London partners with European cities to trial smart technology

Written on 26 Jan 2016

London is taking part in a Europe-wide project to trial smart technology. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, working with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, has successfully led a consortium of six European cities that have been awarded €25m (£19m) of European Union funding for the Smart Cities and Communities programme.

Greenwich will serve as London’s “smart borough”, with planned initiatives including: 

  • Trialling 300 smart parking bays that aim to optimise parking spaces and help drivers find a space quickly and conveniently.
  • Testing shared electric bikes to see if they support a shift from private cars, while electric vehicles will be piloted for local deliveries and car sharing. 
  • Using the River Thames as a renewable energy source to provide affordable heat to local homes.
  • Installing solar panels on homes to provide green energy and improve energy efficiency.

Similar initiatives will be trialled in the cities of Milan, Lisbon, Bordeaux, Burgas and Warsaw and could eventually be rolled out across Europe.

The partner cities will also develop a new model of sharing data to make the best use of the huge amount of information now available that can be used to change the way cities, their communities and services work. This will deliver a common data sharing platform that can be used by all the programme cities and beyond, the London Mayor’s office said.

Boris Johnson commented: “London is growing at a record rate and to support the city’s future growth, we need to harness our incredible technical prowess and look to what new approaches and technological innovation can bring. By leading this ground-breaking international project we will be able to share ideas with our European counterparts as we work to create a city that is fit for the future and an even greater place to live, work and visit.”

Various organisations will support the London programme, including the Future Cities Catapult, Imperial College London and Siemens.

Paul Brodrick, head of Connected Communities at Siemens Energy Management, said: “We are proud partners of the Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse programme. We believe that by investing in technology, with a focus on renewable and electrification, London has the potential to be a global beacon for smart technology and sustainability. This programme will help make that possibility a reality. What is really exciting is the long term potential of this project. The data sharing between European cities and opportunities to develop a cities focused R&D pipeline in London could help keep the UK be at the cutting edge future city technologies.”