UK councils pilot smart city services with existing infrastructure


In the UK, Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils have partnered on a pilot of multiple smart city services using existing communications infrastructure deployed by Telensa.

The two councils will pilot:

  • Gully monitoring to avoid blocked street drains causing flooding.
  • Highway wind monitoring to alert the highways team of high winds or gusts to predict and avoid dangerous local driving conditions.
  • Traffic monitoring and analytics for use to dim unnecessary streetlighting on empty roads
  • Waste bin monitoring to improve waste collections for cleaner streets.
  • Air quality monitoring to provide street-by-street measurement of air quality to complement the broad picture provided by existing monitoring stations.

The pilot kickstarts this March and will run for a period of two months in three sites in Hertfordshire and Essex towns.

By adopting smart city services set for trial, the two cities aim to improve the quality of life for residents as well as the operations of departments through access to trends within respective operational fields.

Smart streetlights

Using existing communications infrastructure previously deployed for streetlights monitoring will reduce costs.

The communications infrastructure was deployed under efforts to reduce the council’s carbon and energy and operational costs.

Will Gibson, Chief Commercial Officer at Telensa, said: “Hertfordshire and Essex are pioneers of smart street lighting, and between them already use Telensa technology to control 250,000 streetlights.”

Hertfordshire has installed 65,000 LED streetlights and has plans to add 50,000 units by March 2020.

Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We currently rely on inspections and residents reporting issues, like blocked gullies, to us across more than 5,000 miles of roads in Essex.

“The potential to monitor issues remotely will not only save taxpayers money, it will also improve our reaction times and allow us to fix issues before they become a problem.

Grundy continued: “Last summer we became the first authority in the country to install ‘smart’ streetlights which offer the potential to monitor pollution, create Wi-Fi hotspots and even guide driverless vehicles in the future.

“These are now being rolled out across Essex by Ringway Jacobs crews and we believe this work will really complement the smart city partnership work we are doing with Hertfordshire County Council and Telensa.”