Carnegie Mellon University

Technology Becomes the Bridge to Equity

Metro21 is an interdisciplinary research and implementation lab at Carnegie Mellon University that works with metropolitan and rural communities to tackle some of their most pressing real-world challenges. Using technology as our tool, we join forces with civic and community partners to guide, implement and inform innovation that improves quality of life through access to infrastructure, affordable transportation, economic opportunity and more.


What is a connected community?

Going beyond smart city initiatives, we step directly into communities big and small to focus on the issues that matter most to the people they impact. From access to clean water to job growth, connective technology allows us to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.

Explore Innovation in Action


Our Projects


Our People


Our Partners

“At Metro21, we research, develop and deploy innovative technologies and policies by partnering with communities to help solve the problems facing metropolitan regions — sustainably, equitably and efficiently.” — Raj Rajkumar, Director, Metro21

Featured Highlights

NSF Workshop

Enabling the Implementation of Integrated and Scalable Smart Cities - Funded by NSF

Through a series of virtual panels, we will address the issues related to enabling the implementation of integrated and scalable smart cities technologies and approaches in real-world settings that will inform an invite-only workshop at a later date.


bus schedule

Utilizing School Bus Routes to Deliver Meals to Families in Need

Through a collaborative partnership spanning government, nonprofit and local business, Prof. Stephen Smith created an artificial intelligence algorithm that optimizes bus stops and food delivery routes to ensure children, families and seniors throughout the Penn Hills area can receive meals at convenient locations during this difficult and uncertain time.


Burcu Akinci at her desk

Faculty Spotlight: Burcu Akinci, Co-Director, Pennsylvania Smarter Infrastructure Incubator

An innovator in construction and facility management, Dr. Akinci is passionate about using smart infrastructure techniques and 3D imaging, embedded sensors and radio-frequency identification systems to streamline proactive decision making in construction and facility management processes.


cars passing through a traffic light that is green

Collecting Data for Clean Curbsides

A Department of Energy grant funds Carnegie Mellon’s project to clean up curbside emissions in busy business districts by using data to enhance the safety and efficiency of parking, traffic flow and incentivize the use of electric vehicles.  


image of a microphone

Design for Real World Change

Professor Kristin Hughes talks about how employing design-research methods that combine hands-on learning and creative thinking helps communities to identify factors of motivation and agency, while supporting distinct individualized learning styles.

Listen to the podcast