The project involves a Greenwich Council subsidiary called DG Cities.
One key question arising from this is just why is a local authority funded organisation is involved in driverless car trials when that same authority cannot get so many of the basics right when it comes to sustainable transport and good pedestrian and cycling links in the borough?
Does this big push for driverless vehicles from the council – see another project here – also ensure that vehicle primacy will remain in the area despite much new housing, including on the Peninsula where dual carriageways and large roundabouts abound to the detriment of pedestrians?
The government may be part funding the project, but the project relies on the existence of DG Cities – which is an in-house Greenwich Council team.
Funding for the organisation is also an area to watch as increasingly this looks to receive income from developers instead of healthcare, education and other apparent priorities. isn’t this something large multi-nationals can and are funding?
DG Cities was known as Digital Greenwich, and it’s website stated that it “is the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s in-house team, created to develop and take forward Greenwich’s smart city strategy, and lead its work on city innovation.”
“The existence of a dedicated team, reporting directly to the Chief Executive, ensures focus and sufficient weight is given to bringing forward new ideas, new technologies, and new approaches to address the challenges Greenwich faces, and in particular, to address the increasing pressure on infrastructure, services, the environment and communities.”
City innovation? That sounds all very rosy, but the authority cannot even implement attractive, safe and welcoming links for pedestrians in many parts of Greenwich borough. Maybe try to get the little things right?
And reporting directly to the Chief Executive? How many other areas get that treatment?
The Digital Greenwich website describes the organisations:
“Digital Greenwich works alongside DG Cities, a Council owned Innovation Company set up in 2015. DG Cities’ brings additional expertise and allows the Council to work in more innovative ways with private sector and other partners. Its remit extends beyond the borough boundary, which enables it to use the experience gained working elsewhere. The expertise of DG Cities in applying technology in cities is also sought by others, enabling the Council to capture the value from its work. Together Digital Greenwich and DG Cities have helped establish Greenwich as a leader in smart city innovation”.
DG Cities are based on Greenwich Peninsula. The same Peninsula that still has dire pedestrian links to existing communities and amenities in east Greenwich despite many millions incoming from new development.
Though it’s based near North Greenwich tube, and not the grotty and dangerous sections to the south.
While basic improvements are not undertaken to improve these areas for pedestrians and cyclists, Digital Cities organisation gets a hotline to the council’s chief exec?
Then of course there’s the question of how sustainable driverless cars are. They will still create congestion – which we know will increase in much of the borough when Silvertown Tunnel opens according to TfL modelling.
So perhaps it’ll be long queues of driverless cars in 20 years instead of normal cars rather than truly attempting to create alternatives?
You can imagine some in Woolwich Town hall thinking they’re at the forefront while never having visited much of the borough with poor links for pedestrians.
Swept away by the glamour of new technology while completely lacking understanding or knowledge of existing problems.
And all the while, Greenwich refuse to allocate needed sums to improve pedestrian links at new development after new development, and continue in refusing to fund cycle hire schemes.
As for how much money they are allocating to driverless cars and other DG Cities’ projects, that will be something to keep an eye on.