25 steps to making London a smarter city
In summer 2018 the Mayor of London launched Smarter London Together, a three-year Roadmap to make London “the smartest city in the world.”
We’ve published a report outlining progress over the last few years towards better digital services, data sharing, connectivity, smart pilots and city-wide collaboration improve Londoners’ lives.
The full report can be read here and a summary of some of the most important intiatives below:
- Digital connectivity: City Hall and Transport for London (TfL) ensures London has affordable full fibre connections for homes and businesses through our Connected London Programme, established in 2017. More than 2,000km of cabling is being laid across London’s Tube network which will provide uninterrupted 4G mobile coverage on the Underground and a backbone of mobile and gigabit-capable digital connectivity across London homes and businesses.
- Modernising planning: The new London Plan in March 2021 sets the strongest connectivity policies in the country by making full fibre connectivity and mobile infrastructure mandatory during the planning process for all new builds and, for the first time, supports the use of environmental sensors to enable the collection, analysis and sharing of data to meet climate change goals.
- Low emissions: To help clean up London’s air, the Ultra Low Emission Zone operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a pan-London network of hundreds of cameras.
- Cleaner air: The city expanded the Breathe London network of hyperlocal air quality monitoring sensors, with over 190 new sensors installed at hospitals, schools and other priority locations across London delivering real time air quality data to Londoners.
- Citizen engagement online: Talk London, City Hall’s online citizen engagement platform now has community of over 60,000 Londoners (45,000 new members since May 2016) helping Londoners contribute to the development of new Mayoral strategies.
- Citizen participation online: Since 2018 17,000 Londoners backed over 100 neighbourhood crowdfunding campaigns, bring in over £5m in funding for neighbourhood projects. Using the Mayor’s Pay-it-Forward crowdfunding platform 20,000 Londoners donated over £1.5m to support 430 local businesses during the lockdowns.
- City-wide data: The London Datastore, the city’s central register of open and secure data, has over 1,241k shareable datasets. These are used by public bodies, research institutions and businesses to understand London’s economy, demographics and environment and produce maps and digital services to improve the city. For example, City Hall’s Coronavirus Hub was viewed over 5 million times in 9 months — or 20,000 times a day — providing a trusted source of information during the pandemic.
- Open data (transport): TfL’s open data on the Tube, buses, roads, cycling, air quality and accessibility supports and ecosystem of over 600 software developers to use transport data feeds to present customer travel information in innovative ways and London’s Cycling Infrastructure Database is the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of cycling infrastructure, containing full details of cycling infrastructure in the capital.
- Open data (culture): The Cultural Infrastructure Map charts thousands of London’s venues such as theatres, museums and recording studios and is a vital resource for those looking to protect, grow and make use of our cultural facilities.
- Open data (infrastructure): Infrastructure Mapping Application allows over 26 utilities and public authorities to share private data on street works and better target investment and minimise disruption by coordinating street-works, with eight completed joint street-works schemes saving at least 4269 days of disruption on the road network, £800k in direct construction cost savings and up to £3.9m in wider social value benefit.
- Open data (planning): The new Planning Datahub for the first time delivers a live data feed of development proposals in London from boroughs and applicants, and is the most advanced planning data in the country. The live feed now holds data on over 458,000 development proposals (and increasing daily) from London’s 34 planning authorities.
- Open data (environment): Green Infrastructure Map is a London-wide map identifying how much of London is covered by trees, plants and open water across the entire city, to help London’s decision-makers identify where green improvements and investments might be best targeted, and what kind of interventions might be most useful for the needs of neighbourhoods.
- Health of high streets data: In June the GLA launched the innovative and multi-award nominated High Streets Data Service to understand how spending and movement patterns have been impacted by the pandemic and the lockdown across the capital’s 600 high streets.
- Busyness of tube network data: TfL piloted and launched aggregated and anonymised mobile data collected by the WiFi network on the London Underground to understanding passenger bottlenecks on the tube.
- Community safety: The Metropolitcan Police (MPS) piloted and deployed Live Facial Recognition Technology to enhance public safety and established the London Policing Ethics Panel to oversee the way London is policed, including that the use of new technology and future policing practices are legal, ethical and responsible.
- Emerging technology: TfL produced guidance for Connected Autonomous Vehicles and supports live trials of new mobility services in the Olympic Park and Greenwich by the new Smart Mobility Living Lab London.
- Mobility: TfL and London Councils launched a trial of rental e-scooters with three operators across 10 boroughs. TfL, alongside the trial operators and DfT, are collecting anonymous data from these micro-mobility devices to understand the role they can play in London’s recovery and supporting a sustainable mode shift away from cars.
- Smart pilots: City Hall’s EU-funded Sharing Cities programme on piloting smart technologies is recognised as a leading part of the EU-wide programme that triggered EU264m (and counting) in private investment in smart infrastructure projects (e-mobility, building retrofit, smart street lighting, energy sensors) along with Lisbon, Milan, Bordeaux, Burgas and Warsaw.
- Energy management: In Greenwich, the Greenwich Energy Hero (GEH) use case combined two Sharing Cities technologies: a Digital Social Market — encouraging citizens to use sustainable services — and a Sustainable Energy Management System, centralising information from, and control over, local energy systems and devices. GEH was offered as a service to all households in the borough to change patterns of electricity consumption in return for rewards.
- Smart parking: Greenwich also upgraded its lampposts with LED lighting, electric vehicle (EV) charging points and smart parking sensors connected in an integrated system. The introduction of EVs and smart parking was designed to improve air pollution and reduce congestion. E-vehicle and coach parking spaces were equipped with sensors integrated into the road surface which communicate occupancy in real time (either available or occupied) to a local network via a communication hub installed on a lamppost.
- Cleantech: The Olympic Park continues to provide a fertile test-bed for cleantech and other sustainability-focused smart technologies like energy efficiency and : these solutions can provide living examples to be replicated city-wide or in other districts.
- Open calls: City Hall has launched 20 open call challenges over the past 3 years and awarded over £600k to support the prototyping and testing of impactful innovations. Examples include Go Jauntly: an app working with TfL to promote active travel; iReportIT, a national anti-terrorism app developed with the Metropolitan Police Service and Raven Science to counter extremism online; and Connected Kerb, a first of a kind EV charging bay deployed in partnership with Lambeth council
- Open calls (transport): In 2019 TfL launched the London RoadLab programme to seek new technologies that could help make London’s roads safer and smarter during roadwork. Working with Plexal at the Olympic Park on the challenge, products include Immense Simulations, which provides an automated method of modelling impact of roadworks, and SAM, which uses AI to monitor social media to identify incidents.
- Ethics: London is the first UK & European city to create an Emerging Technology Charter, a set of practical and ethical guidelines for the trialing and deployment of new data-enabled technology deployed in public services or the public realm in the city.
- Collaboration: London’s first collective public service innovation body, the London Office of Technology and Innovation, bringing together 19 London boroughs, London Councils and the GLA to work together to bring the best of digital, data and innovation to improve public services for Londoners and unprecedented collaboration across a huge range of projects.