Have you heard about the recent smart city development efforts that are taking place across the United Kingdom? These smart cities are using modern technology to connect people in a number of different ways. Things have reached the point that cities like London, Birmingham, and Leeds are being written about in publications.
They are honored during “Smart Cities Month” which takes place every August. These smart cities are the things of the future – but efforts to organize them are already underway. Here’s everything that you need to know.
What Are Smart Cities?
Let’s start out by defining smart cities. Before can go into more depth on smart city development, you need to know what this is. We won’t name them all here. Instead, we’ll describe what a smart city is by including a number of examples.
Imagine a city that has nothing but electronic buses. There are no annoying petrol fumes in the air. This town also has a city-wide WiFi program, so you’re connected no matter where you are. You won’t have to worry about losing your signal and being unable to use your smartphone in a certain area. Do you like to exercise outdoors?
Well, this smart city development also has an app that contains information on every walking trail. Want to know how popular a certain section of that trail is so that you can ignore it? Well, they have information available at your fingertips.
Essentially, a smart city is one that is fully connected online through a series of apps and other devices, while at the same time, using environmentally friendly measures. These cities are both technologically advanced and green.
Many a smart city development focuses on making the city safer as far as roadways are concerned. Do you want to know where road construction is taking place? Are you worried about coming across a utility company doing some work on the road and taking up half of it, causing traffic jams? Do you want to know where any recent traffic collisions have just occurred?
This is part of what the cities of Cambridge and Nottingham are doing. They are coming up with ways to alert drivers of these issues. For example, Cambridge is installing sensors all over the city. These sensors can tell you if a bus is running late on its route or if certain intersections are particularly busy. While they’re going one step further with this and even placing the sensors on trash cans to tell the city that they need emptying, this system of alerts is already very useful.
Meanwhile, in the town of Nottingham, their goal is to make the city safer by monitoring street conditions, such as traffic.
Pollution is a major problem in some cities. This has led some of them to do things like increasing access to public transportation and even create things like buses that run on alternative fuels or routes. For example, in the smart city development of Aberdeen, they are experimenting with hydrogen-fueled buses. This is something that many companies have ignored in favor of electric fueled vehicles.
However, Aberdeen is proving that this is indeed possible. Also, other cities have promoted their smart city development plans by making walking trails easier to find and even encouraging people to ride bicycles to work. In fact, a “rent a bike” type plan is in place in Milton Keynes, where they are also working on implementing electric powered buses. Other cities are monitoring air pollution caused by buses in certain areas to see if they can make any major changes.
An overall push toward getting people on public transportation is one of the major goals of smart city development.
Putting Smart City Development into Place
As you can imagine, there’s a lot involved in putting this smart city development into place. A number of things need to be monitored. The software to do this usually has to be developed and properly arranged. There’s always the issue of troubleshooting this software, and then coming up with the required solutions to the problems that arise. What features do end users expect from such a system? Then, someone needs to analyze the data. These are just examples of what goes on at the city level.
What happens when that information needs to be shared with the citizens? This is the other layer at play here. If a city wants to create an app that tells its citizens that an accident just happened, there are a number of things that need to happen. The creation of the app is just one of them. When it comes time to put all of these pieces to work, anything could happen. This is why these smart cities (or soon to be smart cities) must have the right electronic infrastructure in place.