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Smart cities can improve quality of lives

Smart cities, and the technologies they use, can have a positive impact on the quality of its citizens lives.

Smart cities add digital intelligence to their city to solve issues that the public face and to achieve a higher quality of life for them.

Quality of life has may dimensions, from whether people breathe in clean air, to whether their cost of living is reduced. These issues directly touch the lives of millions of people.

Pairing smart technologies with supportive regulations, successful urban planning policies and investment in hard infrastructure can significantly enhance the positive effects of smart cities. 

Research by McKinsey Global Institute shows that cities that use smart technologies effectively can make significant progress in quality-of-life dimensions such as time saved, health and safety outcomes, environmental impact, and social connectedness and civic participation. By doing this, some of these key metrics can be improved by 10-30%. 

Commute times

Intelligent traffic signals can help reduce commute times around 15-20% in cities by helping to ease gridlock. Drivers can also be sent notifications as to how congested the roads are, allowing them to alter their commuting time, or the roads they use.

Smart technology could also help cut down commute times for those who use public transport, for example the use of travel cards. 

Lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Urban areas consume two thirds of the world’s energy consumption, with 70% of this being greenhouse gas emissions. By implementing technologies, such as air quality sensors, cities can make changes that could help reduce their emissions by 10-15%.

This can help improve the health of the public, with poor air quality contributing to around 40,000 deaths annually in the UK.

Saving money

Smart technologies can help give citizens greater control over their consumption, such as altering their heating levels through an app when they are not in their home, allowing them to save money in the long term.

They can also implement technologies that can help them track their water consumption and detect leaks, which can allow them to make changes which could reduce their consumption by 20-30%. 

Improved safety

The first way public safety can be improved is through faster emergency response times. This can be achieved by optimising call dispatching and synchronising traffic lights for emergency vehicles. This can help improve emergency response times by 20-35%.

Crime can also be reduced due to intelligent street lighting and surveillance cameras, making citizens feel safer on the streets.

 

Some of these smart city applications have a positive impact on more than one aspect of quality of life. An example of this is mobility applications. Primarily designed to reduce the commuting times of the public, smart technologies such as intelligent traffic signals can also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the number of road traffic collisions. 

By communicating these benefits of implementing smart city applications to their constituencies, local authorities can help get them on board. This is important as the success of smart cities relies upon the adoption of the new technologies by the public.

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