Digital infrastructureSmart CitiesEssex and Hertfordshire County Councils work together on smart city pilot

Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils work together on smart city pilot

Two pioneers of smart street lighting work with award-winning smart city firm Telensa

Essex County Council and Hertfordshire County Council today announced that they are working together to pilot new smart city services.

The project, a partnership with Cambridge-based technology firm Telensa, will assess the potential quality-of-life and economic benefits of a range of smart city technologies.

Essex and Hertfordshire are building on a foundation of investing in practical innovation.

Both councils were early adopters of Telensa’s wireless streetlight controls, which pay for themselves and save money every year, by reducing energy consumption and enabling a more efficient maintenance operation. They also recognised that by harnessing their county-wide lighting networks, they could introduce new smart city monitoring services at a fraction of the cost.

The smart city solutions in the project include:

  • 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 cleaner streets through 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.

It’s not just about the operational benefits.  Infrastructure monitoring builds up a vast data set that can be used to spot trends across departments, leading to better decision making and more joined-up working.

The councils are currently assessing the suitability of three sites in Hertfordshire and Essex towns. The pilot is due to commence in March and will run initially for two months.

Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “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.

“Last summer we became the first authority in the country to install ‘smart’ streetlights which offer the potential to monitor pollution, create Wi-Fi hotspots and even guide driverless vehicles in the future. These are now being rolled out across Essex by Ringway Jacobs crews and we believe this work will really complement the smart city partnership work we are doing with Hertfordshire County Council and Telensa.”

Ralph Sangster, Executive Member for Highways at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Smart technology is becoming an essential tool in delivering a high quality highways services and “Safe Smart” is an exciting opportunity to trial a modern technology which reinforces Hertfordshire County Council’s ongoing commitment to maintain and improve roads for the benefit of all Hertfordshire residents.

We have already converted around 65,000 of our street lights to LED and are in the process of converting the remainder, some 50,000, by March 2020. These LED lights are controlled by a wireless Central Management System (CMS), which detects faulty lights and enables changes to be made to light settings with the flick of a switch at a central point. Therefore many faults will be resolved before anyone notices. LEDs not only use much less energy but also emit less CO2 than conventional lamps, helping to cut the county council’s carbon tax contribution.”

Will Gibson, founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Telensa, said: “Hertfordshire and Essex are pioneers of smart street lighting, and between them already use Telensa technology to control 250,000 streetlights.  This project will show the community and financial benefits unlocked by adding new sensor applications to the Telensa streetlight network.”

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