnb’s cancellation policies, click here.

Is it safe to stay in an Airbnb home right now?
Experts say that private home rentals on Airbnb are safe, especially when compared to hotels. They eliminate interactions with others, and hosts must follow enhanced cleaning procedures. However, there’s still an inherent risk to traveling and we recommend following CDC guidelines, practicing social distancing, double masking, and washing hands frequently.

Can I travel to Colorado right now?
There are currently no COVID restrictions for travel and entering Colorado, but be sure to read up on the most recent rules and regulations, and pay close attention to any restrictions implemented by the individual county you’re interested in visiting. Additionally, there is still no guarantee when it comes to safety with travel right now. We recommend following CDC guidelines including social distancing, wearing a mask, hand washing, and taking extra precautions when traveling to or from a COVID hot spot.

Is it safe to ski right now?

If you’re wondering if skiing during COVID is safe, we talked to experts about the potential risks. And with proper cautions, skiing and snowboarding can be considered relatively low-risk activities. Additionally, all of the Colorado ski areas have introduced new COVID-related safety precautions in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, so it’s a good idea to check each resort’s specific policies. You may also check Colorado’s statewide COVID-19 updates for additional details on infection rates, testing sites, and the recently renewed mandatory mask-wearing requirement.

Some common changes for the 2020-2021 ski season include mandatory face coverings, social distancing, advance reservations, cashless transactions, and reduced restaurant seating. Many resorts are also limiting capacity, especially for peak dates, so be sure to check your dates and book early. 

More of the best mountain getaways

Scenic Mountain Lodge on Sardis Lake, Clayton Oklahoma airbnb

Looking for more cool mountain homes and hotels to book? Here are some of the best places to stay:

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Southwest Airlines has added new service to 2 hot vacation destinations ahead of the potential summer travel boom

Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airline.

  • Southwest Airlines will begin offering new services to Florida and Montana.
  • This includes Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach and Montana’s Bozeman Yellowstone airports.
  • Southwest has been drastically expanding its flight services since last year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Southwest Airlines will begin offering flights to Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport and Montana’s Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in May ahead of the potential summer travel boom.

Travel, especially by air, dropped significantly in 2020 as COVID-19 first began taking its hold on the US. But now, the travel and hospitality industry is hoping that pent-up demand and the continuing vaccine rollout will lead to a big spike in travel this summer. 

As a result, companies are gearing up for this potential boom, including Southwest Airlines. In the last year, Southwest has dramatically expanded its flight offerings with new services to locations like Palm Springs, California, Cozumel, Mexico, and Miami.

Now, the airline has added additional flights to two travel hotspots: Florida and Bozeman, Montana.

Bozeman, Montana – known as “Boz Angeles” – has become a hot destination, especially for wealthier travelers looking to trade city life for a break in nature. Bozeman also been named one of the fastest-growing cities in the US and offers close access to hotspots like Yellowstone National Park. 

This will be Southwest Airline’s first destination in Montana. Flights to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport will take off from airports in Denver and Las Vegas starting at $40 beginning May 27.

On the opposite end of the climate spectrum, Florida has also emerged as a top travel destination during the COVID-19 pandemic due to its warm weather and more relaxed restrictions. Southwest already flies to 10 other airports in Florida but decided to expand its offerings in the state for “winter-weary families” looking to get away to warm destinations, Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said in the press release.

Direct Southwest flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport can be taken starting May 6 from these four airports: Dallas Love Field, Baltimore/Washington, Nashville, and Chicago Midway, the latter starting June 6. These flights will start at $70.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 US cities paving the way for the future by investing in technology, sustainability, and infrastructure

Atlanta, Georgia
The population of Atlanta is expected to grow by nearly three million over the next few decades.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic exposed cracks in infrastructure, mobility challenges, and a digital divide.
  • These US cities will remain resilient due to investing in things like sustainable technology and innovation.
  • As a result, places like Raleigh-Durham, Denver, and Atlanta are some of the fastest-growing cities.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

If city leaders across the country learned anything from the past year, it’s the value of resilience. 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed cracks in infrastructure, posed mobility challenges, and revealed a digital divide. The places that have fared the best are the ones that have been investing in the future, specifically in areas like digital transformation, manufacturing, sustainability, infrastructure, and innovation. 

