Interactive screens could soon appear on the streets of Dundee as the city aims to provide a modern environment for locals and visitors.
Outdoor advert firm JCDecaux has drawn up designs with no fewer than 16 free-standing booths that will offer public information, wifi access, directions and both wireless and wired phone charging.
The booths – likely to replace the information stands seen around the city – feature 32in touchscreens for web browsing and accessing council services.
Disabled people are also being catered for in the form of a 5.7in touchpad positioned below the main touchscreen, allowing those with mobility issues to control the unit with a mouse.
Each of the booths to be dotted around the city centre will also come equipped with a potentially life-saving defibrillator.
Fitted with high-speed wifi and mobile connections, the booths will also feature a phone.
The majority of the facilities are based along Panmure Street, the Murraygate and High Street.
Others will be at the edges of Marketgait, Reform Street and on City Square.
The council hopes the booths will be as revolutionary and convenient as telephone boxes when they first appeared about 100 years ago.
The local authority aims to become a “fully digital” body by next year – and the high-tech booths are understood to form part of the plan.
In a covering letter included with the application, JCDecaux said the proposed booths would meet the council’s goal of “creating a modern, connected city for the 21st Century” – without breaking the bank.
The back of the unit will feature an 86” advertising display – and the firm says the units will be run “at no cost to the public purse” by selling advert space.
The letter concludes: “The proposals should be seen as an early step in the digital transformation of the city of Dundee to help achieve the aim of a smart city and to set an example to other leading cities across the world.”
Dundee has already adopted a number of modern schemes which lend themselves to the “smart city” moniker.
These include the solar-powered bins which appeared on city streets last year, which are capable of compacting rubbish and alerting workers when they need to be emptied.
Work is also progressing on a 5G testbed for Dundee, along with the first wave of a public wifi network at the Waterfront.
The council also created The Mill – an innovation team tasked with developing new transport ideas for the city – with local consultants Urban Foresight.
Its work has led to the launch of the JustPark app to support cashless payments for on-street parking and a city-wide cycle-sharing scheme which is set to appear in the near future.
Projects such as these are built with digital in mind – so council chiefs can monitor how, when and where they are used, and use this to better understand how to spend public cash.
The proposed futuristic booths are no different.
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Designs included with the application suggest they are capable of monitoring air quality – a key measure for the council as it considers its proposed low emission zone.
JCDecaux claims the booths will even be vandalism-resistant – able to resist blunt force, scratches and graffiti.
Should the worst happen, they can automatically email engineers to advise of malfunctions.
Locals can share their views on the proposed booths with city planning officers until November 15.
Planned location of booths
- 22 Reform Street
- Trades Bar, Nethergate
- Hays Travel, City Square
- 7-9 Reform Street
- H&M, corner of West Marketgait and Nethergate
- Junction of Castle Street and High Street
- Malmaison on South Marketgait
- 10 Panmure Street
- Thorntons on Murraygate
- Game on Murraygate
- BrewDog on Panmure Street
- Zara on High Street
- Outside O2 on Murraygate
- Farmfoods on Cowgate
- The Wellgate Shopping Centre
- Northwood on Panmure Street