Regional

Montego Bay to operate as a ‘Smart City’

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, February 05, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott has pledged maximum support for the pilot project to establish a Smart City Integrated Operating Control Centre (IOCC) for the resort town of Montego Bay.

"I am in full support of this initiative as it displays some level of advancement in the Local Government reform process and it also provides for a greater level of sustainable development both at the local and national levels," Arscott said.

Arscott explained that with the implementation of the system, the city will be able to overcome "many of the urban challenges impeding a smart and sustainable city development".

The IOCC project, which will involve the installation of closed-circuit cameras, will have functions for traffic management, crime and disaster prevention.

In 2011, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI) to assist cities with populations between 100,000 and two million people.

In 2012, the IDB conducted a special mission in Jamaica to start talks with various stakeholders about the ESCI.

Montego Bay was subsequently selected as the city for the ESCI intervention, which is being spearheaded by the Korean Government.

Meanwhile, the final workshop to present a basic design and implementation plan for the IOCC and to get feedback from the Government; municipal officials and IDB staff, was held in Montego Bay recently.

Arscott, Ambassador Kimo Lim of the Korean Embassy in Jamaica, and Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Glendon Harris, were among those in attendance at

the workshop.

According to the local government minister, the system will consist of a monitoring room with 12 50-inch CCTV monitoring screens and other ICT computer infrastructure, including GIS mapping of the city's urban infrastructure "that are constantly monitored by government experts from at least two or more urban classifications, such as traffic, crime and disaster management".

"This is expected to enable local authorities to make more effective planning decisions and to enable effective and greater utilisation of limited resources," Arscott outlined.

When implemented the IOCC will consist of seven systems, including: traffic signal control system, route taxi and metro bus; management system, parking information system, traveller information system, automated traffic enforcement system, crime prevention system and disaster prevention system.

Arscott revealed that the system will be implemented in three phases. The first phase will include the Downtown Montego Bay/City Centre area, followed by the Greater Montego Bay area before further expansion.

"These systems combined will provide information for traffic monitoring, crime prevention and disaster prevention," Arscott said.

"It will help to enforce road safety by reducing accidents, force vehicles to maintain the prescribed speed limit and obey all traffic signals and make it easier to identify and ticket all traffic offenders. I should also add that the IOCC will promote competitiveness and increase Gross Domestic Product in the city... Montego Bay will operate as a 'Smart City'."

Meanwhile, Mayor Harris was delighted that Montego Bay was chosen to launch the project in Jamaica.

"We strongly believe that Montego Bay is fitting for such a pioneer programme in the Caribbean and I am extremely proud that the City of Montego Bay has been chosen for Smart City concept in Jamaica," Harris said.

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