As big cities start to show their age new technology can help revitalise them. Here’s a look at some of the ways smart cities are changing the world.

3. London

As London continues to grow and age, the problems with it’s infrastructure are abundantly clear – huge congestion, an antiquated metro system and a huge emissions problem. Smart tech is helping to curtail these issues move the city in a more productive direction. London’s population is estimated to grow by another 1 million people over the next ten years and is expected to pass the 10 million mark by 2030. If these problems remain unaddressed then it will cause staggering difficulties for it’s inhabitants. Luckily, smart initiatives such as trialling electric bike sharing systems, and 300+ smart parking spaces to monitor parking are starting to have a positive effect.

The Juniper report on smart cities made sure to note that London would have placed higher in the standings had it not been for significant failings regarding it’s renewable energy sources and poor power reductions. Global Smart City tech investment is estimated to reach $1,135 billion by 2019 according to a Market and Markets report. London currently has plans to be a part of this by investing in schemes that allow the River Thames to become a renewable energy source by using it to heat homes reducing the need for boilers, providing better air quality and reduced power bills for residents. The city also intends to begin installing solar panels on houses in an effort to provide an increase in green energy. The power grid will then be managed digitally in order to maximise it’s efficiency, bringing carbon emissions and utility costs down city-wide.

These new initiatives and others like them should help keep London as one of the smartest smart cities for some time.

4. San Francisco

San Francisco, as one of the tech capitals of the world, is a natural fit for a list on the worlds smartest cities.

The 7×7 mile city is home to over 800,000 people and as a result suffers from heavy congestion, with the many hills for which the city is famed for only compounding the problem further. Mayor Ed Lee is confident that the introduction of smart technology is one of the city’s best bets for solving the problems. Although the city by the bay’s transport system is fairly antiquated it’s availability has been revolutionised by smart payment methods for fares, which allow passengers to pay for their commutes via their smart phones or contactlessly, streamlining the process.

Smart Parking has also helped to alleviate the problem, whilst the public transport system fares quite well, there is still a very high percentage of private vehicle ownership which the city sees as a priority to reduce. Smart Parking in San Francisco allows authorities to adjust the prices on parking in certain areas based on the number of available spaces over a length of time to control flow and congestion.

San Francisco is also leading the way in many clean energy initiatives; the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has praised the city, saying that it has one of the highest concentrations of LEED certified buildings in the world. A recent law also states that all new buildings are required to have at least 15% of roof space dedicated to solar panels, a policy which California lawmaker, Senator Scott Wiener, wishes to become a state wide policy. The techboom of the bay area has contributed immensely to it’s problems and solutions but the city, known for it’s progressive ideals, is dedicated to tackling these problems with smart technology.

5. Oslo

Oslo, like many Scandinavian cities, is committed to progressive and cleaner living but the Norwegian capital’s dedication to smart energy plans has led to it being hailed as one of the most sustainable smart cities today, firmly earning it’s place on this list. The city currently uses 65,000 smart LED lights linked by 650 processing stations. These not only reduce energy use but can actually monitor the area to determine how bright they need to be, in foggy or lighter conditions they are able to become bright or more dim respectively.

License plate detectors were also introduced in a scheme to calculate accurate congestion charges as part of it’s smart traffic system and the city is currently embarking on construction of an additional 37 miles of cycling road with plans to ban cars in the city centre all together by 2019. In terms of energy created, the city uses waste as one of it’s primary fuels as opposed to burying it in a landfill, both industrial and standard waste have been harnessed to this end. Interestingly enough, because the city uses so much of this waste as fuel they depleted their entire stockpile in 2013 and authorities had to import refuse from abroad. In the future, Oslo has plans to redraw it’s entire transport network by 2020 and is aiming to cut fuel emissions by 50%, and by 2030 hopes to 95% climate neutral.