Milton Keynes is helping to drive the UK effort to create ‘smarter cities’ by using the latest technology to promote growth and the economy in a cleaner, greener way.
The borough is one of just five places across the country to be invited onto the ‘Smart Cities Forum’, which co-chaired by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Cities Minister Greg Clark.
The other cities involved are Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and Bristol.
The aim of the Forum is to help the UK’s metropolitan hubs harness intelligent technology to learn about and manage resources such as energy, water, street lighting, and transport capacity in cities.
Milton Keynes already has a strong track record in the area. The council is working closely with key partners, such as the Open University, which recently secured £8m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to develop the MK:SMART hub.
The hub will draw together key information from Milton Keynes on energy, transport and water use, among other sources, to create a picture of how the city’s systems work and how they could be improved in the future.
For example, a real time city mobility map will help people make smart transport choices and avoid congestion.
Earlier in 2013, the Government announced a £150m Transport Systems Catapult would be opened in Milton Keynes, to research and test new and innovative ways of improving transport and infrastructure – with the lessons learned likely to have worldwide impact.
Councillor David Hopkins, the Cabinet member responsible for Economic Development and Enterprise, said: “Milton Keynes’ smart cities credentials are very strong indeed.
“We have electric cars, we’ll soon have electric buses, we’re going to be piloting driverless ‘pods’ and we have people using the latest technology in their homes to use energy more efficiently and reduce the carbon footprint.
“The fact that we keep winning funding and other investment shows that Government and industry alike rightly have faith in Milton Keynes as a place for innovation and business growth.”