“I don’t think we talk about resilience enough,” Diana Bowman, co-director of the Center for Smart Cities and Regions at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, told Insider. “Resilience talks about our capacity to respond in a quick way to address whatever those external challenges are.”

While investing in technology and infrastructure is key for cities of the future, Bowman said that resilience also depends on strong partnerships across the public, private, and local university sectors. 

“One of the things that we’ve seen in this last 12-month period is if you take your eye off the ball at any single one of these, then your ability to have a fully engaged school system, fully engaged workforce is really challenged, and everybody suffers as a consequence of that,” she said. For example, the influx of people working and learning from home revealed a lack of access to high-speed internet in some places. 

Cities of all sizes should be thinking about building a better tomorrow through investment and policy, or risk getting left behind. 

The need for cities to innovate and be more sustainable is coming, whether they’re prepared or not, Zachary Schafer, CEO and executive director of United for Infrastructure, a nonprofit working to modernize and repair the country’s infrastructure, told Insider. “It’s better to be developing frameworks early to understand how to deploy them, how to use them, how to benefit from them, and how to talk to residents about these technologies.”

Several US cities are already leading the way. Here’s a look at 10 places making big strides when it comes to innovation.

The cities are listed in no particular order.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, March 2020, after lockdown order
Chicago is using digital trackers to collect data on the environment and activity to help improve city conditions.

The city of Chicago has several programs in the works aimed at updating infrastructure and advancing manufacturing. 

One example is the Smart Lighting Program, which some have referred to as the largest streetlight modernization project in the nation. It involves installing wireless, LED lights across the city, which can be dimmed or controlled remotely. The goal is to cut energy costs and improve public safety. 

To function as a kind of “fitness tracker” for the city, the Array of Things (AoT) project included placing sensors throughout the city to collect data on the environment, infrastructure, and activity. The purpose is to address traffic safety and flooding, reduce costs, and make the city more efficient and equitable. 

Both the streetlight and AoT programs come with interactive elements, so residents can track their progress and view the data collected. 

“Chicago has a good program for launching projects using digital technologies to transform the city landscape,” Schafer said. “You’re building the foundational infrastructure for a smart city or for a city to use to make smart decisions.” 

On the manufacturing front, Chicago is home to MxD (Manufacturing times Digital), which opened in 2015 to focus on digital design, automation, and digital in manufacturing. MxD is part of the Manufacturing USA initiative, which established institutes across the country to focus on different areas of technology and digital transformation in manufacturing and supply chain. 

MxD helps educate manufacturers about digital tools and processes. It has a mock production line, projects to help digitize equipment, and cybersecurity technology developed with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawi Wind Farm at Upolu Point, the northernmost tip of Hawaii Big Island on the Kohala Coast.
Hawaii launched the Aloha+ Challenge to address six metrics from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, including clean energy transformation.

The entire state of Hawaii is leading the charge on sustainability, Bowman said. Two years ago, Gov. David Ige issued a declaration of commitment to sustainability — though the state’s focus on sustainability started long before. 

In 2014, Hawaii kicked off the Aloha+ Challenge to address six metrics from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, including clean energy transformation, local food production, management of natural resources, solid waste reduction, creating smart and sustainable communities, and building and educating a green workforce. The initiative comes with an online dashboard that allows the public to track the progress the state is making in these areas. 

Bowman said the program is a great example of the state legislature in Honolulu working with nonprofits and private companies to achieve sustainability metrics. “If you don’t measure it, you can’t act upon it, so it’s crucial in terms of sustainability and resilience,” she added. 

