The promise of smart cities is moving from hype to reality. And it seems that a lot of the attention is going to the big cities. Cities like New York, Dubai and Singapore and are getting the bulk of the attention from smart city vendors and the media.
All cities are important
But what about smaller cities and towns? In America, more than one-half of the nation’s population live in cities and towns with fewer than 25,000 people. If we are to truly transform the world’s cities into efficient, data-driven, smart cities, we need to start paying attention to smaller cities.
Small cities doing big things
Maybe more attention should be paid to the small city, because it looks like they are delivering some big results. At Miovision, we’ve implemented TrafficLink, our smart traffic signal technology, in small cities across North America. Cities like Waterloo Ontario, Northampton Massachusetts and Brossard Quebec have implemented smart traffic solutions, and they’re generating big results in a short period of time. We’re talking about immediate cost savings, improved road capacity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s not just our projects in small cities that delivering results. Other cities and projects are delivering big results too.
Santander, Spain with a population of about 180,000 people is a model for effective smart city deployment. They’ve implemented over 10,000 sensors across their city. Cherry Hill, New Jersey has implemented a sustainability dashboard to track how much it costs to heat, light and operate Township facilities, down to the square foot. And in Perth, a small city in Scotland, they are making major investments in smart waste, intelligent street lighting and open data initiatives.
The small city advantage
Why are smaller cities delivering better results. When implementing smart city initiatives, we’ve found that small cities actually have some key advantages over larger cities.
Smaller projects, quicker results
Small cities typically have bounded problems. Problems like, we need to reduce congestion at these 6 intersections. Or, we need to track water usage for 50,000 people. Larger cities will typically provide a whole host of issues that require sophisticated planning and tracking. Small problems mean quicker implementation and faster results. Faster results translate into momentum and budget for more projects. Getting results in 6 months vs. 6 years means cities can better justify current and future smart city initiatives.
Less resources, bigger impact
Small cities have bigger constraints. They don’t have the luxury of a substantial traffic operations team. Constraints mean that benefits like automation, remote monitoring and analytics deliver bigger impact. It also means saving a big chunk of money relative to their budget.
Build on local assets
Small towns and rural communities are looking for ways to use local assets to strengthen their economies and provide better quality of life. By seamlessly overlaying smart sensors, software and cloud technology on existing infrastructure, cities can adopt data-driven management systems that will grow and adjust as their city does. No need to rip out and replace what’s already there – this infrastructure provides the foundation for a smarter city!
Join our webinar to learn more
Still think smart traffic signals and smart city projects are only for the big boys? Join our next webinar and we’ll provide you with some key examples that will make you think otherwise.