Smart Cambridge launches real time data platform

Local technology company develops bus times app as first solution from Intelligent City Platform

The Smart Cambridge programme has launched a new hub for processing real time data from sensors around the city.

Aerial view of CambridgeNamed the Intelligent City Platform (iCP), it has been developed with the University of Cambridge as part of a new phase in the programme, which was recently allocated £1.6 million for the next three years as part of the Greater Cambridge City Deal to improve transport infrastructure and promote economic growth.

It is the latest step in the city’s effort to place itself at the centre of a smart places region, drawing on its academic research and technology businesses to develop solutions for managing issues such as congestion and air quality.

The new platform will collate real time data from a number of sources. It is already taking in data from sources such as traffic lights, public buses and car parks, and will incorporate new sources such as traffic monitoring and air quality sensors as they are installed around the city.

It is supported by a low power long range (LoRa) wireless network, with the data becoming available to developers for analysis and to provide a test bed for new applications.

Bus times app

Local tech company Building Intellect has already produced the MotionMap mobile travel app to use real time data in predicting arrival times for buses. It will be launched this summer as part of a series of data sharing events.

Councillor Francis Burkitt, vice chair of the Greater Cambridge City Deal executive board, said: “We have a unique opportunity to harness the brainpower and business might of Greater Cambridge to find innovative solutions to challenges faced by our region, and indeed all growing cities.

“That’s why taking a collaborative approach is the best way forward for Smart Cambridge and could lead the way forward for other smart cities.”

The next phase of the Smart Cambridge programme will involve building on studies around intelligent mobility, taking in projects on integrated ticketing, online payments driverless vehicles and the feasibility of an advanced very rapid transit system (AVRT).

Embedding solutions

The programme was established as a workstream in the Greater Cambridge City Deal in August 2015, and is due to be scaled up over 2017-10 to increase the collaboration between the community, business and academic sectors, and to embed some of the digital solutions that emerge.

Its research is managed through Connecting Cambridgeshire, a partnership led by the county council and including other local authorities to support broadband roll out and the development of new technologies. Its advisory group includes several academic bodies and technology companies.

Image by Cmglee, own work, CC BY-SA 3.0