The city of Honolulu has a resilience strategy and set up a Resilience Office to track how climate change is affecting the city. It’s examining “shocks” and “stresses,” such as hurricanes, tsunamis, infrastructure problems, cost of living, and vulnerable communities.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta
The population of Atlanta is expected to grow by nearly 3 million over the next few decades, adding to traffic woes.

Atlanta has been growing exponentially, and the city is expected to add nearly three million more residents over the next couple of decades. 

To handle the growth, city leaders and stakeholders have been focusing on traffic and transportation infrastructure. Part of the plan is to add more express lanes to highways, put sensors on some roads to detect traffic patterns and weather problems, and adjust traffic lights to help with flow. 

Smart streetlights are also being added, and the city is testing a gunshot detection system that would send alerts to 911, police patrol cars, and residents’ smartphones. Other systems would help drivers detect parking spots. Atlanta partnered with Georgia Power, AT&T, and Current by GE for the project.

“There’s a lot of activity going on just in general around transit and Atlanta, in and around the larger metro area,” Christopher Le Dantec, associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing and School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech, told Insider. That means thinking through the transportation of people and goods around the city and its suburbs. 

“It’s a very difficult problem to solve because there are so many different agencies at play,” he added. 

Other initiatives center on reducing the number of cars on the road. Atlanta is expanding its walking and biking plan, providing grants to help communities become more pedestrian-friendly and encouraging different types of commuting like carpooling, flexible work schedules, and working from home. 

Incorporating more bike infrastructure has been several years in the making and involved collecting and analyzing data, Le Dantec said. “It was part of a transformation within the urban core of Atlanta, where there is now a lot more people moving around on bicycles, even prior to the past year’s events,” he added.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, tourists by the River Walk
San Antonio’s Office of Innovation is focused in part on digital infrastructure.

Through its Office of Innovation, San Antonio has several infrastructure and technology projects in the works.

Some are still in the development phase, but so far some city vehicles have been equipped with sensors to gather real-time data on infrastructure and identify problems like potholes and then report them to the appropriate agency for repair. The goal is to reduce calls to the city and provide upkeep to areas that tend to be neglected. 

Recently, San Antonio launched a Smart Streetlight Project that will have remote controls and sensors to monitor parking, air quality, temperature, noise, and flooding. The city also installed interactive digital kiosks at its transit hub and other locations to give residents and visitors real-time access to information about traffic, transit systems, and attractions, like local restaurants. The kiosks also provide free WiFi and access to city services. 

Cities should view digital infrastructure as a way to rethink how people interact with their government and policymakers, and give residents easy access to details about what’s going on in their city, Le Dantec said. 

“Being able to actually show what those outcomes look like becomes a really powerful way to mobilize people toward addressing these issues,” he said. 

Technology in manufacturing is another key area for San Antonio. CyManII (Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute), a Manufacturing USA institute located there, is focusing on cybersecurity and secure automation in manufacturing. These issues are critical today, as the manufacturing sector saw an uptick in ransomware attacks in 2020.

Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

RIoT Accelerator Program pitch nights in Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh-based nonprofits like RIoT support entrepreneurship through pitch competitions and other events.

The tri-city area of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill has long been known as a hub for innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

In fact, Raleigh ranks third on Forbes’ list of the “Best Places for Business and Careers” for its economic and job growth and educated workforce. 

Being a tech hub and supportive of entrepreneurs and startups has attracted new residents, making Raleigh one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. 

The three cities also form the Research Triangle, along with North Carolina State University, Duke University, the University of North Carolina, and Wake Forest University. The Research Triangle Park is home to several major tech companies and known as a center for innovation and technology. 

The presence and partnerships with universities is a central part of a smart, resilient city, Bowman said. 

“You have world-class universities that have been fundamental to driving the innovation agenda,” Bowman said. “It has attracted leading tech companies and other multinationals to that space. Not only is there the benefit of having universities in terms of being able to engage with them and co-create and co-test, it becomes a supplier of high-quality talent to those companies.”

