Living in future-proofed cities now means more than just apps, machines or streamlining city operations. Smart cities are now designed to increase the quality of life for their residents, improve sustainability efforts while at the same time benefit local businesses.
Cities are now striving for more interactive and responsive administration, safer and better public spaces while meeting the needs of every population. The technologies and urban living in smart cities also call for smarter urban transport networks, clean and seamless water supply and waste disposals, as well as efficient ways to light, cool, and heat buildings with lesser resources and importantly, lower emissions.
Here are some of the best solutions implemented in smart cities around the globe:
Taipei Smart City Project Management Office (TPMO) was launched in 2016 to create Smart Taipei, a project by the city to promote public participation and public-private partnerships. Its Smart Parking Billing High Video Identification System enables the public to access parking information, make fee inquiry and receive parking guidance through an app. Using smart columns and geomagnetic information, the app also utilises video identification and licence plate recognition to activate smart billing. This allows the Transportation Department to monitor parking status and reduce the time taken to find parking spaces around the city.
Another smart initiative launched is their 24-hour recycling and garbage collection and recycling machine called the iTrash station which also incentivise users. During their trial period, the station collected more than two tonnes of garbage, 20,000 bottles and 8,000 aluminium cans. The station is equipped with IoT and cloud technologies to collect data and notify operators to collect trash or fix malfunctions. Citizens are rewarded points on their EasyCard, a smartcard that pays for public transportation and other services.
Barcelona has been integrating smart city solutions across the city’s urban systems including their waste management, street lighting, public transportation and city parking, since 2012. One of the projects is placing the bus network on an orthogonal grid system. This structure places interconnectivity between bus lines, trams, metro trains and bicycles. The grid enables accessibility throughout the city with less transit and much shorter waiting time. In a bid to reduce CO2, hybrid buses are also used while the signages at bus stops are solar-powered.
Throughout the city, low-cost sensors are placed to detect noise levels, air pollution, temperature and humidity, and the data can be directly accessed by citizens and authorities in real time. Corrective measures can be implemented promptly to address any issues and further lower possible problems which might cost more time, money and inconveniences.
In 2019, Hong Kong launched “smart government” and “smart economy” for the city. Rolling out with smart lampposts equipped with weather sensors, the city further amped up the effort by fitting them with 5G tools.
The city also launched a mobile city dashboard that allows data collection to show real-time images, maps, icons, and charts of information such as average traffic speed in districts and tunnels, as well as temperature, rainfall, or parking availability. The app also displays the various live public transport data which can assist users plan their daily journeys and activities.
Amsterdam was an early adopter of the smart city concept in Europe. In 2009, it launched Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) to improve the city’s economy, environment, government, living and mobility. One of the initiatives launched to reduce city traffic is Toogethr. The rideshare platform matches passengers with drivers based on their work locations and working hours. This aims to remove 25,000 cars and reductions in carbon pollution, fuel consumption as well as and savings in travel costs.
Another smart solution which is still being tested is Roboat, an autonomous floating robot in metropolitan canals that provide dynamic infrastructure, transport logistics as well as data gathering. The robotic boat provides an alternative method to transport people, deliver goods, and collect waste
Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) is Malaysia’s first master-planned financial district in KL and is future-proofed with its robust digital backbone. The districts’ fully fiberised infrastructure creates a seamless connection and flow of information, making it the most digitally connected district in the city.
TRX Integrated Management System (TIMS) brings together traffic and security management, tunnel control, building and public realm management, as well as integration with facility and asset management systems across the entire development. This provides faster access to information, which enables quicker and better coordinated responses, especially important during critical incidents and emergencies.
Within the district, smart electricity meters collect information on power usage while KAPTA technology evaluates the district’s water safety. Around the development, automatic incident detection (AID) cameras collect traffic data and identify traffic irregularities in the tunnel for better traffic management. Out in the public space, special sensors collect information on pedestrians and utilisation of the space all day long, while the weather sensors detect weather conditions to optimize irrigation and water usage.