Making Oxford a better place

By: Tony Hart, OxLEP

Oxford skyline

By being smarter we can make Oxford more beautiful, greener, safer, fairer, healthier, more resilient and more prosperous. The traffic and transport systems around the county, most notably on A34, A40 and M40, are struggling to cope, and the volume of car traffic into and within Oxford causes major problems. Let’s use technology, sensors and data analytics, to make cycle lanes safer and make public transport easier to use for commuters, shoppers and visitors.

As our population ages, let’s pioneer new monitoring technologies from the research labs of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to provide preemptive treatment for medical conditions and improve patient care.

25% of Oxford’s schoolchildren go to private schools AND 25% of children in Oxford live in families below the poverty line and the children who go to state schools are on average performing worse than the rest of England. Let’s fix both the social divide and the gap in educational attainment by investigating new ways of engaging with younger students.

Traffic is the primary cause of high pollution levels within the city but we also need to reduce the level of carbon consumption within both public and private buildings and handle environmental challenges such as regular flooding. Let’s use technology to monitor the environmental status of the city and its surroundings, investigate ways of improving it and continue to use systems such as the Flood Warning system to inform our citizens.

The objectives of Smart Oxford are that we use smart technologies and processes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of services in the city, and build sustainable improvements in the quality of life for Oxford’s people socially, economically and environmentally.

We can create and support innovative ideas from the universities, colleges, businesses (large and small), public sector bodies and active citizens to make Oxford a better place to live, improving the transport infrastructure, recycling, education attainments and people’s health, reducing pollution levels, energy consumption and social divisions, and many more issues.

Let’s use the intellectual and commercial assets of Oxford and Oxfordshire to solve the problems that all cities across the world are currently facing. Let’s engage with all the academic, medical, public and private sector organisations and businesses across the county, and lead the way in showing what a smart city can do to improve the lives of its citizens.

This posting originally appeared in July 2015 on the Smart Oxford Challenge site.