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Is Los Angeles a Smart City?

Thanks to innovations in communication and technology, the trend for Smart Cities has caught on. Today we see dozens of first-world cities adapt to the technology they have access to in order to function more efficiently and make the lives of their citizens much more manageable. For example, Los Angeles has taken a significant step into synchronizing all its traffic lights.

Los Angeles is one of the first major cities to synchronize all their traffic lights. A control center receives real-time updates about the flow of traffic and allows adjustments in a matter of seconds, greatly easing up congestion.

What is a Smart City?

By definition, a smart city is a place where information and communication technology are used to improve operations efficiency. This also includes easy access to information between the governing body and the citizens. In retrospect, this creates a better quality of life for both the government and the city residents alike.

The main goal of having a smart city is to optimize the use of technology to promote economic growth. While in turn improve the lives of everyone living there.

According to data, 54% of the world’s population currently live in cities. By the year 2050, the number is expected to rise by 12%. If you do the math, that would be around 2.5 billion people. It may not seem complicated now, but urbanity affects our environmental, social, and economic resources.

By converting to a more sustainable path and adapting to better technology, we are in turn allow harmony between the government and its people. (Source: TWI Global)

Why Was Traffic the Concern in Los Angeles?

If you’ve been to Los Angeles, you would have also experienced the heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. This has been a long-standing problem of every Angeleno in the city. In fact, the city was known for being one of the most congested cities in the United States.

Since this was the problem that could be resolved, the city took it upon itself to launch an automated control system for their traffic lights. This basically synchronized all of the 4,400 traffic lights within a 469-mile square radius. They claim to be the first major city in the world to have achieved such a feat.

The system uses magnetic sensors in the road that measure the flow of traffic, hundreds of cameras and a centralized computer system that makes constant adjustments to keep cars moving as smoothly as possible.

Los Angeles Times

(Source: ZDNet)

Did These Changes Improve the City?

With the recent improvements, the city estimated that the speed of traffic would improve by 16%, thus improving travel time by 12%. This also meant that the carbon emissions would be exponentially less. In addition, the reduced idling saves a million metric tons of carbon from going to the atmosphere.

This system isn’t just efficient in terms of managing traffic; it also improved the economy in a way. Less time in traffic meant that deliveries were done faster, and people won’t be late. (Source: ZDNet)

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