Several nonprofits exist across Raleigh-Durham, including Innovate Raleigh and RIoT, that are devoted to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. The tech focus also extends to the manufacturing sector. The area houses a Manufacturing USA institute, PowerAmerica, focusing on semiconductor technology and electronics.

Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin - Madison students 2020
Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are encouraged to participate in sustainability initiatives.

The Wisconsin state capital has an ambitious sustainability plan to reach zero-net carbon emissions and use 100% renewable energy for city operations by 2030. The plan sets specific goals for slashing overall energy and fuel consumption and making half of city buses electric by 2035. 

Other city initiatives include increasing solar power by training unemployed and under-employed people in solar panel installation. 

The city also has goals to improve air and water quality and transportation systems, support sustainable construction, affordable housing, and local food systems, economic and workforce development, and more. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a number of sustainability initiatives, too, like housing and grants for students who have ideas for enhancing sustainability on campus. The university is also working to align its sustainability goals with academics and research. 

A part of its efforts are engaging key stakeholders, including universities, nonprofits, local business, and members of the public. Interviews, public meetings, and a new website in development will keep citizens informed of the progress and promote transparency. 

Local governments too often overlook the need for communication, especially in innovation and digital transformation projects, Brian Chidester, head of worldwide industry strategy for the public sector at information management firm OpenText, told Insider.

“[Madison] has really embraced that piece of it,” he said.

Phoenix, Arizona

Waymo
A Chrysler Pacifica outfitted with Waymo’s self-driving technology.

Phoenix, and the entire state of Arizona, has been working to become a leader in autonomous vehicles since 2015, when the governor signed an executive order to support the testing of driverless cars. 

Phoenix has partnered with companies like GM and Lyft to allow hundreds of driverless cars to be tested on their roadways. Recently, the city began working with Waymo to launch a self-driving taxi fleet in nearby Tempe and Chandler. 

“You just see the vehicles everywhere, the Waymo vehicles in particular, and we now have a long history, and it’s just part of the landscape,” Bowman said. 

The state also created the Institute of Automated Mobility with Intel, Arizona State University, and other universities and organizations to research autonomous vehicles. Part of the goal is to create a regulatory framework that other places can model. 

One setback to the self-driving initiative was a 2018 incident when a driverless Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe. Bowman said city leaders handled the investigation in a transparent way that regained community trust and investment in the program. 

By investing in autonomous vehicle infrastructure and innovation, the hope is to cut down on traffic fatalities, help older people age in place, reduce traffic and the need for parking, and protect the environment, she explained.

“Integrating autonomous vehicles into your fleet has the potential to reduce congestion within cities, and that brings an environmental benefit with it,” Bowman said. 

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles traffic
Traffic and road safety are the primary infrastructure topics in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles has emphasized its commitment to sustainability while addressing some of the city’s biggest infrastructure concerns, like traffic and road safety. 

A digital dashboard, called the pLAn, debuted to track and measure its Green New Deal sustainability plan. It keeps tabs on metrics like water and electricity usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and other sustainability efforts. And the data is open to the public. 

“One of the things I really like about what we see in LA is not only do they make this public — and they have a fantastic dashboard that any citizen or any individual anywhere in the world can go to and see how they’re doing based on hundreds of metrics — but they also have held themselves accountable,” Bowman said. “They’ve done a voluntary review of how well they’re doing, and the results of that review has then gone on to inform the next step.” 

Governments holding themselves accountable in this way is something other metros can learn from, she added. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti has also set a goal of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2045, and has a number of other goals to make the city more sustainable and reduce traffic. 

For example, they’re working on a network of bus-only lanes, adjusting traffic lights to put trains first over cars, launching an electric bus fleet, creating better traffic light synchronization, and debuting bike- and pedestrian-friendly projects. 

