Focus on open data and access to electronic services
The city of Riga (Latvia) will soon begin an overhaul of its approach to IT, focussing on making its data open by default, and giving companies and software developers access to some of the city’s eGovernment services through APIs. The city’s current IT architecture was designed about a decade ago, when “no one foresaw the growth of data”, says city council member Agris Ameriks.
The councillor was one of the speakers at the “Open" technologies and intelligent solutions" conference, which took place on 28 January at the Latvian University of Natural Sciences in Riga.
According to the councillor, Riga is already one of the leading smart cities. Examples include a city-wide public WIFI network, and a network of surveillance cameras which in its first year tracked some 2000 violations. The city administration is modernising its processes, using open technologies, including an eDocument system that is integrated with Latvia’s electronic signature solution. “We aim to provide answers immediately, not in a few weeks’ time”, said the council member.
The city is one of the signatories of the Covenant of Mayors, which aims to make European cities, villages and regions energy-efficient and reduce CO₂-emissions. In Riga, activities include insulating public administration buildings, including schools. For some buildings, this has helped to halve the costs for heating and electricity. The city now has over 1000 LED lights installed, which it can control automatically.
By building more bicycle lanes, Riga hopes to reduce car traffic, in an effort to improve air quality. The number of cyclists is growing, said the council member. “In fact, the fastest way to get about our city is by bike.” Riga is modernising its public transport, including making available real-time information on transport services and vehicles.