Have you wondered what role Cities have in advancing the drone industry?

drone over city


dupuis_headshotNicole DuPuis is a Senior Associate at the National League of Cities, a Washington, D.C. based organization dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. At the NLC, Nicole manages the League’s best practice research work on transportation, public works, and telecommunications and helps local leaders communicate the impact of infrastructure projects in their communities. Nicole’s areas of expertise include transportation planning and governance, broadband access and adoption, and public utility regulation.


In July 2016, the NLC released a report for its members on drones, aptly titled, “Cities and Drones – What Cities Need To Know About Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”.  With Part 107 now in effect and the drone industry poised to expand, communities are sure to see a rise in drone use, and potentially new concerns over safety and privacy.  Cities and Drones is a primer on drones for local officials, providing insight into the Part 107, as well as offering suggestions for how local governments can craft drone ordinances to encourage innovation while also protecting their cities.  Nicole is the principle author of the report and in this episode of the Drone Radio Show, she talks about its findings and recommendations and how cities and members of the drone industry can work together to craft sensible solutions that provide benefit to all.

In This Episode

  • [02:30] Introduction.  Meet Nicole DuPuis, Senior Associate at the National League of Cities, a Washington, D.C. based organization dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities.
  • [02:54] About the National League of Cities. The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents.
  • [04:33] Cities And Drones. In July 2016, the NLC released a report on drones for its members on drones called,  “Cities and Drones – What Cities Need To Know About Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”.  The report is a primer on drones for local officials, providing insight into the Part 107, as well as offering suggestions for how local governments can craft drone ordinances to encourage innovation while also protecting their cities.  Nicole talks about the report and the initial feedback from local governments.
  • [06:33] Local Authority. While the FAA regulates the airspace, drones ultimately take off and return on land located within local governments, which falls under the local land use and zoning control.  Nicole talks about the various controls vested to local governments that may be used to regulate commercial or recreational activities.
  • [09:21] NLC Advocacy. The NLC advocates for local control.  It doesn’t advocate a certain position or regulation in responding to drone concerns.
  • [10:57] Local Issues and Concerns. According the the report, the key issues cited by local governments are related to safety and privacy.
  • [13:37] Opportunities for Local Governments. Local governments should be mindful of overstating their regulatory stance, because cities themselves could benefit by using drones for infrastructure inspections, public safety, videography and other ways to use the technology to achieve greater effeciencies.  Cities may also benefit by expanding their economic base to include drone based businesses and associated companies.
  • [17:54] Regulatory Approaches. Thus far, local governments, concerned with safety and privacy have enacted local legislation that identify areas where a drone can operate and where they cannot.
  • [18:11] Enforcement. Local ordinances need to take into consideration the need for enforcement and the ability of the local government to provide the necessary services.
  • [22:02] Broad Based Community Support. Local governments should work cooperatively with commercial drone operators, recreation drone enthusiasts and other members of the community in crafting sensible policies and regulations for drone operation.
  • [22:30] Who Should Read the Report. Local policy makers and government officials would benefit by reading this primer on drones and cities.
  • [24:38] Next Steps. The NLC will continue to work with local governments.  A national NLC meeting in Pittsburg later in 2016 will include a session on drones.
  • [26:23] Closing.

Mentioned Links

About the National League of Cities – The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents.

cities