Manchester will Lead Smart Cities Sheme After £2m Win

Manchester is to lead an initiative called Smart Cities following its win of £2m in European funding to roll out new internet-based services to its residents.

The city is to run several concurrent schemes as part of the initiative. These will include the Smart Innovation and People project (Smart-IP).

Smart-IP will run for two years and will bring leading researchers from the University of Manchester together with Manchester City Council to develop new ideas for internet-based community schemes.

The Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA) will lead the work on behalf of the council and collaborate with the University of Manchester to distribute internet-linked monitoring devices which people can use to send live information through wireless connections while they are walking, cycling or using public transport in the city.

Manchester residents will be encouraged to test new internet devices which monitor the environment and feed back real-time information about environmental conditions such as air quality and temperature, traffic congestion and bus and tram availability, and give their views via social media about how these challenges can be tackled.

The information received, and the views of people living and working in the city, will be used to help the council and transport operators to improve the planning and delivery of services.

Manchester will work closely with other leading Smart Cities across Europe including Ghent (Belgium), Cologne (Germany), Bologna (Italy) and Oulo (Finland) to bring the benefits of future internet services to their residents and businesses.

The European Commission has also asked Manchester to chair a new working group which will co-ordinate Smart Cities projects taking place across the continent.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "An innovative spirit runs through Manchester's history and we welcome the fact that the city will take a leadership role in this Smart Cities project which will harness the latest technology to our goal of becoming the greenest city in the UK."

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