AMB-ZBE: The data platform for a Smarter City
Today, companies and cities must store, process and analyze as much, if not all, of the available information in order to thrive in digital economy. This includes data produced by the multiplicity of sensors, built-in computers, industrial controllers and connected devices such as vehicles, voice assistants and wearables that make up the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).
The capture and storage of all these data through IoT represents the perfect basis for an organization to use analytics and turn them into information and knowledge (generate new KPIs, identify areas for improvement and transform its processes, etc.). The organization can even use machine learning techniques and artificial intelligence to foresee future conditions and implement preventive actions.
Specifically, at city level (Smart City), the intelligent use of data allows optimizing processes and infrastructures, as well as improving public services for the citizens. Some examples of what can be achieved include preserving the environment and air quality with traffic control systems to reduce emissions, enhancing noise pollution management, helping the efficiency of the city’s public transport or reduce traffic congestion and accidents with predictive analysis of traffic data.
An example of this type of platform, with the potential to contribute to the city intelligence as it is progressively enriched with data, is the plataform that AMB has implemented, with the help of Opentrends, to manage Barcelona’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ), the current widest LEZ in southern Europe
On January 1, 2020, Barcelona joined the more than two hundred European cities, such as London, Berlin or Paris, that have created low emission zones with restrictions to the more pollutants vehicles in order to preserve the health of their citizens. In this context, AMB has implemented AMB-ZBE, a cloud platform that manages the information generated in the Low Emissions Zone of the Barcelona metropolitan area.
Data come from cameras, that collect license plate readings, and from the SCCA (Air Pollution Control System), that detects pollution episodes. Likewise, everything is integrated with the DGT (Spanish Directorate-General for Traffic), that provides the updated license plates list.
Currently, 36 of the 66 cameras that will be present in the city of Barcelona have already been installed; these cameras record and contrast the information on license plates with the vehicle database of the DGT. It is expected that about 200 cameras will be distributed throughout the LEZ of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) in the future.
For the development of the platform, Opentrends went for the Amazon cloud (AWS), using the Platform as-a-Service services such as CloudFront, Kinesis, QuickSight or Aurora, which provide the necessary scalability that a platform of this type requires. In addition, the use of Lambdas allowed the construction of a 100% serverless platform, which means that when there is no traffic, the infrastructure does not generate costs.
In short, with the AMB-ZBE data platform, the city of Barcelona:
- Will manage and efficiently use the data of the license plates of 1.5 million vehicles that are expected to travel every day through its Low Emission Zone, the widest in Europe nowadays.
- Will be prepared, as the platform grows richer, for the intelligent use of data as a basis for decision-making in traffic and pollution-related issues, even at a predictive level.
Will improve air quality and, ultimately, the quality of life of Barcelona citizens, which is its final and most important aim.
More information about the case of success at:
AWS Cloud architecture to manage Low Emission Zone
Author: Martí Fàbrega