Jan 27 2021

Smarter Cities Are Poised to Mitigate the Spread of Sickness

With public safety applications, municipalities have the potential to contain the coronavirus and boost public health.

By gaining insights into the movement of people, smart cities can improve quality of life and resolve challenges. These capabilities may prove vital in thwarting the spread of the coronavirus.

In Aurora, Ill., city leaders plan to apply data analytics to parking spots, traffic flow and other areas where the municipality can measure the movement of people. In Colorado Springs, Colo., city agencies focus on improving residents’ lives in part by measuring the use of services. The results are better sanitation and more accessible Wi-Fi.

Data analytics also can help smart cities to contain public health risks.

How Cities Can Harness the Power of Data

Sensors can collect data to trace the flow of people and provide insights into patterns that can help draw attention to locations requiring government attention.

A powerful application of this capability is available through open data portals, such as Philadelphia’s OpenDataPhilly. Residents and visitors alike can search crime rates and examine service requests. Similar heat maps can reveal virus hot spots and alert residents to where outbreaks have occurred.

Given that it is important to maintain social distancing to fight the spread of sickness, smart cities also can use sensor data to pinpoint pedestrian bottlenecks on city streets and ease congestion in those areas.

Smart City Tools Can Enhance Public Safety

In Aurora, city officials look to video surveillance and smart traffic solutions to quickly direct first responders. These tools can make the difference for those requiring emergency medical attention.

Several smart cities have touted improved traffic management that boosts response time for first responders by routing emergency vehicles through intersections and choosing the fastest paths. Public safety agencies also benefit from being among the first adopters of 5G, which provides them with augmented, dedicated bandwidth.

In the not-too-distant future, such assets will become more widely available, empowering smart cities to enhance quality of life through improved public health efforts.

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