How smart solutions can support City Deal plans

February 12, 2016

Practical smart city solutions set to transform the journeys of people living and working in the Cambridge region will be showcased today (Friday 12 February).

Smart Cambridge is bringing together City Deal Board and Joint Assembly members, cutting edge businesses, University researchers and council officers for a workshop to outline plans for smart transport technology to support the wider economic growth and prosperity of the Greater Cambridge City Deal area.

Three specific projects in development are: – digital screens to guide visitors arriving at Cambridge station, -‘Motion Maps’ plotting the best transport options, which will be available as an App on residents’ mobile phones and tablets, and – better real time bus updates.

And there’s much more to come, as Smart Cambridge is exploring how data, innovative technology and better connectivity can be used to transform the way people use the city’s transport network, reduce congestion and boost the local economy.

Supported through the Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership, the pioneering programme has begun setting out how it aims to make Greater Cambridge a ‘smart city’ with its own IT infrastructure.

It is developing a ‘smart city management platform’ with scope for myriad smart applications, including: a data network to support ‘Internet of Things’ technology – allowing products to ‘talk’ to each other – and a data hub to collate and process data from an array of sensors around the city.

There is an opportunity to use sensors in roads, pavements, traffic lights, lamp-posts and buildings to monitor a range of measures including air quality, traffic, cycle and pedestrian movements. The combined data can then be used to plan smart solutions including making transport systems more reliable and easier to use.

Much of the technology required is still in development so Smart Cambridge is looking to collaborate with commercial partners to ‘test bed’ new solutions. If successful, the technology and applications developed as part of the City Deal could be used more widely to support new communities in Greater Cambridge and beyond, including the significant development at Northstowe.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council and Chair of the Greater Cambridge City Deal Executive Board, said:

“The Greater Cambridge City Deal has agreed in principle to allocate £280 000 to develop smart technologies, better connectivity and smart engineering that will make all our lives better and tackle transport, congestion and other city challenges. There is potentially more money on the table given what we could achieve through our partnerships with universities and our world- leading Cambridge technology businesses, so we are looking at other smart transport projects.

“Smart data solutions will give people far better travel choices and improve the quality of journeys for those living and travelling around Greater Cambridge, and we are determined to think smarter about how we provide quality sustainable transport for our growing community.”

The Greater Cambridge City Deal Executive Board has given in principle support for the smart city management platform, and will consider a more detailed investment proposal for £280,000 to implement the work over the next two years at its meeting on 3rd March 2016.