This article focuses on examples of smart city technology. We give a number of examples in the following areas: mobility, traffic, environment, waste, safety, health, urban planning and citizenship.
Examples of smart city technology – mobility
A smart city is a city that reduces traffic and makes people and goods move around efficiently. This way we can reduce the number of traffic accidents, the degree of pollution and time spend in traffic, resulting in a healthier population. To this end, a smart city supports multimodal transport, and smart traffic lights and parking places.
In a smart city, sensors and cameras are used to collect data about the movement of people. To serve people effectively, it helps if city authorities know how many people are at a location and when they are there. Smart city technology enables the municipality to effectively manage the flow of people, vehicles and bicycles in the area. This helps to reduce traffic congestion and promotes healthy travel because it is visible where pollution-free areas are located in a city.
Examples of smart city technology – traffic
No less than a third of the traffic in the city is traffic that is searching for a parking space or a location. Smart city technology we can use are parking apps that help motorists find a parking space. Paying for a parking space can also be done directly via their smartphone. Smart traffic lights use cameras that monitor the flow of traffic and reflect this in the traffic signals. The ability to detect movement can also be used to adjust the LED street lighting, so it can be dimmed when there is no one about and can be brightened when traffic gets closer. City buses can also be connected so that people have access to real-time information about when a bus will pull up to a bus stop. Finally, autonomous transport is be a great example of technology in a smart city.
Smart cities use sensors to collect information about traffic and available parking spaces. This data is made available on public websites and apps that show traffic jams and free parking spaces. Predictions can also be made, like specific recommended traffic routes. In addition, the data on pedestrian routes can help entrepreneurs who want to open a new store. Furthermore, estimates of the size of crowds can be used to respond effectively to public disruptions and to deploy clean-up staff after events. In addition to data from sensors and cameras, data can also be entered into the system. For example, street closures and traffic problems can be passed on, so that citizens can plan a new route and officials can respond more quickly.
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Examples of smart city technology – environment
The total energy consumption is also part of a smart city. Smart city technology focuses on the installation of smart meters, electric vehicles, better network management and the optimization of energy production via sustainable resources. Smart grids are part of the development of a smart city, as well as the aforementioned smart street lighting. This can also be implemented in homes and buildings: movement detection can turn on lighting, and heating and air conditioning can also be optimized.
A smart city is also committed to monitoring and protecting the environment, with sensors that can measure air quality, and ozone and noise levels. In addition, the sensors measure, for example, the groundwater level or the impact of solar panels. By collecting environmental data, early warning can be given about pollution and other environmental problems. In addition to traffic, industry also has an effect on air quality. With a smart sensor network, companies can provide more insight into their emissions, monitor the effect of changes, optimize business processes and minimize the risk of disasters. The temperature in cities is higher than in the surrounding area. Smart urban design can reduce this heat island effect. Because urban heat islands are local, it is important to know where they occur. Sensors can help with mapping and designing solutions.
Examples of smart city technology – waste
In a smart city, waste collection is also made smarter. This is done, for example, by installing sensors on waste bins or providing waste bins with a built-in waste press. The result is that the waste bins have to be emptied less and fewer garbage trucks have to be deployed. In addition, sensors and data also help to keep the streets clean. Citizens use video and smartphones to document illegally dumped waste, abandoned items and other waste problems. This approach has not only made it possible to better identify problem areas, but has also contributed to reduce the amount of clean-up efforts.
Examples of smart city technology – safety and care
An important aspect of smart cities is to make people feel safe. Sensors can be used for a variety of applications, both for property security and to keep citizens safe. This includes burglar alarms, surveillance cameras, fire detection and flood alarms. Such alarms can connect with law enforcement and emergency assistance, but also with private operators and trusted neighbors. Smart city technology is also aimed at preventing or reducing the risks and consequences of adverse events, including accidents, environmental pollution and natural disasters.
Sensors in smart cities are used for health observation, where data is sent to medical professionals. In addition, they can detect medical emergencies such as someone falling and not getting up. For example, there are also sensor-equipped inhalers for asthma patients to determine where poor air quality causes breathing problems in the city. And finally, testing lead content in water can prevent health problems in real time.
Examples of smart city technology – city planning and citizenship
An example of smart city technology applies to city planning, a critical function of all cities. Because the data used from smart city technology is real-time and accurate, the planning of land use becomes much smarter. Data from transport, engineering and planning services are combined in a broad platform, dramatically improving land use planning, as all decision makers have equal access to the same data.
Citizens themselves can also act as sensors by reporting what they perceive. Just think of the aforementioned websites and apps through which citizens can pass on problems with mobility and pollution. This data, together with sensor data from buildings, lanterns and cars, among other things, can be used to analyze and visualize the city as a whole. The data can then be published online, so that everyone has access to it. This data can then also be used for the benefit of those same citizens, because they contain valuable insights and information about how citizens interact with their cities. Traffic data collected by street lighting can indicate a great location for a new restaurant in a renewed neighborhood. These predictive analyzes help cities to filter data and translate it into relevant and useful information that makes city life better, easier and more productive.
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