Brampton is entering a prestigious challenge that could give the city a little extra clout and a very, very substantial cash prize!
The City of Brampton recently announced that it will be participating in the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge, which could score our city up to $50 million if we win.
As far as smart cities go, you might have heard the term being used by various municipal governments looking to do things differently. The basis of Smart City initiatives is to use technology and open data to provide better services to residents in large cities such as Brampton in order to enhance people’s existing living standards.
Smart Cities collect data about residents’ activities and resource-use through networks of sensors, cameras and other tracking technologies. The data is analyzed in real or near real-time and the results are used to coordinate and deliver public services more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Officially announced at the end of November, the Smart Cities Challenge encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to “improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.”
Here are some of the initiatives the City has undertaken in its bid to be a smart city:
- The Brampton GeoHub, an award-winning open data platform and collaborative technology that makes it easier for people to access public information. The GeoHub features initiative-driven tools that help increase transparency and foster innovation.
- By-law Enforcement mobile inspections, enabling quicker response times for Enforcement officers. Enforcement officers have an app linked with their service request application, which allows them to update service requests with notes and photographs from their smartphones while in the field. This allows for more inspections per day.
- Computer-Aided Dispatching (CAD) and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems on Brampton Transit buses. This real-time technology provides customers with a reliable, informative and convenient public transit system with real-time next bus information available online and by email, text and phone. Transit Signal Priority technology is also equipped on buses, which allows a bus to lengthen a green signal or shorten a red signal at certain intersections, resulting in enhanced schedule reliability.
The Challenge, which Brampton is participating in, is a cross-Canadian initiative open to various communities of all sizes—including municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities.
“This competition, like the Amazon H2Q bid, is another exciting opportunity for our city to become a leader in innovation and excellence,” said Mayor Linda Jeffrey. “Over the last year, we have undertaken unprecedented public engagement—this has helped us better understand and improve the lives of our residents.”
Public engagement is indeed a large aspect of the Challenge in terms of understanding residents’ current issues to better their lives. According to the City, it’s “integral.”
“This past fall, the City undertook an unprecedented public engagement program, engaging over 11,000 residents and achieving 420,000 corporate impressions through social media,” said the city in a recent statement.
It’s true that Brampton is no stranger to engagement surveys, like the 2016 Youth Engagement Survey, 2017 Citizen Engagement Survey, and even the current, ongoing survey to prepare for the Culture Master Plan.
“The outputs from these data sources will be built upon in partnership with the community to develop a challenge statement.”
Communities that submit proposals will post them online for all to see and an independent jury will be appointed to select finalists and winners.
Several other cities have already applied, including our neighbour Mississauga.
Smart Cities Challenge submissions are due April 24, 2018.
The Jury will select finalists by summer 2018. Each finalist will receive a $250,000 grant to develop their final proposal which must be submitted in winter 2019.
Winners will be announced spring 2019.
For more info, click here.