Oxford named as one of Britain’s smartest cities

By: Huawei

Latest Huawei UK Smart Cities Index tracks countrywide progress in 20 locations

 London, UK, 23rd October 2017: Oxford is one of Britain’s top “smart cities”, according to the second UK Smart Cities Index, commissioned by Huawei UK and conducted by Navigant Consulting. The report is based on evaluations of 20 cities and their strategies, key projects and overall readiness in using digital technology to improve crucial civic services from transport infrastructure to healthcare.

Oxford has been ranked in the 11th position across the UK, and is one of 12 “contender” cities, including: Manchester, Aberdeen, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Newcastle. The overall leader in the report is Bristol, followed by London.

Oxford has a high concentration of multi-million pound science and technology facilities, supporting world-class research in fields like advanced engineering, manufacturing and life sciences. The Smart Oxford initiative is supported by the Oxford Strategic Partnership (OSP), a group of collaborating organisations from across the public sector, academia, business and voluntary and community organisations.

One key initiative is the CASPAR, a project focused on providing real-time information regarding the availability of blue badge parking spaces. This involves the installation of sensors and camera monitoring technology in Oxford and Witney which will provide real-time car parking and EV charging point availability data. It also allows information to be integrated with Oxfordshire County Council’s Urban Traffic Management Control System.

The report also commends Oxford for its governance structure for Smart Oxford that has been purposely arranged to not be led by a single entity. The organisation instead focuses on a united culture of trust and collaboration among partners to develop Oxford as a shared city that is inclusive of all communities.

Sir Andrew Cahn, Huawei UK Board, said: “The successful cities of the future are going to be smart cities. It’s clear from this report that cities across the UK have made considerable progress over the last year, developing and implementing strategies to improve the delivery of public services and the urban environment. The scale of progress throughout the country is represented by a doubling in the number of cities included in this year’s ranking index compared to 2016. While Bristol and London are named as “leaders”, other cities have entered the index with exciting smart initiatives, such as Newcastle’s, City Futures programme and Cambridge’s, Smart Cambridge intelligent City Platform (iCP).”

Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council said: “This is evidence of the great progress that we are making in the Oxford Smart City Partnership to improve the way in which new digital technologies are being applied to support improvements in transport, health and the environment. The City has ambitious plans for the future that will support the improvement of services to our residents and support the growth and creation of new high value jobs. The Partnership involves close collaboration between the City and County Councils, the University of Oxford, and the private sector under the aegis of the Oxford Strategic Partnership. It aims to drive forward the smart cities programme to transform Oxford into a connected and inclusive city and to be a key technology hub in Europe.”

Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Consulting, who led the study, said: “UK cities are demonstrating an impressive commitment to service and technology innovation. They are now embedding smart city ideas into city planning and operations. They are also preparing for the impact of the next wave of technologies, including 5G, autonomous vehicles, and machine learning. The growing contribution that local universities are making to these programmes further emphasises the importance of advanced technologies to the future of UK cities.”