How to make Istanbul smarter?

How to make Istanbul smarter?

On February I asked whether or not Istanbul is a smart city. Recent events gave the answer without any doubts. Istanbul is definitely not a smart city. The start of repairs on the second bridge caused people to spend hours stuck in traffic jams. The work will continue for three more months and it is expected that traffic chaos in the city will worsen each day as drivers test new routes to escape the massive congestion of traffic. The super clever suggestion by the governor came yesterday. He urged all citizens to take long vacations as soon as possible. This reminded me of a saying attributed to a previous minister of education which stated that managing education would be so much simpler if there weren’t any students. It is sad to see a governor seriously suggest something that should have been a joke.

As we now surely know that Istanbul is not an intelligent city, the next question should be how can it be made smart? Fortunately there are NGO’s and private companies which dwell on this question. Big ICT companies have been asking the same question for over a decade and they have come up with sound methods. However, each city is different and Istanbul is a very hard city to get into order.

Therefore a unique set of actions should be planned and implemented to make the city smarter. Recently I stumbled upon a project for this task.

CitySDK (Smart City Service Development Kit and its application Pilots) project was funded by ICT Policy Support Program (ICT PSP) as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program (CIP) by the European Community. CitySDK consortium is comprised of 23 partners in nine European States and the project is led by Forum Virium Helsinki. The other partners include the city of Helsinki (Finland), Gemeente Amsterdam (Netherlands), Provincia di Roma (Italy), Municipality of Lamia (Greece), Stichting Waag Society (Netherlands), Tilburgh University (Netherlands), Hoge School van Amsterdam (Netherlands), Sanoma News Oy (Finland), Gnosis Ltd (Greece), Fundacion Esade (Spain), Manchester City Council (UK), FutureEverything CIC (UK), CASPUR (Italy), LYNX SRL (Italy), Alfamicro-Sistemas de Computadores, LDA (Portugal), Camara Municipal de Lisboa (Portugal), Camara Municipal de Lisboa (Portugal), Instituto Superior Tecnico (Portugal), ISA - Intelligent Sensing Anywhere S.A. (Portugal), Institut Municipal d’Informatica de Barcelona (Spain), European Network of Living Labs (Belgium), Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) and TAGES (Turkey). The project was launched earlier this year on January 1 and will last for 30 months.

CitySDK is a pan-European project that will create a service development kit enabling the creation of applications across partner cities in the domains of smart mobility, smart tourism and smart participation. Three large-scale pan-European smart city pilots in the eight partner cities will be produced. The program’s partner cities are Helsinki, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Lamia, Manchester, Rome, Lisbon and Istanbul.

As one of the pilot cities in the project Istanbul will participate in the smart mobility domain. In Istanbul the existing web-based Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Travel Plan System will have new components from the PTA (Personal Travel Assistant) and CitySDK, including most importantly Mobile PTA Application as well as open interfaces for third party developers, added. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality will work on backend, localizations and user assessment. TAGES is involved in the project in the dissemination activities, especially to contribute with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to engage new third party developers to the open interface by organizing the Devcamps, SME training workshops, “AppsChallenges” developer competitions and business seminars.

I wish with all my heart the involved parties are very successful so that we may one day enjoy living in a smart city.