Melbourne suburb Footscray is set to receive a rollout of new smart technologies to make the area more digitally engaged under the ‘Footscray Smart City for Social Cohesion Project’.

Maribyrnong City Council has partnered with Victoria University to deliver the technologies, which range from digital kiosks, and expanded free public WiFi, to energy efficient lighting and air-monitoring sensors.

Maribyrnong Mayor, Councillor Sarah Carter, said, “Smart technology is the way of the future. It’s one of the ways we will improve service delivery to our community. 

“As part of the Footscray Smart City for Social Cohesion Project, we’ll be gathering information about environmental impacts in our city that we will use to help improve our city’s air quality.”

$400,000 in funding has been supplied under the Australian Government Smart Cities and Suburbs Program grant which aims to place Footscray in a league with other smart cities around the world.

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, said, “The Footscray Smart City for Social Cohesion Project is one of 81 projects funded under the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, which supports delivery of innovative technology-based approaches that improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of cities and towns across Australia.

“I am pleased to see Footscray leveraging smart technology and open data to help address challenges around population growth, mobility, environment and redevelopment. 

“This collaborative initiative will deliver community value by improving city performance and citizen experience.”

Victoria University’s College of Engineering and Science will develop a platform (the ‘Social Cohesion Platform’) that collects data from smart sensors. This platform will enable data-driven decision making that supports ongoing improvements to Council’s service delivery.

Maribyrnong Council and Victoria University have engaged OneWiFi & Infrastructure to roll out the solutions and infrastructure required to deliver this smart city project.

The roll out will result in the installation of:

  • Monitoring sensors that measure the air quality in and around Footscray to help Council advocate for improved health outcomes for the city
  • Energy efficient smart lighting, that reduces the maintenance and cost of public lighting
  • Expanded free public WiFi in the Footscray business district and Footscray Park, to enable the community to better access educational, tourism, business and public transport information at no cost
  • Pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle counting technology to help reduce congestion and improve transport and transport connections in the Footscray business district and other areas
  • Interactive signage at key locations will promote the city’s history, tourist destinations, public transport options and other information as part of a digital kiosk
  • Footscray Park App featuring environmental education functions listing flora and fauna found in the Park and the Edwardian gardens, giving users the opportunity to learn more about the Park’s history and habitats
  • Integrated Smart City Data Platform, that compiles information gathered from the sensor network and is accessible to the public
  • LoRaWAN network, considered a ‘gateway’ and part of ‘The Internet of Things (IoT)’, will share information gathered by Council with Victoria University

Maribyrnong Council will ensure the safety and security of people and assets and maintain high standards of privacy in leveraging the value of data. No personal information will be collected by the smart technology.

“The project will also give us near real-time information about traffic, cycling and pedestrian movement, and provide smart lighting to contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint,” Ms Carter said.

“It will also help residents boost their knowledge of the important flora and fauna in the area

“As we develop this project, there is expected to be increased uses for the information to improve how we live and do business in Footscray.”

Installation will take place at key locations in Footscray over the summer months of 2020, with completion expected by mid-2020.

This project stems from the Footscray University Town initiative, a partnership between Council and Victoria University which combines efforts of both organisations to align university, business and community interests and activities.

For more information, click here.

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