Cities are constantly confronted with new technologies. Technologies that can make the city smarter. However, these technologies don’t usually improve the appeal of the city. The Municipality of The Hague is experimenting in the Living Lab Scheveningen with innovative ‘smart city hubs’, where everything is neatly tucked away in the street furniture. The municipality is also testing the effect of this smart city infrastructure on municipal processes and investigating how the business community can connect to the infrastructure.
The North Boulevard will be given a major upgrade as part of the ‘Healthy Coast’ renovation programme and will be completely redesigned. Lampposts will be installed on the boulevard that have been specially developed for the boulevard. These smart lampposts are the first smart city hubs to be put into operation. The ambition is to eventually expand the living lab to the Zwarte Pad. In the long term, entire Scheveningen could even be equipped with smart city hubs. The aim of this living lab is to discover the social benefits of this new development and how it contributes to improving and maintaining the safety
and quality of life in the seaside town.
In collaboration with experts, the municipality of The Hague has devised a completely new digital infrastructure for living lab Scheveningen. This makes it possible to power sensors and connect them to computer systems while they are concealed in the street furniture. The North Boulevard will be the first test area where smart technology is combined with a beautiful outdoor space. The municipality will first conduct its own research into social issues and the impact of this innovation on its own processes. At a later stage, other parties, such as companies and citizens’ initiatives, may also join in.
Living lab Scheveningen has the ambition to test innovations at two, possibly three locations:
- North Boulevard
At this location, the municipality of The Hague is working together with the police to develop a use case for monitoring the boulevard. One option is the use of cameras or sensors that measure the number of pedestrians. The municipality is investigating the impact on its own processes. If IoT-devices are concealed in a lighting pole or other street furniture, how can cooperation then be organised in the event of maintenance, replacement or remedying failures? The municipality is also thinking about informing visitors about traffic density and waiting times at car parks and tram stops. Based on collected data, it can also be estimated whether extra trams and taxis will be needed at a certain moment.
- Zwarte Pad
The Black Path is a car park that provides access to the beach and is located in a nature reserve. Smart city hubs can increase the liveability of animals through dynamic lighting control. The lights are only on when people are present. In case of an emergency, they burn extra bright or in a different colour. Commotions on the Zwarte Pad are automatically detected by sensors, after which alarmed bouncers can come help each other. Noise sensors in a lighting pole measure noise pollution. The owner of the beach club in question will automatically be notified that he needs to turn the music down. If he fails to do so within a predefined period of time, the system will eventually send a fine. This proactive approach prevents annoyance among entrepreneurs and local residents. The innovations outlined above are possible; however, at this point, the living lab has not yet been implemented at this location. There is a clear ambition to start here in due time. Therefore, the municipality of The Hague organises work sessions with the parties involved.
Scheveningen is an ideal location to test smart city innovations, because of the port, busy access roads, truck traffic, nature reserve, recreation and large numbers of visitors. The idea in the long-term is to conceal some eight hundred smart city hubs in traffic lights, billboards, bus shelters, traffic signs, tram poles and other street furniture, and to try out smart innovations.
The initial motive of the municipality of The Hague for the living lab Scheveningen is to improve its own processes. It is convinced of the commercial potential of smart city hubs and eventually wants to connect companies that add value to the themes of attractive living and working, and security.
In the future, companies will be allowed to participate. If there are already good ideas for the North Boulevard and the Zwarte Pad, companies are invited to contact the smart city team of the municipality of The Hague, via The Hague Security Delta.
Municipality of The Hague
Sven de Laaf, Project Manager Living Lab Scheveningen