Glasgow secures £24m ‘smart city’ cash

Glasgow has seen off competition from 30 other UK cities to secure a £24m government grant to transform itself into a test bed of technologies geared toward demonstrating how a city of the future might work, as a raft of UK cities from London to Sunderland seek to make.

The Future Cities Demonstrator, set up by the Technology Strategy Board quango, is intended to trail blaze a number of innovative technologies that can make more efficient use of existing infrastructure in the hope that other cities will follow suit.

The windfall will be funnelled directly into a number of hi-tech measures including the creation of a series of new smartphone apps designed to provide more detailed information on traffic and public transport timetables.

Other measures in line for support include feeding the city’s CCTV cameras network into its traffic management unit in order to respond to traffic incidents in real time. This would dovetail with the use of cutting edge analytical software to identify and monitor crimes being committed on the streets.

Ways and means of providing cheaper gas and electricity to disadvantaged areas will also be explored.

TSB project leader Scott Cain said: “Glasgow has some quite extreme challenges - it has the lowest life expectancy of any city in the UK for instance - and the hope is that if we bring together energy, transport, public safety and health it will make it more efficient and a better place to live.

“The thinking behind it is to have somewhere in the UK where firms can look at the efficiencies, the investments and how you can address the challenges of a city.”

Universities and science minister David Willetts added: "With more people than ever before living in our cities, they need to be able to provide people with a better quality of life and a thriving economy.

"From transport systems to energy use and health, this demonstrator will play a key part in the government's industrial strategy and give real insight into how our cities can be shaped in the future.”