Meet the top nine Australian smart city projects

Nine Australian smart city projects are finalists in the IDC Asia Pacific Smart Cities Awards.

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Nine Australian smart city projects have been shortlisted for the sixth edition of IDC's Asia Pacific Smart Cities Awards, which recognises in this edition the progress Asia Pacific municipalities have made and provides a forum for sharing the best practices to help accelerate ‘smart city’ development in the region.

The award covers 14 categories being: administration; civic engagement; digital equity and accessibility, economic development, tourism, arts, libraries, culture and open spaces; education; public health and social services; public safety for disaster response and emergency management; public safety smart policing; smart buildings and tech parks; smart water; sustainable infrastructure; transportation covering connected and autonomous vehicles, public transit and ride sharing; transportation for transport infrastructure and urban plannings and land use.

There are 63 finalists, with 14 from China, nine from Australia, eight from Taiwan, six from Singapore, five from Malaysia, five from South Korea, four from New Zealand, four from Hong Kong, three from Indonesia, three from India, one from Vietnam and one from the Philippines.

Switching Darwin project focuses on smart policing

In Australia, the City of Darwin’s $10 million project Switching on Darwin includes the installation of CCTV cameras at entrances to the city, street lighting upgraded to LED lighting and on ‘smart’ columns with the capacity to adjust lighting to reduce street crime. In Bicentennial Park, smart lighting includes sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify policy and emergency services. Free Wi-Fi has been expanded in key tourist and shopping areas and smart parking sensors indicate available parking and reduce congestion and emissions.

There are 24 environmental sensors in Darwin's CBD measuring humidity, rainfall, CO2 levels and it also measures temperature and noise levels among other things.

The project was first announced in November 2017, with a $5 million grant given by the Australian Government, which was matched with $2.5 million contributions from the City of Darwin and the Northern Territory Government each.

The project started in February 2018 and was completed in May 2019.

City of Palmerston improves safety with CCTV and smart LED lighting

The smart cities project at City of Palmerston focuses on the use of technologies for community safety. The $2 million project — composed of $1 million funding from the Australian Government Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, $500,000 from the Northern Territory Government and $500,000 from City of Palmerston — began in August 2019 and it is scheduled for completion by June 2020.

The program aims to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour through CCTV and smart LED technologies, to address better lighting in crime hotspots, to provide a deterrent for criminal behaviour and to provide better visibility to police.

Contribute to sustainability and environmental resources by monitoring, optimising and enhancing service delivery for water resources. It also plans to provide better community engagement, improve waste management with monitoring and collection and other benefits.

The City of Palmerston wants to be recognised as the territory's e-city and also expects to facilitate regional collaboration and deliver a scalable project allowing for further improvements.

City of Perth collaborates with local partners to improve engagement

Another project initiated in November 2017 is the Perth Smart Cities Collaboration, which was able to deliver several projects in less than two years, with the project being completed in May 2019 with a $3.6 million investment.

The project provided a marketplace platform, enabling the city and its partners to collaborate and exchange ideas which resulted in smart irrigation; video analytics through CCTV camera analytics to support decisions; a smart lighting trial; a sustainability dashboard with solutions and technologies that include an Open Data Portal, Public LoRa WAN and Citizen Science, which promotes the participation of schools and universities.

The partners for the project are Aquinas College, University of Western Australia, Fremantle College, John Curtin College, Lesmurdie High School, North Metro TAFE, Iona College, St George's Anglican Grammar, Kent St High School, Wesley College and Woodlands Primary School.

Logan City is a runner-up for disaster response and emergency management

The Flooded Roads Smart Warning System (FRSWS) project in Logan City installed 20 FRSWS signs with sensor technology to provide real-time information on the status of roads across Logan City.

The project was developed to minimise the risk of drivers inadvertently driving into flooded roads by using signs that only activate in flood conditions.

SunSpot helps users calculate the solar power potential of areas of interest

The Australian Photovoltaics Institute and the University of New South Wales have partnered with Solar Analytics and Enosi in the Energy Data for Smart Decision Making project to develop an open modelling platform that uses spatial data and data on solar exposure, energy generation and consumption to help end users calculate the solar power potential of areas of interest. 

“SunSpot uses geographical information systems data to estimate the technical potential of rooftop solar, accounting for the tilt of roof surfaces and shading at the site,” UNSW associate professor and chair of the Australian Photovoltaics Institute Renate Egan said when the project was announced in April 2018.

“As solar PV continues to be deployed at record rates on Australian rooftops, such analysis can help councils and the electricity industry plan for the solar future.”

Byron Shire Council helps the community with complex urban planning

Byron Shire Council has developed the Smart Strategic Planning project, a 3D-mapping tool with virtual reality technologies to engage communities in complex urban planning. The benefits of this project are the ability to visualise planned decisions so there is a greater support in better informed management for development decisions. It also supports urban growth and regional and rural informed settings.

Randwick City Council monitors parking and environment conditions at Coogee beach

The Coogee Smart New Technologies at the Beach’s $800,000 project applies smart technologies to help improve visitor experience at Coogee Beach with smart parking sensors, free Wi-Fi, more CCTV cameras, smart weather signs, real-time transport information and sensors on BBQs, amenity blocks and bins to improve service response time.

CCTV surveillance of the water from different angles at the beach and sensors that monitor environmental conditions are directly connected to the NSW Police Force.

The investment in the aquatic safety cameras is already being scaled out across Clovelly, Maroubra, Little Bay and Malabar beaches; and the weather station network will also scale out to Maroubra beach.

Cairns Regional Council monitors flood and stormwater quality entering the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

The Reducing Urban Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef project installed a network of environmental sensors in urban waterways to collect real-time water quality data and to identify high nutrient, sediment and chemical loads in water.

The study, in partnership with James Cook University, Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership and Itron Australasia, will deliver functional tools, and data in real-time, that will monitor urban run-off that includes high nutrient, sediment and chemical loads. 

The censor network will collect ongoing information on the loads of nitrogen and suspended solids that enter the Great Barrier Reef and the community will have access to this data, engaging schools and students with environmental education.

Sydney delivers 22 fully automated driverless metro trains

The multi-billion-dollar Sydney metro project has delivered 22 fully automated, driverless, six-carriage metro trains and eight new railway stations that cover underground and elevated cut-in stations. 

As part of the project, five New South Wales stations were upgraded, there are 23km of new track, with 13km of existing tracks being converted, upgrades to the facilities for maintenance and operation centres, service facilities and a new power supply for metro operations between Willoughby and Chatswood ensuring services every four minutes during peak hour.

Voting is open to the public and will close on 3 April.

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