Glasgow wins 'smart city' government cash



one car driving into the back of another

A more joined up use of CCTV and traffic management will enable authorities to react more quickly to deal with road incidents and traffic congestion.


Better use of CCTV camera technology will feed back to control centres, with the aim of preventing and reducing anti-social behaviour.


Close up of people's feet

Real-time information could allow shoppers to see how busy areas of the city are.


A room with light and fire on

Weather conditions and energy levels across the city will be monitored. Energy will be stored when demand is low and used when demand is higher.


Buses in traffic

A smartphone app will allow Glaswegians to get real-time views of traffic levels on roads and up-to-date information on bus and train times.

Reporting problems

Pot hole

A smartphone app will allow people to report issues like pot holes, graffiti or missing bin collections directly to the council with a GPS location.

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Glasgow has won a £24m UK government grant intended to make it one of the UK's first smart cities.

It will use the money on projects to demonstrate how a city of the future might work.

They will include better services for Glaswegians, with real-time information about traffic and apps to check that buses and trains are on time.

The council will also create an app for reporting issues such as potholes and missing bin collections.

Other services promised by the council include linking up the CCTV cameras across the city with its traffic management unit in order to identify traffic incidents faster.

It will use analytical software and security cameras to help identify and prevent crime in the city and monitor energy levels to find new ways of providing gas and electricity to poorer areas where fuel poverty is a big issue.

Glasgow will not be the UK's only smart city. Others including Birmingham, Sunderland and London are beginning to roll out technologies to make services work more smartly.

What is a smart city?

Both old and new cities around the globe are starting to get smarter, joining up services and collecting data in order to improve city life for both government and citizens.

Technology firms such as IBM, Siemens and Cisco are busy touting services that promise to streamline traffic management, rubbish collections and street lights.

Data is seen as key to making cities smarter and a network of sensors aims to connect everything to the network and create new services for citizens.

Alongside the solutions being offered by technology firms are more community-developed apps that use the power of the crowd to, for instance, offer real-time maps of city traffic flow.

Next month the BBC will be running a series of features looking at smart cities around the world.

The grant was offered by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), a body set up by the government in 2007 to stimulate technology-enabled innovation.

Its Future Cities Demonstrator, as the prize is known, is intended to act as a blueprint for other cities.

"Glasgow has some quite extreme challenges - it has the lowest life expectancy of any city in the UK for instance - and the hope is that if we bring together energy, transport, public safety and health it will make it more efficient and a better place to live," said Scott Cain, the TSB's project leader for Future Cities.

All data collected in the project will be available so that other cities can see it.

"The thinking behind it is to have somewhere in the UK where firms can look at the efficiencies, the investments and how you can address the challenges of a city," he added.

Thriving economy

Glasgow was among 30 cities in the UK bidding for the money, with the shortlist including London, Peterborough and Bristol.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts was in Glasgow to make the announcement.

"With more people than ever before living in our cities, they need to be able to provide people with a better quality of life and a thriving economy," he said.

"From transport systems to energy use and health, this demonstrator will play a key part in the government's industrial strategy and give real insight into how our cities can be shaped in the future," he added.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the news.

She said: "Generations of talented Scots have helped cement Glasgow's global reputation for innovation and creativity, and I am delighted the city has won its bid to secure the £24m Future Cities demonstrator."

Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, added: "This is a huge boost to Glasgow's ambitions to build a better future for our city and its people.

"By linking everything from foot and vehicle traffic to council tax collection and hospital waiting lists we can ensure we are being as innovative and smart to meet the continued challenges of a modern and future city life."

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