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Together with partners, the Ruhr metropolitan region is organising a day of conference on ‘How digitalization change cities – Innovations for the urban economy of tomorrow’. The conference, to take place on Wednesday 6 September in the city of Witten, will highlight the possibilities available for the region’s urban infrastructure and innovative business models compared with international benchmarks.
You can look forward to talks given by, among others, Dr Christian Ketels (Harvard Business School), Nikolaos Kontinakis (EUROCITIES) and Pr. Jan van der Borg (EURICUR, University of Leuven). Experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and Germany will be giving their input during four workshop on the topics of:
- New mobility
- Digitalisation of healthcare
- Urban production
- Green technologies)
Full agenda of the day : Ruhr Metropolitan Region’s conference program ‘How digitalization changes cities’ – September 6th 2017.
Registration (39€) at this link : http://business.metropoleruhr.de/en/digitalization/
Inga vom Hagen-Hülsberg (Project Manager, Project Development), Wirtschaftsförderung metropoleruhr GmbH, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an extract from an article originally published in The Guardian (Gordon Darroch, 12.07.2017).
Crosswalk & CrossCycle : Tilburg pilots apps to encourage pedestrians and cyclers
Since April, Rommen [an elderly citizen of Tilburg] has been able to cross the road without dodging cars – with the help of his smartphone. He is one of 10 people in the Dutch city of Tilburg trialling the Crosswalk, an app that gives pedestrians with restricted mobility extra crossing time.
A sensor in the lights constantly scans the pavement on either side of the junction, and if it “sees” Rommen waiting when the button is pressed it adjusts the green-light time. The app comes pre-installed with one of four time settings, depending on the user’s level of mobility, to minimise delays to other traffic.
Dynniq, the Dutch company that develops intelligent traffic systems and is helping the city council with the trial, explains the app works in combination with GPS and the software that operates the traffic lights, so there is no need to install extra devices.
The company is also developing a spin-off for cyclists, the CrossCycle, which will sense when bikes are approaching a junction and change the lights sooner. Another version detects visually impaired pedestrians and activates the ticking sounds that tell them whether the light is red or green.
The pilot project is part of a 25-year plan to make Tilburg’s road network more pedestrian and cycle-friendly. “We want to do more with smart mobility and use technology rather than just putting down more asphalt,” says Mark Clijsen, urban planning specialist at the city council (https://www.tilburg.nl/).
Tilburg’s long-term mobility strategy, which runs up to 2040, aims to redress the balance in traffic and encourage people to walk or cycle. “For a long time pedestrians have been the neglected kids in traffic who get relatively little time on green,” says Clijsen. “What we want is to give the pedestrians more priority so the cars will have to cross from one side of the city centre to the other. It’s about thinking differently.”
The pilot is due to be assessed in the autumn, and if successful, Clijsen estimates that the traffic lights could be converted at a rate of around one every two weeks. There are still teething problems to iron out: the crossing Rommen uses is right next to a 16-storey block of flats, which makes it hard to pick up a GPS signal.
Tech for elders
“In Tilburg, one of the main challenges in developing the Crosswalk app was finding people to test it”, says Clijsen. Most potential users are elderly and often wary of relying on unfamiliar technology.
“We had to approach them one-on-one and show them how the app worked on their phones. Once we did that they were keen to get involved, but the barrier was very high. We held a presentation and put an advert in a local newspaper with a circulation of 2,000 and 10 people came forward.”
With the building of a new university campus (Tampere3), students will increasingly need to move between the campuses. In most cases, students commute using public transportation, but also walking or by bike or by car.
To answer this mobility challenge, SCIL (the Smart Campus Innovation Lab, a “living lab” and open-source development community gathering students, IT and university professionals) organises a Challenge to develop an application that can ease the life of Tampere3 students, thanks to open data and public transport data made available online.
Curious to learn more about this initiative : Visit MINDTREK website here.
‘Smart Education’ and ‘Smart Mobility’ are two pillars of Tampere’s approach to smart city.
Read more on Tampere profile page.