Cities of the Future: SCM focus on smart and sustainable living

SCM focus on smart and sustainable living

Projects under the Smart Cities Mission (SCM), launched in 2015, have made significant progress after a period of slowdown during the pandemic. The mission has encouraged the deployment of technologies such as integrated command and control centres, geospatial management information systems, and supervisory control and data acquisition systems in the areas of smart governance, water supply, solid waste management and urban mobility, among others. Indian Infrastructure presents the views of leading experts on the growth areas, technological and sustainable practices, challenges and future success of the mission…

What has been the progress under the SCM over the past one year?

Ankit Asthana CEO, Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited

Ankit Asthana

We envision Bhopal becoming a carbon-neutral city. Bhopal Smart City has taken various small steps in order to become climate-resilient and improve the local ecosystem. It has done so

th­rough innovative interventions, from integrated solid waste management to a public bicycle sharing (PBS) system, making Bhopal a torchbearer for other cities and showcasing the Bho­pal model to various local and international plat­forms. As a part of the Smart Street Light initiative, Bhopal Smart City has installed 20,700 intelligent street lights across the city. These street lights are controlled from an integrated command and control centre (ICCC) and use radio frequency controller-based GPRS te­ch­­nology for communication. We are also wo­r­king towards installation of solar panels via the Renewable Energy Service Company’s model, deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and infrastructure, etc. We are installing ar­ou­nd 50 po­wer charging stations across the city. Under the smart pole project, we have been able to monitor the local environment through sensors. For the next step, we are working to­wards augmenting and complementing the existing shared PBS network with an electric bicycle sharing system for last-mile connectivity. One of the flagship projects under conceptualisation is improving traffic systems and public transport simultaneously to augment the civil upgradation of 50 junctions acro­ss the city, improve traffic movement, effectively enforce traffic, enhance security, upgrade the public transport infrastructure, etc.

“Bhopal is the front runner in PPP monetisation.” Ankit Asthana

Vikash Chandra Team Leader, Smart Cities Mission, MoHUA

Vikash Chandra

The SCM was launched in June 2015 for development of 100 cities as smart cities. Selection was completed under four rounds from January 2016 to June 2018. The objective of the SCM is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, offer a decent quality of life, and foster clean and sustainable environme­n­ts through application of “smart” so­l­utions. The mission is developing diverse ele­ments in smart cities including, inter alia, assured supply of water and electricity, adequate sanitation facilities, efficient mobility, af­f­or­dable hou­sing, vibrant public spaces, robust IT infrastr­uc­ture, good governance, health and education. The prioritisation of projects by urban lo­cal bodies, along with comprehensive citi­zen engagement, has helped cities solve de­cades-long urban problems. The overall prog­ress of the SCM as of August 26, 2022 shows that momentum in project execution has been stea­dily picking up. Over 7,822 proje­cts worth around Rs 1,906.6 billion have be­en tendered. Work orders have been issued for close to 7,624 projects, worth Rs 1815.02 billion, while 4,247 projects, worth around Rs 696.79 billion have been completed. A highli­ght of the prog­ress is that all 100 smart cities have operationalised their ICCCs. These will mature with time and serve their cities well, using technology to address urban functions.

“This experiment needs to now be extended beyond the current 100 cities to the 4,000 plus cities and
towns in India.” Vikash Chandra

Dr Sanjay Kolte CEO, Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited

Dr Sanjay Kolte

Pune aspires to create a model neighbourhood in terms of liveability and sustainability, matching global standards by fully deploying all 24 smart city features in a “future-ready” manner. In Pune’s smart city plan, we have emphasised on technology solutions as well as sustainable living, which can enable smooth administrative functioning, and improve the government’s service delivery as well as city’s liveability. Some of our projects are purely technical in nature such as Smart Elements, the Adaptive Traffic Ma­nagement System (ATMS), the Digital Edu­ca­tion System, Hospital Management Infor­mation Sys­tems, and Smart Street Lighting with integrated technological components. Other community projects such as Community Farming, Sports Com­plex, Multi Modal Transit Hub, Science Par­ks, Smart Clinics, and Smart Citizen Facilitation Centres for senior citizens, women and children at police stations across Pune city are being undertaken by Pune Smart City Deve­lopment Corporation Limited (PSCDCL).

