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Smart City. St. Petersburg grows “smarter”

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Anastasiya Izmaylova reports on the concept of a “smart city” and new technologies.

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The concept of a smart city – is implementing technologies which provide for economy and comfortable usage of the city’s infrastructure. From a technological point of view, it is based on the internet. That is connecting different devices to a unified system, which allows controlling the city’s infrastructure. In our city this is, for instance, the software complex “Safe City”, which controls thousands of cameras ensuring our safety.

Ivan Lobatskiy, deputy head of the city’s monitoring center: “You are now seeing a video wall, which shows data from sources all across the city. Our complex unites many systems. The information from sensors placed at different objects of social infrastructure is relayed here – to the monitoring center – and, certainly, to emergency services”

By the way, such system of control is destined to reduce the financing of law enforcement and rescue services by 20%. And this is how St. Petersburg’s transport system becomes smarter. The monitoring center, which accumulates all data on the work of buses, trolley buses and trams.

Anastasiya Izmaylova, reporter: “Intelligent transport system is one of the most important parts of a Smart City. St. Petersburg is edging closer to being smart in this field. For instance, there’s a smart bus stop at Nevskiy – you can even charge your phone here. But when will all stops become smart? Lets ask the organizer of transportation.

Roman Agapitov, head of press office at “Organizator Perevozok”: “Our program of making bus stops smart does not move as fast as we would’ve liked to. We lack financing. However, an investor who footed the bill for this pavilion has a plan to install 50 such pavilions by the World Cup in 2018”.

Comfortable and smart public transport is something European cities are focusing on. In the Estonian capital, for instance, the authorities decided to also throw accessibility into the mix. And made rides in the city free for residents – with a special ticket.

Viktoria Punga, Tallinn resident: “You can ride everywhere with this card. All 440 000 people living in Tallinn ride for free if they are registered”

Local authorities made estimations – a transport reform would bring the number of traffic jams down and increase the number of taxpayers, because many would have to get registration. Eventually, the expansion of taxpayer base alleviated the losses from ticket sales.

In another European capital close to us – Helsinki – public transport is also getting special attention.

Anastasiya Izmaylova, reporter: “Everything is very smart in Helsinki, very intelligently made. The particular pride is public transportation, which works here like a clock”

Helsinki has been named one of the smartest cities in Europe on numerous occasions. The pinnacle of development of smart technologies will be the specially created area called Kalasatama, where economy has become a lifestyle philosophy. Smart homes optimize water and electricity consumption, special apps let residents plan parking time and routes to work. Even garbage is stored underground here – because its simpler and cleaner.

But the one aspect we have bested Europe at is communication with tourists. A unique added reality app has been developed in St. Petersburg.

Evgeniy Pankevich, general director of “City tourist information bureau”: “Certainly, the entire tourist industry is moving towards smart technologies nowadays. We based our work on the experience of European cities and other countries. And, as far as we know, the “Visit Peterburg App” was presented in St. Petersburg – for the first time in Northern Europe”.

According to estimates from the city’s government, St. Petersburg will become significantly smarter by 2030. This is the “Smart City” program’s deadline. According to experts, combining the European experience and the coherent strategy, which would unite the authorities and businesses, would allow us to achieve this even without significant investment.

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