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UK local authorities get fresh education on how big data and the cloud reduce transport costs

UK local authorities looking to cut transport costs have a new guide that aims to explain the way that new technologies such as big data analytics and cloud computing can help to slash costs.

Read more: G-Cloud uptake low among UK councils and local authorities

The Institution of Engineering and Technology [IET] and Intelligent Transport Systems [ITS] guide, which can be downloaded here, looks at the advantages of implementing new systems and the privacy and security issues that arise from changing the way firms work.

“Recent advances in transport technologies offer excellent opportunities for local authorities to deliver transport services more effectively and efficiently – but there are a number of barriers to overcome, from lack of awareness of what is possible to the need for new, more flexible procurement,” stated Alison Carr, director of governance and policy at IET.

Some examples of the new technologies employed by local authorities include using smartphones and tablets to manage traffic technologies, smart street lighting and electric buses.

The guide looks at various case studies from across the UK to illustrate the advantages of the new technologies. To take one example, Hampshire County Council has trialled a system of over 100,000 smart lights and signs that have reduced CO2 emissions by 4,000 tonnes.

For those local authorities that are concerned about data privacy issues, there is a section that focuses on how to handle the new open standards that are presented and the differences between certain types of data.

Local authorities have been slow on the uptake when it comes to the cloud with figures from the G-Cloud procurement service showing that the group is among the least active when it comes to cloud solutions.

Read more: Hybrid IT for local government authorities: Demand vs. awareness

This was illustrated by research commissioned late last year that showed 87 per cent of UK councils and local authorities aren’t purchasing through the G-Cloud portal and 76 per cent have no idea what it can be used for, and guides like this can only help to redress the balance.