A daily average of about 15,000 citizens use Wi-Fi services, with an average data consumption of 2.5 TB per day. Variable message displays (VMDs) are being used by Pune Municipal Cor­poration (PMC) departments and Pune Po­lice to broadcast informative messages on emergencies, traffic diversions and municipal services. VMDs and public address systems were ex­tensively used for citizen aw­areness during the lockdown. During the recent rainy season, flood sensors are sending alerts that helped citizens move out of low-lying areas. The ICCC established at Singhad Road played an active role in spearheading the data management efforts of the city. To handle traffic issues in the city and streamline operations, ATMS is being implemented at 125 junctions across the city.

Meanwhile, in order to reduce the carbon footprint and noise pollution in the city, PSCDCL has procured 150 electric buses which have been deployed on 19 routes. The total carbon dioxide generated from public transport has been reduced from 7 per cent to 4 per cent. We have also undertaken a Smart Street LED lighting project, which is being executed on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis with Tata Projects (through its subsidiary Ujjwal Pune Limited). It is a first-of-its-kind project with the developer taking care of all expenditure. Tata Projects will provide maintenance for 12 years, with a maximum of 48 hours downtime.  All of the city’s street lights are being controlled from a single location in the ICCC.

Further, development of a state-of-the-art transit hub is planned at Balewadi in the Aundh-Balewadi-Baner area of Pune. The proposed hub shall integrate multiple modes of transport in­cluding the proposed metro, bus rapid transit, city buses, Maharashtra State Road Transport Cor­­poration buses, private buses and other para-transit services. This project will be implemented by PMC.

Pune Smart City was ranked second in the MoHUA Ease of Living Index for 2021. It has been awarded four stars twice, in 2020 and 2021, for Energy and Green Buildings and Wa­s­te Mana­gement, respectively, under the Cli­ma­te Smart Cities Assessment Framework 2.0. The city has been awarded for excellence in Open Data under the Data Maturity Assess­me­nt Frame­work 2022 and was also ranked sixth in the smart city rankings as per the MoHUA Geospa­tial Management Information System, for August 2022.

“Pune has become a mature geospatial technologyenabled smart financing city.” Dr Sanjay Kolte

What are the emerging technology trends? What are the sustainable practices being adopted?

Ankit Asthana

Bhopal is ranked among the top smart cities in the country. It has always been a torchbearer for innovations in project execution strategy or technology. PPP is an interesting mode of project execution, whereby the government provi­des concessions for the implementation, ope­ration and maintenance of a project by a priva­te entity. It is also a potential source of revenue for the government. We have already implemented multiple PPP projects under the SCM.

One of our prestigious projects is the installation of smart poles and smart lighting across the city. In the first stage, the project has incorporated various innovative and state-of-the-art technologies for public services, including a command and control centre (CCC), 150 smart poles with digital billboards, 100 cameras, 100 environmental sensors, 20,000 smart LED lights, advertisement rights on conventional el­ectric poles where smart LED street lights have been installed, 100 hotspot locations to provide Wi-Fi within the city through 1,000 access points, a mobile app for citizens, a network ba­ck­bone (a minimum of 100 km of fibre across the municipal limits of the city), and 50 EV ch­argers. These project components have an estimated cumulative cost of Rs 5.3 billion. The project has been executed by a private agency at its own cost for a concession period of 15 ye­ars. All the components are being monitored and controlled through a CCC. The data being generated has immense potential for further applications and analytics.

The integrated traffic management system command centre analyses data concerning frequent violators, and action is taken against them. Our Adaptive Traffic Control System, ba­sed on internet of things and sensors, hel­ps in automating traffic movement based on density and demand. Under PBS, data from frequent users and the total carbon offset is being monitored. Based on this data, we are augmenting the electric bicycle sharing system by adding 1,000 bicycles and 200 stations entirely through the PPP model.

