According to our analyses, all the largest cities in the world already launched various big data projects in spheres of transport and urban policy, security and efficient energy, smart governance and receiving feedback from residents and etc.
The pandemic further strengthened big data trends. It turned out that traditional sources of data, such as official statistics, become available only after few months and do not keep up with the development of the situation.
Big data helps and fastens the process of decision-making, lows bureaucratic costs, allows scientific and well-grounded research of complex city problems and challenges.
We compiled a classification of the Big Data projects that cities (London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, Singapore, Dubai and etc) already implement in order to improve the quality and standards of living.
Big Data in transport and urban policy – cities collect information and recognize daily traffic patterns of vehicles (navigators, smart cameras, parking data, etc.) and residents (data from transport companies, aggregated data from mobile networks).
It gives an opportunity to count the real daytime and nighttime population of cities, in which districts residents prefer to work or to relax, points of attraction.
Nowadays the cities can easily:
• calculate congestion during rush hour and make decisions on how to improve the situation for all residents (including smart traffic management, smart traffic lights, introducing multi-modal journeys and etc);
• renewal and renovation of areas that are not effectively used for life and doing business, well-grounded starting new infrastructure projects - new roads, bridges, airports.
The most remarkable experience is in Sydney (NSW, Australia) and UK, which even elaborated profound Transport Data Strategies. The strategies present the way the governments plan to develop the big data projects, introduce new sources, answer new challenges (such as AI, quantum computing, Zero Emissions and etc.)
Smart economic and business policy. The cities can easily gather information about well-being of local enterprises using geospatial (Google, OpenStreetMap, etc) and taxation data. The sustainability of enterprises directly affects jobs, the availability of goods and services for residents, and the income of city budgets.
Big data enables cities to achieve the following goals:
• development and adjustment of support measures, personal support measures (preferential rental rates, grants, tax incentives) - for example, for high-tech companies, start-ups, etc. aimed at increasing the sustainability and development of enterprises;
• budget revenue forecasting, smart tax policy that takes into account priority sectors and development areas.
Smart energy policy and utility networks – cities and energy companies use digital technologies and smart devices to get online and very detailed information about energy and water consumption.
Big data enables cities to achieve the following goals:
• online accurate definition of real energy consumption of household and businesses, identification of problems with energy efficiency.
• smart and personal tariffs, stimulus to Zero Emissions;
• facilitate forecasting and decision-making process on new investments, supplies and procurement of services.
Smart Safety – cities use CCTV-networks with ML (Machine Learning) to monitor the real-time situation in different districts to detect violations of law and order.
Processing of hundreds of thousands of historical records of various violations helps to identify the most dangerous areas (districts, streets) in the city. Models can even predict new violations and scientifically validate police patrol routes and improve the prevention of violations.
The experience of using predictive models in Santa Cruz and Chicago (USA) shows that the accuracy of predicting the locations of future crimes reaches 20%. But the researchers note that the second most important part of the work - adjusting measures to ensure safety and improving prevention are not always carried out.
Smart environment and pollution monitoring – cities with risks of natural disasters (earthquakes, floods and etc) or air quality deterioration, build entire systems for monitoring and forecasting.
The NewYorkOne city strategy provides system for monitoring and predicting environmental changes, such as water levels, to forecasts and identify projects to protect the city from future climate change.
And almost every city already introduced systems of pollution monitoring and air quality forecasting.
Smart healthcare projects are aimed to analyse data on health issues of citizens, helping to identify the disease reasons (for example water or air pollution), identify problems with the service and quality of medical services, improve the strategy for the development of services and medical services.
Smart Governance – the city government use big data projects to improve its own quality and efficiency in the interest of their citizens:
• analyse their own work and collaboration with other government bodies to streamline their procedures;
• publish city open data, which can be used by enterprises to create new apps and services for the citizens;
• analyse and change city policy according to citizens’ concerns and complains in spheres of health, education, housing, safety, public services.
Big Data city projects are working with sensitive and private persons data, and city try to develop some approaches to balance the ethics and efficiency of new started projects.
In the next articles we continue the topic of big data and reveal the best urban big data project for each sphere.