Case study – SMART solutions for Crewe

“Integrating ‘smart’ solutions to underpin development in Crewe and its surrounding areas”

Crewe has been at the leading edge of manufacturing for a long time – from a 175 year association with the railway industry through to the work of world leading companies such as Bentley and Fujitsu – Crewe has earned a reputation as an area of innovation.

On behalf of Cheshire East, the Skills and Growth Company have worked with Jacobs consulting and the University of Strathclyde, to identify the role that innovative ‘smart’ digital solutions can play to overcome constraints and future-proof growth in the Crewe area.  There is a big opportunity to embed these digital technologies into the town and surrounding area, to support the growth linked to the HS2 masterplan whilst minimising disruption, cutting costs, and improving quality of life. It will also make increase the attractiveness of the area to companies wanting to grow or relocate, enabling Crewe to compete with other places that are capitalising on these digital technologies.

The study found that there are real opportunities to incorporate digital technology locally, utilising advances in sensor technology, connectivity, smart phones, data processing and machine learning. For example, data collected on travel patterns can help to optimise traffic signals in real time and provide information to satnavs to help travellers choose the best route.

Four broad action areas were identified:

  • Connectivity – Using smart technologies into the transport network to improve delivery and reduce costs on new and existing infrastructure – e.g. adaptive traffic signals, on demand public transport, and smarter parking.
  • Economic Infrastructure Embedding smart technologies into the wider infrastructure of Crewe to increase resilience and reduce costs, e.g. smart energy and heat networks, drainage and resilience, and smart public lighting.
  • Place – Improving the attractiveness and usability of the town through digital solutions, e.g. environmental monitoring, interactive public art and digital wayfinding, and improved disabled access.
  • People – Using digital technologies to better connect citizens and services, e.g. data driven healthcare, independent living, and active citizenship.

It recommended that Crewe should become an early adopter of smart technologies, improving its reputation as an innovative place to invest, and underpinning infrastructure investment, so the Skills and Growth Company is now working with to identify how to take forward the findings, focussing on the priority interventions we can make to help achieve the ambitions for Crewe and its surrounding area.

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