Less than a fifth have heard of smart cities

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A new survey has revealed a substantial number of the UK public are unaware of smart cities…

A poll of 531 people has revealed awareness of smart cities is extremely low. The survey, which was carried out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), found young people were most aware. Some 37 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 had heard of smart cities. However, just six per cent of people 65 or over said the term was known to them.

The survey asked respondents to select a definition for a smart city from a list of options. A fifth of people were unsure what the term referred to. A total of eight per cent said it was “a city that has a higher than average proportion of universities and colleges and aims to attract the most intellectual” while five per cent said it was “a city that has a strict cleaning regime for its buildings, roads and public places”.

When asked which five smart city technologies they would most like to see in their local area the respondents rated intelligent street lighting as the most useful. Twenty-nine per cent said they would like to see this technology, which can improve safety and save energy, introduced.

A quarter of the respondents also said buildings that employ energy efficiency measures such as generating power and recycling water and waste would be useful.

Only eight per cent showed interest in driverless or electric transport which could be ordered via smart phone.

In a statement Alan Howard, head of thought leadership at the IET, said:  “In spite of substantial investment in smart cities from the government, local authorities and businesses, most people don’t understand the concept or, more importantly, how smart city digital communications technology could improve their quality of life by enhancing infrastructure and public services, including transport and traffic management, energy, water and waste management, healthcare and other community services.”

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