What is devolution?

In the UK a devolution programme is underway that will transfer certain budgets and decision making power from central government to local authorities. This includes the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, which is currently passing through parliament and the Buses Bill, which gives combined authority areas and city mayors more autonomy over running local bus services. An example of what is possible is the specific devolution agreement which has been forged with Greater Manchester that will see a city mayor elected in 2017. Once elected, the mayor will have control over bus services, smart ticketing and a specific transport budget.

What is a smart city?

A smart city adopts innovative technologies and makes the best use of data to improve the life of its citizens.

What is SmarterUK?

SmarterUK is a techUK initiative that aims to be the UK’s national champion for the development of world class smart infrastructure, focussing specifically on transport, energy/utilities, and smart cities. Osborne Clarke is a founding member of SmarterUK.

How are smart sensors used in cities?

Smart sensors are deployed in cities to measure a variety of factors to provide data which in turn will enable the use of innovative smart solutions. The type of metric being measured is likely to include air pollution, traffic levels, the number of parking spaces and much more.

Smart energy

What is demand-side automated demand response (ADR)?

Demand-side ADR incentivises (financially) energy users to turn down or switch off energy-consuming equipment or for distribution connected generation to increase output at times of high energy demand, thereby reducing the volume of transmission connected generation capacity that must be switched on to maintain grid frequency.

What is energy storage?

Energy storage includes a wide range of electrical, chemical, mechanical and thermal technologies that store energy for multiple applications.

What is a smart grid?

A smart grid uses advanced technology and software to obtain, analyse and act on information relating to energy generation, transmission, distribution and consumption, to improve the reliability, efficiency and sustainability of the entire network.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters monitor energy usage of individual homes or any building that consumes energy in real time. EU legislation requires smart meters to reach an 80% market penetration by 2020 in all EU Member States, subject to a positive outcome of a cost-benefit analysis.

The built environment

What is building efficiency?

Building efficiency involves the integration of a broad set of technologies, software and materials into the built environment to improve buildings’ energy efficiency.

What is PropTech?

PropTech is technology which changes the way we interact with property – enhancing how we live, work and use the buildings around us. It is also technology that impacts the broader real estate sector and the full range of  businesses that service that sector – improving the processes by which all types of property are financed, developed, traded, occupied and operated. It has an important part to play in Smart Cities as PropTech is increasingly inclusive of technologies which are making the built environment smarter and more efficient.

Intelligent transport systems

What is an autonomous vehicle?

There are numerous levels of vehicle automation ranging from tasks such as advanced warning systems and parking assistance to full automation (ie driverless vehicles).

What is a connected vehicle?

Connected vehicles are those capable of transmitting and receiving data over the internet or a wireless local area network. They often include equipment that leverages data collected outside the car, which provides benefits to the driver and passengers, such as safety alerts, weather updates and even the latest music and TV shows. Connected cars also transmit data collected within the vehicle back to the manufacturer and/or other service providers. Such data might include the location of the vehicle, the mileage and the degradation level of key components.

What is eCall?

On 2 Mar 2015, the EU Council of Ministers approved eCall legislation, which states that all models newly type-approved need to be fitted with eCall technology to automatically send a minimum set of data to an emergency control room as of 31 Mar 2018. All Member States are required to have the requisite infrastructure in place to handle such eCalls, but they remain free to decide how their emergency services are organised. Member States will also have to ensure that all data transmitted via eCall is used exclusively for the objectives of eCall and that the processing of personal data fully complies with European legislation on data privacy.

The initiative is designed to save lives by allowing emergency services to respond more quickly to road traffic accidents.

What is insurance telematics?

Insurance telematics is the use of driver monitoring technology to provide insurers with insight into how drivers handle their vehicles and results in tailored (or personalised) insurance policies and pricing.

What are intelligent transport systems?

Intelligent transport systems include a range of technology, software and physical infrastructure that makes travelling around and between cities more efficient. They can include new methods of travel, such as electric vehicles, new electronic payment systems and new business models, such as car-sharing.

What are the aims of the European Commission consultation on the provision of EU-wide multimodal travel information services?

The consultation aims to establish specifications to ensure such services are deployed in a way that is interoperable across modes and European countries. It this hoped this will accelerate the deployment of EU-wide multimodal travel information services.

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