Moreover, the operations of an entire bio-methanation plant are being conducted en­tirely via the PPP model. The electricity generated is being used to power the street lights at the nearest Sabzi Mandi from where organic waste is collected, thereby creating a circular economy. Bhopal is the front runner in PPP mo­netisation. We have just onboarded a hospitality player for the development, operation and maintenance of the Sadar Manzil Heritage Site. This will generate revenue of around Rs 380 million over 30 years.

Vikash Chandra

One new technology is the Geospatial Mana­gement Information System (GMIS), which the ministry uses to manage the mission. It was for­mally launched in February 2021. Since then, GMIS has been used effectively by the 100 smart cities and by MoHUA for real-time monitoring of the progress of over 7,000 projects, worth over $30 billion. Monitoring of the outco­mes, and implementation of a programme of geo­­spa­tial mapping of projects using watermarked tags containing project IDs, and data re­garding date, time and location (in latitude and longitude), has opened up new horizons for evidence-based planning, project monitoring, evaluation and gathering information for policy making. Some examples of how diverse urban issues have been handled by smart cities throu­gh digital/technologies interventions:

  • Solid waste management: Digitally mapping households to bins, placing radio frequency id­entification tags at houses, geotagging ga­r­­bage collection vehicles, monitoring the en­­tire process through the ICCC.
  • Water supply: Using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to monitor pressu­re in water supply lines and effectively re­du­ce non-revenue water.
  • Governance: Developing multiple city apps to facilitate faster municipal services, and citizen feedback and engagement.
  • Education: Promoting smart classrooms in municipal schools, setting up digital librari­es, creating tutorial videos and using them ac­ross multiple schools.
  • Traffic and transport: Using Common Mobi­lity Cards, and implementing integrated tra­nsport solutions, digital ticketing and PBS applications.
  • Health: Fitting ambulances with GPS, tracking logistics movement, mapping health in­fra­structure, setting up helpdesks, using vir­tu­­al reality for medical training, adopting te­le­medicine.
  • Environment: Using environmental sensors to measure parameters of air quality in different locations across a city.
  • Managing disasters like urban floods, cy­clon­es: Using public address systems, sending SMS/video alerts to reduce human casualties.

Some of the sustainable practices that are a part of the SCM are the Na­tio­nal Urban Digital Mission (NUDM), the Cli­mate Smart Cities Ass­essment Framework (CSCAF), and the Ease of Living Index 2018 by MoHUA. The aim of the NUDM is to improve ease of living for citizens by creating a national urban digital ecosystem that delivers accessible, inclusive, efficient and citizen-centric governance in India’s 4,400 towns and cities. The CSCAF is aligned to the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (NMSH), which is anchor­ed by MoHUA as one of the eight missions launched to fulfil India’s commitments un­der the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Con­ven­tion on Climate Change. The framework acts as a strategic mechanism to strengthen cli­mate-sensitive development practices in cities through healthy competition amongst them. The Ease of Living Index seeks to help ci­ties assess their liveability vis-à-vis national and global benchmarks while enabling them to leverage this knowledge to formulate plans and prioritise investments. Ease of Living assessment stan­dar­ds are linked to the Sustainable Develo­p­ment Goals (SDGs) of the UN and at present, over 7,638 SCM projects worth Rs 1,820 billion are aligned with 9 out of 17 SDGs.

Dr Sanjay Kolte

It is seen that digital technology is infiltrating into the physical space, fusing the real and digital worlds together, enabling a new universe of ap­plications ranging from mobility to water management, from planning to citizen participation. Pune Smart City has adopted several su­stain­able technology practices. The city’s ICCC provi­des real-time actionable information to aid day-to-day decision-making by administrators, citizens, tourists, and businesses using geographic information system (GIS). Further, PSCDCL and PMC have implemented a 360-degree framework, known as PMC CARE – a mo­bile platform for empowering citizens to ef­fe­ctively engage with local issues by leveraging GIS in a smarter manner. The app also aims to reduce the complexity of service delivery by providing an en­han­ced complaint management interface, open data, a city performance dashboard and location services. Furthermore, with many financial solutions such as SAP Enterprise Resource Plan­ning, Building Permission Systems, GIS-based Work Tender Utilities, Works Manage­ment Sys­tems, Property Assessment and Tax Manage­me­nt Systems, and multiple digital payment instruments facilitating ease of paying, Pune has be­co­me a mature geospatial technology-en­abled smart financing city.

