Montego Bay chosen for Smart City pilot
Montego Bay has been chosen for a pilot project for a Smart City Integrated Operation and Control Centre (IOCC), a component of the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI) being spearheaded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the government of Korea.
The official announcement was made at a workshop at the St James Parish Council last Friday. The workshop was staged to present a basic design and implementation plan for the IOCC and get feedback from government ministries, departments and agencies, municipal officials, and IDB staff for the final report for the design of the IOCC to be submitted this month.
In his keynote address, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Noel Arscott, said the project is a follow-up to a 2012 special mission, which the IDB conducted in Jamaica to conduct initial dialogue on the ESCI. The initiative was launched in 2011 by the IDB to aid cities with populations between 100,000 and 2,000,000 in creating long-term strategies aimed at improving their environmental, urban, and fiscal sustainability.
"After numerous discussions and careful assessments, Montego Bay was selected as the city for the ESCI intervention," Arscott said. Based on further discussions, it was deemed critical to establish the IOCC in an effort to ensure the success of the initiative.
"The city of Montego Bay is plagued by a number of urban challenges, including traffic congestion, which can affect emergency response. The ESCI will address this issue and other challenges. It also provides for a greater level of sustainable development both at the local and national level," Arscott added.
Arscott said the establishment of the IOCC would include the installation of closed-circuit cameras across Montego Bay, which would aid in monitoring traffic management, crime, and disaster prevention.
"As mentioned earlier, the increase in the parish's crime rate is a major concern for all stakeholders. It is a major deterrent to the development process. The installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) will allow the necessary authorities to monitor activities within the area, and if a crime should occur, they will be able to respond in a timely and efficient manner," the minister said.
"The implementation of the IOCC will also ensure that the city is more tourist friendly, with increased CCTVs installed around the city. These systems combined will help to enforce road safety by reducing accidents, enforce vehicles to maintain the prescribed speed limit and obey all traffic signals, and make it easier to identify and ticket all traffic offenders. Montego Bay will operate as a 'Smart City'," he added.
The IOCC will consist of a monitoring room with 12 50-inch CCTV monitoring screens and other ICT facilities, including GIS mapping of the city's urban infrastructure. These will be constantly monitored by government experts from at least two or more ministries, departments, and agencies, including traffic, crime, and disaster management.
It is expected that it will enable the St James Parish Council to make more effective planning decisions and to enable effective and greater utilisation of limited resources.
The IOCC will consist of seven systems when implemented:
a. Traffic Signal Control System;
b. Route Taxi and Metro Bus Management System;
c. Parking Information System;
d. Traveller Information System;
e. Automated Traffic Enforcement System;
f. Crime-Prevention System;
g. Disaster-Prevention System.
It will be implemented in three phases:
a. Phase 1: Downtown Montego Bay - City Centre area;
b. Phase 2: Greater Montego Bay area;
c. Phase 3: Expansion of system.