Los Angeles is also home to one of the Manufacturing USA institutes, CESMII (Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute), that focuses on smart sensor and digital process technology to make manufacturing more efficient.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston street sign illustrating its innovative approach to traffic management
A Boston street sign highlights its Smart Vision project.

One of Boston’s many innovation, infrastructure, and sustainability projects is the Vision Zero initiative, a smart-street project with the goal of reducing traffic accidents and fatalities through data gathering and analysis.

Through the program, Boston is investing in new infrastructure on the streets, including LED lights, surveillance cameras, sensors, and a public dashboard. The data collected will inform future decision-making on roadway improvements, like safer sidewalks and streets and advanced signage. 

Other traffic-centric innovative infrastructure programs include giving drivers real-time information about where to find parking spaces or suggestions for taking another form of transportation. The point is to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions. The city is also working on driverless car testing, smart parking sensors, and IoT. 

Additionally, Boston is working to modernize information systems and technology in utility infrastructure to make utilities more affordable, equitable, and sustainable through the Smart Utilities Vision project. 

“[Boston] has been trying to position itself as a technology hub, so that’s part of what’s driving a lot of their digital transformation infrastructure,” Chidester said. 

Investing in innovation and infrastructure tends to attract larger companies and a highly skilled workforce, which boosts the economy, he added. Specifically, Boston has developed an environment to draw and support fintech companies. 

The Boston area has the advantage of having several universities, including Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which the city partners with to test new technology and other projects. 

“One of the things you see is cities with large, very advanced universities with good engineering programs are some of the furthest along, simply because they’ve got the partnership between academia and city government,” Schafer said. “You’ve got engineering programs going to the city to say, ‘Hey, we’re working on this technology to be tested in our city.'”

Denver, Colorado

Denver .JPG
“Love My Air” dashboards are installed in Denver schools, relaying real-time data from area sensors to a TV display.

Denver’s population has increased 20% over the last 10 years, so the city has seen more construction and traffic, which has worsened its air quality. 

To address the issue, they launched Love My Air, a program to measure air quality in real time using pollution sensors.

The city is tackling its transportation issues by participating in Vision Zero, like Boston. This includes launching an intelligent transportation system to address traffic and road safety. The program will deploy connected vehicle technology to allow trucks to communicate with traffic signals and connect city vehicles. 

And to address and manage data around its infrastructure, Denver is creating an IoT platform to gather data about transportation, environmental health, weather, and freight. The data is pulled from road and weather sensors, street lights, universities, and other city infrastructure, which the city will use to drive future projects. 

Denver also has a partnership with Panasonic on a project called CityNow. It’s creating smart city infrastructure in a remote area that includes high-tech highways and driverless vehicles. They’ve installed WiFi, LED street lights, pollution sensors, security cameras, and a solar-powered microgrid. 

One challenge cities face in their digital transformation and innovation initiatives is that they start small, maybe with specific neighborhoods. While this makes sense, Chidester said it often creates disparate technologies, giving cities an additional challenge of making everything work together for the benefit of residents. 

“You’re not going to drop a whole bunch of technology to encompass the entire city,” he said. “Ultimately, as you crawl, walk, run, there’s the need to ensure interoperability, and the ability to take information and analytics and drive value on behalf of their citizens.” 

Data and analytics are necessary for sustainability and infrastructure efforts. But another issue cities will need to address revolves around the data they’re collecting through sensors and other means, Schafer said — specifically, who owns the data and what it’s all used for. And do citizens have the right to take their data back? 

“That’s a thorny issue that a lot of them are going to have to deal with,” he said. “Whether they like it or not, it’s coming.”

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Boeing drops after airlines ground 777 planes following engine failure over Denver

Boeing 777
Pieces of an airplane engine from United Airlines Flight 328 sit scattered in a neighborhood on February 20, 2021 in Broomfield, Colorado.

