How 19 smart cities are using big data to change their futures. Part 3

Big Data Future

In Part 3 of How 19 smart cities are using big data to change their futures, big data will continue to be the big story about how smart cities in Canada and the United States are using it to change their futures.

Toronto, Canada

Waterside Toronto, a government agency is partnering with Sidewalk Labs (owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc.) to create a smart waterfront development known as Quayside. This development “combines forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centered neighborhoods that are expected to achieve record-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.” The 12-acre project in Toronto’s Quayside district is expected to be a proving ground for the integration of sustainable design and technology into urban planning.

New York City, USA

For the second year in a row, New York City was acknowledged as one of the most developed smart cities in the world. As part of its smart city plan, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection is deploying a large-scale Automated Meter Reading [АС1] (AMR) system to get a better snapshot of water consumption. The system also provides customers with a useful tool to monitor their own water usage each day. With a population of just over 8.5 million, New York City uses 1 billion gallons of water daily which makes water conservation a priority. The city also uses Bigbelly solar-powered “smart” bins to monitor trash levels and trigger alerts to schedule a waste pick-up.

Las Vegas, USA

As the 28th-most populated city in the United States, Las Vegas is home to almost 650,000 residents. Hosting 43 million tourists each year, with its bustling 24/7 casinos, city officials recently turned to smart city data management to reduce some of the resulting pressure on city operations.

The city implemented Hitachi’s Smart Spaces and Video Intelligence solution, a combination of hardware and software that analyzes intelligent video and other IoT (Internet of Things) data. This solution provides the city with a single view of activity, operations, and safety issues to enable real-time data and analysis that guides them on implementing resources more effectively.

For example, the city can produce heat maps of streets that predict the likelihood a pothole is going to develop in a given location, and then take steps to fix the issue before it starts to damage vehicles. In terms of efficiency, the length of time it takes to complete garbage collection routes has been reduced from ten hours to four.

Freed-up employees have been redeployed to assist with other services.

San Francisco, USA

This city has an urban-planning challenge on its hands given that residents who earn $100,000 are qualified as low income. Fortunately, San Francisco city officials discovered UrbanFootprint, a company based in nearby Berkeley. The company has developed cloud-based software that helps cities “create sustainable, resilient communities.” A well-known architect named Peter Calthorpe likened UrbanFootprint to Sim City. “It allows non-experts to model the impacts of different urban planning scenarios, such as zoning changes and road reconfigurations” in just a few minutes. The software leverages an extensive database of environmental, social, and economic conditions.

After making their mark in San Francisco, UrbanFootprint has partnered with California to introduce their smart city urban planning tool to more than 500 cities and government agencies – free of charge. San Francisco is also known for its bicycle-friendly streets, which are part of the city’s vision for a sustainable transportation system. A network of bicycle-friendly streets is utilized by people of all ages and abilities who can now relax and enjoy traveling on two wheels.

To encourage participation, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) utilizes automated counters to monitor bicycle data and evaluate cycle use in the city. Using the data from these smart monitors, the agency identified where it would be useful to add 10 miles to the bikeway network and developed 30 new intersections. Also, 5.5 miles of that new bikeway network provides physical protection from passing traffic.

That’s all we will share for now about the impressive achievements of data-driven projects in cities around the world The McKinsey Global Institute calculates that these smart city technologies have the potential to boost key urban quality-of-life indicators by 10 to 30 percent.

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