Pune already has a mature GIS ecosystem with over 463 layers. We have been regularly updating the high resolution satellite im­agery repository and have taken an ad­van­c­ed step by integrating GIS with SCADA for 24×7 water supply monitoring and distributi­on, Smart Streetlight Mana­ge­ment and op­e­ra­tion of the complex network of assets and utilities. Pune has been using geo­spatial te­chnology with GPS-based vehicle tracking and monitoring systems for integrated solid waste management.

Pune Smart City is moving towards building a sustainable future for the city and its citizens. We have certain achievements in this re­gard, which have been recognised by MoHUA by ran­king the city as second in the Ease of Living In­dex for the year 2021, and aw­arding four stars two times for Climate Smart Cities Asse­ssment Framework 2.0 for Energy and Green Buildings and Waste Mana­gement on sustainability initiatives for the years 2020 and 2021. The city has also been awarded for ex­cellence in Open Data in the Data Maturity Ass­e­ssment Frame­work 2022 and been ranked sixth in the Smart City Ranking as per MoHUA GMIS for August 2022.

What are the key challenges that remain unaddressed?

Vikash Chandra

The smart city proposals (SCPs) have been formulated by smart cities based on consultation with multiple stakeholders. It is to be noted that the projects included in SCPs have be­en selected by the cities themselves and re­flect the aspirations of the citizens and other stakeholders in the extensive citizen engagement exercise. However, many cities have shifted from the main objectives that they proposed in their SCPs. Regular monitoring/tracking of the projects and their outcomes is necessary, and many of the cities need to increase the focus on this.

Dr Sanjay Kolte

In the past two decades, the number of four-wheelers has increased tenfold and two-wheelers have increased fivefold. This great increase in vehicular population has led to issues such as increased traffic congestion, commute times and accidents, and extreme stress during peak hours. To overcome this, a traffic engineering intervention has been initiated. The objective of this intervention is to formulate a comprehensive strategic master plan that shall identify issues in the existing network system. This is to be conducted in a phase-wise manner across junctions in the city through ATMS. The solution shall be implemented at 125 critical junctions. Phase I will cover 25 junctions while Phases II and III will cover 50 junctions each across the city. Survey work for Phase I has been completed and implementation is under way, whereas survey is in progress for Phase II. The scope will be expanded in the near future to cover all 261 junctions across the city as a part of the Pune SCM. Moreover, junction redesign is critical to improving vehicular flow as well as enhancing pedestrian safety. PSCDCL is carrying out junction redesign for a total of 125 junctions, which will be scaled up in phases.

What is the future roadmap of the programme?

Ankit Asthana

Smart cities have been working rigorously to­wards creating better IT and civil infrastruc­tu­re for citizens. With extensive guidance from the ministry, we have been able to reduce the waiting time at junctions, improve security infrastructure and provide one-stop solution for citizens via mobile apps. Going forward, Bhopal Smart City will focus on becoming self-sustainable from a financial perspective. Monetisation through land sale for area-based development, ICCC-as-a-service and consultation for other smart cities are a few of our initiatives.

Vikash Chandra

The biggest focus of the mission for the immediate future is to complete the ongoing projects. Over Rs 1 trillion worth of projects are still under implementation. Smart governance is the future of the mission, as well as the country. The SCM has been able to lay focus on facilitating and supporting the planning and implementation of governance through technology. This experiment needs to now be extended beyond the current 100 cities to the 4,000 plus cities and towns in India.

Dr Sanjay Kolte

Our key priorities include citizen empowerme­nt; improving stakeholder engagement including public–private partnerships; ensuring efficient and sustainable management of infrastructure, and enhanced financial and human capacity; enabling data protection, privacy and security; implementing supportive government policies; improving the focus on urban planning with gre­en building initiatives; and planning so­cial infrastructure in the areas of education, he­al­th­care, disaster management and entertainment to create opportunities for livelihood, education and entertainment in villages and small towns. Tech­nologies such as 5G can play an important role in achieving these objectives.