Service deliveryDigital Customer ServiceCouncils turn to smart tech to enhance service delivery

Councils turn to smart tech to enhance service delivery

Tech investment announced by Cornwall and Hull

Ambitious long term plans for the future of parking in Cornwall – including a £2.1m investment into improving technology in car parks – have been given the green light by Cornwall’s Cabinet.

The Positive Parking Framework for Cornwall sets out a range of measures which will be put in place to make significant improvements into how Council car parks meet the needs of users and local communities.

The aims of the framework include simplified tariffs, new machines and barriers to enable drivers to pay on exit, improved signage and new systems to consider the needs of carers who need to park in areas with restricted parking. Improving technology in car parks means enforcement officers will be able to focus on tackling drivers who park illegally or cause an obstruction on Cornwall’s streets.

In the longer term, plans include putting in the infrastructure which will enable people to book a parking space in advance.

The plans aim to address the views of residents and businesses, as well as reflect best practice from other local authorities and industry experts, explained Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for transport: “Car parks play an important role and the location, availability of spaces and tariffs can affect local communities, economies and the environment,” he said.

“This framework sets out the changes we will make between now and 2030 to improve parking for users, but also to tackle congestion, improve air quality and free up our enforcement officers to deal with on-street parking issues.”

Cornwall Council has signed up to the Positive Parking Agenda – a national initiative between local authorities and the British Parking Association to make parking a better experience for all.

Smart bins

Meanwhile, a partnership between Hull City Council and Connexin will see smart bins introduced across the city in a pilot project to improve waste collection.

Sensors installed inside the bins will be responsible for gathering data in real time, turning every bin into an intelligent ‘smart bin’.

The new smart bins will monitor waste levels so the Council’s street cleansing teams can see when they need emptying. The sensors can also detect a sudden motion or shaking, which automatically triggers vandalism alerts, as well as sudden spikes in bin temperature, which trigger fire detection warnings.

Up to now waste collection teams have had to target every bin without knowing if they are full or empty. The new smart bins will communicate information on fill levels to help understand the optimal times for waste collections and can recommend time-effective collection routes. If the pilot project is successful, it will help ensure Hull’s bins are emptied more efficiently, resulting in bins being emptied before they overflow and fewer unnecessary collection vehicle journeys. This will reduce congestion on the roads, cutting CO2 emissions, while having fewer instances of unsafe and unsightly overflowing bins. It will also help the Council advise on the local placement of litter bins.

Councillor Anita Harrison, portfolio holder for Streetscene at Hull City Council, said: “Tackling waste issues is a top priority for Hull City Council, and we are always keen to explore ways in which we can make our services much more effective.

“Smart City technologies are just one way in which we can provide an improved service for our city, and achieve our aim to create a litter-free environment that residents are proud to live in.

“The council sees Smart City technologies as key components of its strategic corporate plan, as well as a major contributor to the City Plan, and we are delighted that Hull will be recognised as a leading smart city in the UK.”

Furqan Alamgir, Connexin CEO added: “This technology will enable teams on the ground to make more informed choices by emptying bins based on fill level, traffic conditions and much more, reducing unnecessary travel time related to waste collection around the city, in turn saving time, fuel and CO2 emissions.

“I believe that these smart and connected bins will become a great example of technology making a real improvement to the quality of living for residents through active management of services.”

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