New smart city services will be trialled in towns across Essex and Hertfordshire thanks to a new partnership between the two county councils and technology firm Telensa.
The project includes:
– Gully monitoring: blocked street drains (gullies) cause flooding, and monitors can alert and even predict problems before they cause a flood.
– Highway wind monitoring: instantly alerts the highways team of high winds or gusts, and builds a data set that helps to predict dangerous local driving conditions.
– Traffic monitoring and analytics: from dimming unnecessary streetlighting on empty roads to understanding local traffic patterns.
– Waste bin monitoring: enables more responsive collections, and helps make sure there is enough capacity where it is needed.
– Air quality monitoring: provides street-by-street measurement of air quality to complement the broad picture provided by existing monitoring stations.
The pilot starts this month and will initially run for two months.
Councillor Ian Grundy, Essex County Council cabinet member for highways, commented: “I am extremely excited about the benefits this trial offers by using technology to deliver more for less for our residents.
“We currently rely on inspections and residents reporting issues, like blocked gullies, to us across more than 5,000 miles of roads in Essex.
“The potential to monitor issues remotely will not only save taxpayers money, it will also improve our reaction times and allow us to fix issues before they become a problem.”
Essex and Hertfordshire have previously adopted Telensa’s wireless streetlight control system, which detects faulty lights and enables controllers to change light settings with the flick of a switch at a central point.
The LED lights use much less energy and emit less CO2 than conventional streetlights. The ‘smart’ streetlights also offer the potential to monitor pollution, create Wi-Fi hotspots and even guide driverless cars, Grundy explained.