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City of Edinburgh plans for digital urban traffic management

View of Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat
Image source: Guam

City of Edinburgh Council is planning to set up a digital urban traffic management and control (UTMC) system and deploy air quality monitoring sensors as part of the next stage in its smart city programme.

It has also begun trialling the use of sensors in its public housing, following the completion of the first phase of the programme.

The UTMC will be set up as part of an intelligent infrastructure project with the aim of clearing congestion and improving air quality. The system will continuously receive data from a range of sources, such as journey time, traffic flow and air quality, and act autonomously to make changes to traffic signal timings on the road network to improve traffic flow.

It is already helping the council manage traffic flow disruptions produced by large events, and will begin to use data from sensors on 10 major arterial routes to manage responses to disruptions.

The next phase will involve the installation of air quality monitoring sensors at 10 locations to measure levels of NO2 and particulate matter, and to provide alerts of poor air quality.

The deployment of humidity, temperature and CO2 sensors in council housing is aimed at enabling repairs officers to fix issues before they affect tenants. They have been installed in 500 homes so far and will be further extended around the city to support a damp and improvement plan.

Ambition to be world leader

Council Leader Cammy Day said: “I’ve long been a champion of Edinburgh’s ambitions of becoming a world leading smart city – a digitally inclusive, data rich, and sustainable capital with services that are easily accessible by all our residents.

“So, I’m delighted that we’ve delivered a foundational platform to drive insights around how the city is operating, which we will build on into the future.”

He pointed to the launch of Edinburgh’s smart city operations centre at the end of last year, which enables the council to analyse traffic movements and events in real time, and the installation of 11,000 smart sensors in waste bins to make collections more efficient.

“We’ve also completed the roll out of 1,500 environmental sensors to help us monitor and address issues in our council homes,” Day said. “Phase two of our smart city project is expected to expand this to all 20,000 of our homes and will also look at sourcing air and water quality sensors, which should help us to monitor our environment.

“We’ll also be looking into technology to help us address environmental issues like fly tipping.

“The whole operation is helping us to improve services and make them more sustainable and fit for the future, drastically stepping up our capabilities as a council.”

The developments are taking place under Edinburgh’s partnership with CGI, which is focused on the use of technology and analytics. The council said this has provided savings of £45 million since it began in 2015, and that an extension agreed last year until 2029 is expected to produce a further £12 million.


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