Glasgow becomes a world-leading 'smart city' with investment returns of £144m

Glasgow is set to boast profits of close to £150m after infrastructure projects throughout the city have helped transform it into somewhere smarter, safer and more sustainable, according to a new report.

It follows a £24m digital infrastructure investment from the UK government back in 2013, through Innovate UK. The project aims to promote initiatives that save the city money and develop forward-thinking technologies that contribute towards Glasgow becoming a world-leading ‘smart city’. In 2012, Glasgow was one of 30 cities in the UK bidding for the money and was awarded £24m after it demonstrated how projects put in place could add value and make the city more sustainable. The latest report from Future City shows that the programme has delivered a return of £144m.

A smart city is the one that uses different types of electronic data collection to inform decision makers on approaches that can be made to improve sustainability, citizen well-being and economic development. 

Speaking from the City Operations Centre in Glasgow, Scottish secretary David Mundell, said: “This fantastic return on investment demonstrates that targeted funding from the UK Government can lead to great results, benefiting businesses, visitors and communities. Projects funded through this program demonstrate the innovative ways that modern technology and data can be used to make a tangible difference to the lives of people in cities across the world.

How Glasgow has been transformed since receiving the £24m investment:

  • Intelligent street lights that get brighter for pedestrians and cyclists and dimmer if there is less activity. The lights save 68% of energy compared to conventional street lights and this has reduced energy usage and made maintenance more efficient.
  • Sensors under the city’s roads have analysed data and adjust traffic lights to reduce bottlenecks. It has the potential to inform strategies that could help Glasgow reach the Scottish Government target of 10% of all journeys being completed by bike.
  • Much of the city was mapped with walking tours, cycle routes and points of interest marked out on apps and websites. Some of which helped some of Glasgow’s most vulnerable citizens access social and educational services. An example being in Easterhouse where recovering alcoholics can log on and find places in their area that can distract them from buying alcohol with links showing nearby boxing clubs to rehab clinics.

Gary Walker, programme director of Future City Glasgow, said: “The use of the data sets has allowed new products to be created, resulting in jobs and revenue. The economy will benefit from a further £23 million of investment due to events hosted in the city and in relation to sustainable and smart activity. This is just the beginning of a hugely exciting journey for Glasgow.”

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