Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has been working with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch city councils to help make our cities smart, safe places for us to live, work and play in.
As new technologies develop, they present the opportunity for us to make our cities safer, smarter places. For example, sensors that monitor traffic congestion or noise allow us to respond in real time to issues that affect our cities, like traffic incidents, or vandalism.
LINZ recently concluded its leadership of the Smart Cities Programme, which funded a range of initiatives in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch using Better Public Services funding from Treasury. The purpose of the programme was to investigate the benefits of a central government agency working collaboratively with multiple local councils and private companies to test the use of real-time monitoring and sensing technologies. Aspects of the city environment, such as traffic and pedestrian flows, and air and water quality, are examples of the kinds of data being ‘sensed’ and analysed.
Positive outcomes for cities
Together with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch councils, we have identified key benefits of working together and using Smart Cities technologies:
- access to more data that will help us form new policies, and improve planning and decision-making at a local, regional and national level
- more resilience in how we plan for, manage and fund our city assets through improved maintenance planning, and better understanding of how we should use these assets
- attraction of international talent to experiment and develop technologies in our cities as ‘living laboratories’
- creation of new business opportunities, employment and export earning through supporting existing and start-up companies to use sensor technologies and data services
- collaborative ways of working and a multi-city approach help to keep things moving and overcome obstacles, enabling a ‘fast fail’ approach.
Capturing what we learned
Evaluative support was provided throughout the programme. Evaluation Consult worked with all of the partners to ensure key lessons were picked up along the way. An online Evaluation Hub was also developed to connect what the different smart cities partners were learning, and ensure that this information was shared in real-time across the programme. A series of four evaluation reports were also produced.
In addition, a Strategic Assessment was developed for use by local authorities to explore further investment opportunities following successful proof of concept projects. The findings from Evaluation Consult will also help local and central government as they make decisions on the adoption of these ‘smart’ technologies.