A smarter, more digitally-engaged Footscray

Get ready for a smarter, more digitally-engaged Footscray, as Maribyrnong City Council, in partnership with Victoria University, roll out new smart technologies.
Thursday 6 February 2020

Get ready for a smarter, more digitally-engaged Footscray, as Maribyrnong City Council, in partnership with Victoria University, roll out new smart technologies.

The technologies – which range from digital kiosks and expanded free public WiFi to energy-efficient lighting and air-monitoring sensors – will form the ‘Footscray Smart City for Social Cohesion Project’.

Footscray to join smart-city league

Footscray will be placed in a league with other smart cities around the world with improvements funded by a $400,000 Australian Government Smart Cities and Suburbs Program grant and boosted by funding from Council and Victoria University.

“VU is excited to partner with Maribyrnong City Council for this smart city initiative, as we continue to progress Footscray as a smart University Town. The project will contribute towards research and learning, and improve Footscray’s services and citizen experience.”

Professor Richard Constantine, Vice-President of Resources and Precincts.

Victoria University’s College of Engineering and Science will use its expertise in information and digital technologies to develop a platform (the ‘Social Cohesion Platform’) that collects data from smart sensors. This platform will enable data-driven decision making that supports ongoing improvements to Council’s service delivery and useful information for local businesses and communities. Professor Richard Constantine also see benefits for students.

"We hope VU students will draw on the initiative to undertake innovation and research projects in areas such as addressing urban traffic congestion and improving environmental health.”

Council and Victoria University have engaged OneWiFi & Infrastructure to roll out the solutions and infrastructure required to deliver this smart city project.

Environmentally responsible initiatives to feature

The roll out will result in the following initiatives.

  • Monitoring sensors that measure the air quality in and around Footscray will help Council advocate for improved health outcomes for the city. This monitoring is also expected to contribute to Council’s commitment to an improved climate emergency response.
  • Energy-efficient smart lighting will reduce the maintenance and cost of public lighting, contributing to Council’s commitment to an improved climate-emergency response.
  • Expanded free public WiFi in the Footscray business district and Footscray Park will help the community to access educational, tourism, business and public transport information at no cost.
  • Pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle counting technology will help to reduce congestion and improve transport and transport connections in the Footscray business district and other areas.
  • Interactive signage at key locations will promote the city’s history, tourist destinations, public-transport options and other information as part of a digital kiosk.
  • Footscray Park App featuring environmental education functions will list flora and fauna found in the park and the Edwardian gardens, giving users the opportunity to learn more about the park’s history and habitats.
  • Integrated Smart City Data Platform will compile information gathered from the sensor network and be accessible to the public.
  • LoRaWAN network, considered a ‘gateway’ and part of ‘The Internet of Things (IoT)’, will share information gathered by Council with Victoria University.

Council will ensure the safety and security of people and assets and maintain high standards of privacy in leveraging the value of data. No personal information will be collected by the smart technology.

Installation will take place at key locations in Footscray over the summer months, with completion expected by mid-2020.

This project stems from the Footscray University Town initiative, a visionary partnership between Council and Victoria University which combines efforts of both organisations to align university, business and community interests and activities. It is also a strong example of VU’s partnerships with communities and industries in Melbourne’s west to foster accessible, relevant and practical research and learning opportunities.

More information will be available on the Maribyrnong City Council website as the project progresses.