City of Melbourne trials new tech in pilot program

The City of Melbourne will trial innovative new sensors on a City Circle tram and at a historic square in Carlton to test how emerging technologies can help improve service delivery.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said sensors will measure factors such as light, humidity and pedestrian traffic. 

“Every bit of information we collect can provide benefits to our local community,” the Lord Mayor said. “We are a data driven organisation and the more we know about services the more efficiently and effectively we can deliver them.”

“We will install microclimate sensors on a City Circle tram to help understand how temperature and humidity impact the comfort of passengers and YarraTrams employees at tram stops. The people of Melbourne love our tram network but it’s a real challenge to make these journeys as comfortable as possible during our unpredictable weather.”

The tram pilot will be run in partnership with YarraTrams and Active Reactor. The Argyle Square pilot will be run in partnership with Meshed, Smart City Solutions, Citywide, University of Melbourne, Amazon Web Services, Phoria and Peclet Technology.

A range of sensors gathering municipal data will be installed around Argyle Square to help understand:

  • Rubbish bin fill levels
  • Pedestrian numbers
  • Humidity and temperature of different tree species
  • Local air quality
  • Local rainfall levels
  • Local wind speed

Data collected from the sensors will be used to improve maintenance in Argyle Square, with the potential for lessons to be applied to other parks and open spaces across the municipality.

Chair of the Knowledge City portfolio, Councillor Dr Jackie Watts, said the pilots are the result of a successful program run by the City of Melbourne, in partnership with industry experts, at the Melbourne Innovation District – City North testbed where new technologies are being trialled.

“For more than a year the City of Melbourne has worked closely with the knowledge sector community to co-design a specialised testbed site in Carlton. At this stage of its development it’s important to ensure that we’re alive to, and ready for, the opportunities and challenges as they emerge from testbeds in due course,” Dr Watts said.

“Through these testbeds we’ve been able to identify potentially useful technologies which we’re excited to start trialling, develop processes and policies for their implementation and, most importantly, to understand how this new technology can benefit both the community and businesses. These testbed pilot programs are first steps in trialling our findings and we look forward to more pilots.”

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