  • Boeing stock fell 3% during Monday’s session in the wake of the engine failure of a 777 plane over Colorado on Saturday. 
  • Boeing recommended airlines suspend the use of planes equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW44000-112 engines. 
  • The National Transportation Safety Board found two fan blades in the United Airlines engine were fractured. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Boeing stock dropped Monday after the aircraft manufacturer recommended that airlines ground certain 777 planes after an engine failure on United Airlines flight rained debris over the Denver area on Saturday.

United Airlines said it will “voluntarily & temporarily” remove 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines from its schedule. The move came after Flight UA328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure. The flight landed safely at Denver International Airport.

None of the 229 passengers or 10 crew members were injured, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement. Parts from the plane were found scattered around the Broomfield area, which is located about 22 miles east of Denver International Airport. The NTSB said Sunday an initial examination of the Pratt & Whitney PW4077 engine showed, among other findings, that two fan blades were fractured.

Boeing stock fell as much as 3.1% to $210.83 before trimming the loss to 1.8%.  Boeing’s shares over the past 12 months have lost roughly 33%. United shares, meanwhile, rose 3.5%.  

“While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol,” said Boeing in a statement Sunday, referring to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pratt & Whitney is a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies. Raytheon stock fell 1.5%.  

Boeing said it supported the decision by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau and the FAA to suspend operations of 777 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines.

“We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney,” Boeing said. 

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said Monday it has suspended the use of planes with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in UK airspace. The engines are not used by any UK airlines, it said. 

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Harrowing video from inside United flight 328 shows the engine on fire as plane spews debris across Colorado neighborhoods

colorado plane debris
People look over debris that fell off a plane that shed parts over a neighborhood in Broomfield, Colo., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.

  • Though it landed safely, videos from the ground and sky show United flight 328’s engine in flames.
  • A passenger on the plane took a video of the engine on fire and rattling in the air.
  • Authorities said no one on the plane or on the ground was injured in the event.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Several videos posted on social media on Saturday showed United Airlines flight 328 soaring through the sky with one engine on fire just before the plane landed safely at a Denver airport.

The plane, a Boeing 777-200, dropped debris throughout several Colorado neighborhoods, including a massive piece that narrowly missed someone’s home.

None of the flight’s 231 passengers and 10 crew members were injured, nor was anyone on the ground below, authorities said.

One video showed the engine rattling ominously and engulfed in flames.

 

Another video from a driver’s dashboard camera showed the moment the engine exploded in the sky, leaving behind a plume of black smoke.

 

Photos from after the landing showed charred remnants of the engine.

 

The plane had taken off from Denver International Airport in Colorado, en route to Honolulu, Hawaii. It safely returned to the airport shortly after takeoff.

In another video, passengers could be heard cheering and clapping after the plane touched down.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the flight had experienced a right engine failure after takeoff. Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

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A plane suffering engine failure dropped debris in people’s yards as it flew over Colorado, then landed safely

colorado denver debris
In this photo provided by the Broomfield Police Department on Twitter, debris is scattered in the front yard of a house at near 13th and Elmwood, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Broomfield, Colo.

  • A United Airlines flight dropped debris over Broomfield, Colorado, on Saturday.
  • The flight suffered engine failure after takeoff, and returned to the Denver airport safely.
  • No injuries on the ground or on the plane were reported.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A plane suffering engine failure as it flew over Colorado dropped debris across several neighborhoods and narrowly missed a house on Saturday afternoon.

The Broomfield Police Department tweeted a number of images of large, jagged pieces of metal that fell from the sky. One photo showed a massive, circular piece from the plane’s engine atop a home’s doorstep.

 

Remarkably, no injuries or deaths were immediately reported. The police department said it issued a Code Red to about 1,400 residents in nearby neighborhoods asking them to look out for debris on their property and report it to authorities.

Police also warned residents not to touch or move any debris.

The plane, carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew, landed safely after returning to the Denver International Airport, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

United Airlines Flight 328 had just taken off from the Denver airport, en route to Honolulu, Hawaii, when it experienced a right-engine failure after takeoff, the FAA said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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