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Köln – Best of Smart City, part 3

Monika Rech-Heider
June 23, 2020


In SmartCity Cologne, the city is bringing together various projects on climate protection and the energy turnaround. Everyone should participate: private individuals, companies, associations and initiatives. Together, intelligent ideas and forward-looking technologies are being developed to make Cologne even more worth living in.

Cities are becoming Smart Cities. With the advancing digital transformation, they have outgrown the mere concept phase. The result is projects that are designed to improve the quality of life and coexistence of their inhabitants, open up administration, use resources more sparingly and optimize traffic flow. GEOMNIBUS presents the top three Smart City projects from three German metropolises: Munich, Hamburg and Cologne. Part 3 takes care of Cologne, the city on the Rhine.

Top 1: The traffic calendar – the city in flow

As early as 2010, the city of Cologne took the criticism of the numerous traffic jams caused by road works seriously and launched an online traffic service that allows motorists to obtain information about the current traffic situation before they even start their journey.

At the heart of the “Traffic Calendar” is a city map showing road construction sites and traffic-related events such as trade fairs, soccer matches or major concerts. Additional information can also be displayed here, for example the current traffic load on the city’s main traffic routes, the location of the multi-storey car parks and information on available parking spaces or the Cologne Low Emission Zone.

In addition to the standard traffic calendar, extensions such as logistics and parking can be directly accessed. Furthermore, in the future, alternative mobility, such as bicycle themes, bicycle routes, possibly the lending of cargo bicycles, charging stations are also to be integrated.

Top 2: The geoportal – data hub

Behind the geoportal of the City of Cologne is a modern, powerful and goal-oriented GIS. Characteristics are a single data pool, the qualitative preparation of the data, provision in interactive applications and as open data. The geoportal serves as a central, uniform access point to the city’s geoinformation. The city of Cologne thus offers access to data, services and applications from various sources and their combination. As a platform, the geoportal bundles a variety of information from the fields of environment, traffic, surveying, planning and other municipal services on interactive maps. Citizens have the opportunity to use, view and analyse geodata.

Top 3: Urban land use planning – well-founded citizen participation

It is no longer enough for citizens to make a cross on a voting card every five years. Rather, they want to be actively involved in the decision-making process in their city, in the issues that directly affect them. As the first German city with more than a million inhabitants, the City of Cologne – like some 30 smaller cities – has launched a process of guidelines for citizen participation and set up a working committee on citizen participation. This consists of representatives from politics, administration and citizenship. The City of Cologne is testing and developing many new and modern participation formats in order to offer citizens appropriate opportunities for participation, for example, participatory budgeting or think tanks in urban development areas. In this specific project, the City of Cologne intends to introduce an integrated participation tool for all procedural steps. Geographical information, ideally also in 3D, will underpin the decision-making processes.

Weiterführende Links

Traffic Calendar

Geo Portal

Citizen participation

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