Can Indian cities take inputs from Copenhagen to make Aatmanirbhar SmartCities


A few years ago, Copenhagen won the highly prestigious World Smart Cities Award for the “Copenhagen Connecting” plan. The jury panel decided to award Copenhagen because it seemed that the city of Copenhagen had the best plan for collecting and using data to create a safer, greener city, a higher quality of life for its citizens, and a better business climate. The Copenhagen model makes intelligent use of wireless data from cell phones, GPS in buses, and sensors in sewers and garbage cans. These things helped the Danish capital city of Copenhagen achieve its objectives of reducing congestion, air pollution, and carbon dioxide emissions.

The use of data to guide the city into a greener, the safer direction is one of the biggest reasons that drove Copenhagen’s victory as the Best Smart City Project in the World. The prize was received by Morten Kabell, the Mayor of Technical and Environmental Affairs of Copenhagen, during an event in Barcelona. The city of Copenhagen didn’t just have a “smart plan” but it invested a significant amount of money in the process; 34 million Euros were invested in new street lights while 13 million Euros were invested in new traffic lights and intelligent traffic management. As a result of that, the travel time for cyclists and bus passengers reduced by 17% all across the city while for motorists it remained the same. This prompted many motorists to start using bicycles or public transport for commuting. Once the implementation is complete, the Copenhagen Connecting plan is set to bring about a socio-economic gain of 600 million Euros.

When it comes to climate policies and eco-friendly initiatives, Denmark is one of the most forward-thinking countries in the world. Smart Cities also tend to employ smart mobility which involves creating connected transport systems, which offer flexibility and efficiency. The Danish Government, private enterprises provide complete support, invest in the smart city projects, and accessibility to public data sources. This data consists of basic data about citizens, businesses, and real estate, which is apparently unavailable in most other countries especially the Indian subcontinent.

At the heart of all these initiatives, is the Copenhagen Connecting project. The project involves tracking connected devices, including personal devices like cell phones, and using the information gathered to optimize traffic, reduce congestion and thus reduce air pollution. Tracking devices are also wonderful for providing immediate access to information about traffic, parking, transportation costs, etc. Copenhagen uses RFID tags to manage assets like vehicles, bikes, and even home equipment, to prevent theft and track movement patterns. The city also utilizes a Smart Grid Sensor Platform which utilizes inexpensive wireless devices that collect millions of data points about current city conditions. All of these factors made makes Copenhagen one of the smartest cities in the world even in Covid-19 situations.

Is India learning anything from such cities? Does the sudden Cycle trend right with ‘Zero infrastructure’ and unfavorable climate conditions in India? More in our upcoming articles.

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