Our Smart City programme

Using technology to create a Smart City

Edinburgh may be an ancient City, but it has always been at the forefront of innovation.

So, as we face the twin challenges of population growth and climate change, we’re introducing innovative new technologies as part of our Digital and Smart City strategy, which sets out a fresh approach for using technology to connect systems in the digital age.

What is a Smart City?

A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to collect data, then uses insights gained from them to manage assets, resources and services to improve operations across the city.

Our aim for Edinburgh

We want to use smart city technology to make Edinburgh a better place to live, visit and work.

To do that, we’re introducing innovative and forward-thinking technologies to help solve the challenges that our city faces. This will allow us to better manage our resources, become more sustainable and deliver better services.

We have a range of projects underway that are using smart technologies:

Smart City operations

This project has delivered a new Edinburgh Operations Centre which is used as a control centre for a new state-of-the-art CCTV system across the city.

The centre receives and operates real-time data 24/7, gathering information from the CCTV network along with intelligence from partners such as Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Transport for Edinburgh.

This technology offers a number of benefits for residents within the city: improving public safety, traffic flow, transport infrastructure and city planning, and, in turn, helping with the city’s collective carbon footprint. It also supports the management of large events, such as Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Fringe Festival. Through access to real-time data, the centre is a hub for disasters or emergencies, helping to coordinate responses to incidents.

The new systems within the centre harnesses analytics to create useful data sets, such as pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle counts, as well as transport heatmaps. We are using these data sets to help better understand how people move through the city and interact with the built environment. This helps identify congestion, pinch points, desire lines, providing valuable information to support decision-making across the Council.

You can find more information about this project on our Smart City operations page.

Smart Waste

We’ve installed 11,000 smart bin sensors in litter and communal bins throughout the city. The data from the sensors gives us a wide range of information, such as how full our bins are and which bins are used most often.

This allows us to respond more quickly and operate more efficient waste collection routes. As a result, this’s helping us save fuel and energy, and make better use of our resources.

You can find more information about this project on our Smart Waste page.

Smart Housing

As part of our commitment to providing warm and healthy homes, we’re trialling humidity, temperature and co2 sensors in 500 council properties. The sensors allow us to find issues faster and fix them before they impact our tenants.

Intelligent Infrastructure

Our Intelligent Infrastructure project has introduced a digital Urban Traffic Management & Control system (UTMC) to monitor traffic and environmental conditions around the city. This will help us clear congestion and improve air quality.

The system continuously receives data from a range of sources, such as journey time, traffic flow and air quality, and acts autonomously to make changes to traffic signal timings on the road network to improve traffic flow.

It’s helping us manage traffic flow disruptions produced by large events such as International Rugby at Murrayfield, as well as catering for diverted and altered traffic patterns due to roadworks or incidents on the trunk road network, such as the City Bypass or M8. Journey time monitoring uses floating car data from 10 major arterial routes in the city, alongside real-time data to Traffic Scotland to manage responses to disruptions on the trunk road network.

We’ve installed air quality monitoring sensors across the city at 10 locations, measuring levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and alerting us to any areas with poor air quality.

Our new UTMC system brings together data from these range of sources to help us take action to keep the city moving and improve the air quality for everyone.


The Intelligent Infrastructure, Smart Waste, Smart Housing and City Operations Capability project is jointly funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme known as ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City'.

Edinburgh is one of seven Scottish cities collaboratively working towards becoming a world leading Smart City. Supported by the Scottish Cities Alliance, a partnership of Scotland’s eight city local authorities and the Scottish Government, £45 million, including £18 million of ERDF support plus cities match funding of £27 million, is being invested in the ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City' Programme.