Corp Comm Connects

City wins two 2021 Smart 50 Awards
Sept. 29. 2021

The following statement was issued by Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua after a virtual ceremonial presentation during the Sept. 27 Council meeting:

"I am pleased to announce the City of Vaughan is a two-time recipient of the 2021 Smart 50 Awards for the Winter Maintenance Artificial Intelligence System and the LED Streetlight Retrofit Program. The Smart 50 Awards were created in partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation, and US Ignite to honour the 50 most innovative and transformative municipal-scale Smart Cities projects globally.

"Vaughan is a Smart City leader that seeks new and meaningful ways to incorporate Smart City solutions into our ongoing city-building efforts. We take great pride in being innovative and forward-thinking in all that we do.

"The City received an award for the Winter Maintenance Artificial Intelligence System, led by the Public Works team. Our administration has taken a progressive approach to winter maintenance by becoming the first municipality in Canada to adopt a smart-technology artificial intelligence tool to allocate resources better and reduce salt usage. Using sensors, this tool considers various factors -- including weather models, Vaughan's micro-climates, traffic volumes and road conditions -- to inform road winter maintenance decisions. Ultimately, it ensures the City is applying the right salt and the right amount in the right places at the right time. Since adopting this innovative AI technology in 2018, the City has reduced salt usage by 30 per cent each winter and has achieved an annual savings of approximately $400,000 due to better salt management. In addition, the AI tool provides real-time observations to drive the best treatment decisions. This has positively impacted environmental and fiscal sustainability and, most importantly, enhanced the citizen experience.

"The second award is for the City's LED Streetlight Retrofit Program, led by the Infrastructure Delivery team. As part of Vaughan's commitment to protecting the environment and fostering a sustainable community, approximately 24,000 new streetlights have been installed through this city-wide program. The program also includes installing an adaptive control system that allows remote monitoring and operation of all LEDs through a web-enabled central management system. This provides accurate energy metering per streetlight, integrated GPS for real-time streetlight performance reporting and the ability to turn on, dim or turn off streetlights remotely. The City is taking steps to reduce energy use, save operational costs and advance the Environmental Stewardship and Operational Performance priorities as outlined in our Strategic Plan.

"Operating Vaughan's streetlight network represents approximately 20 per cent of the City's overall energy consumption. LED lights use approximately 50 per cent less energy than the previous bulbs and have a lifespan of about four times longer. This translates into ongoing savings in operating and maintenance costs, and as a result of the reduction in energy consumption, the City will save approximately $1 million each year. The new LED lights are also more reliable, will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve roadway safety for pedestrians and drivers, as they radiate a more bright, white light. Phase 2 of the program is currently underway and will see new streetlight poles installed across the city, to meet current lighting standards and accommodate LED technology.

"By improving road maintenance and reducing energy consumption, the City of Vaughan continues to take a Smart City approach to deliver efficient, reliable and innovative city-building. I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the City's Public Works portfolio, the Infrastructure Development portfolio and the Smart City team for their continuous efforts to implement new technologies that improve the delivery of critical services while maximizing the value of taxpayers' hard-earned dollars. Advancing Vaughan's Smart City agenda is a key priority in our Strategic Plan, and they all play an important and meaningful role.

"The 2021 Smart 50 Awards recognition marks another important step forward in building upon Vaughan's global position as a Smart City leader. Further, it demonstrates our shared commitment to deliver Service Excellence and put citizens first in everything we do."