New research has found an increasing appetite for smart city measures that aim to tackle urbanisation problems, such as congestion and security issues, with almost a quarter (24%) of Brits even saying they would be happy to fund these solutions using part of their own tax contributions.
The study of 1,000 people, conducted by ATG Access, found that this willingness rises substantially when it comes to funding measures which improve transport infrastructure. More than half (57%) would be happy for their tax to go towards smart traffic lights, and 44% for smarter signs which give real-time traffic updates.
Nearly a quarter (24%) said they would also be willing to fund smart barriers that help with incident management.
Investment in the smart city concept looks set to grow, with global spending expected to hit $135 billion by 2021. However, uptake in the UK has thus far been relatively slow with cost often cited as an issue.
Despite the current lack of investment, there is a clear interest in the smart city concept. 74% of people interested in smart city measures believe they would help to improve day-to-day issues, such as congestion.
Conducted as part of ATG’s ‘Smart cities: Turning the dream into a reality’ report, the research outlines the urbanisation problems that could be solved through the adoption of specific smart city concepts, such as traffic, crime and emergency incident response. It explores consumer attitudes and perceptions towards smart cities, and ways to overcome current barriers to adoption in the UK.
Gavin Hepburn, managing director at ATG Access, commented:
As our cities become more and more congested, it’s becoming increasingly clear that our current urban infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose and smart cities are a clear step forward.
However, despite the obvious benefits of the concept, there are still some issues to be circumnavigated if the UK smart city is to make the transition from far-flung concept to reality – with funding uncertainaties and costs a key issue.
“But what is apparent from our research is that people clearly see the benefits of a smart city. The solutions are available and in the most part, proven and tested, so it is time we begin to look for ways to help fund and support these types of projects that facilitate a safer and smarter future for our British cities.