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Every move you make: All eyes on Woombye as tiny town runs landmark study

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Residents and visitors in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Woombye are to have their movements and behaviour tracked and recorded by 10 sensors dotted along its main street.

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The town is the location of a pilot project to boost Sunshine Coast Council’s efforts to use real-time data to inform the decisions it makes on everything from car parks to footpath construction and street cleaning.

Local councillor Winston Johnson said the project was capturing real-time information about pedestrian and vehicle movements in the area, how long people spend in a particular location and which direction they are headed in.

“A networked water meter is also providing council with data on things like how many people are using public amenities in Woombye, how much water is being used and if there are water leaks,” Johnson said.

“This data informs council about the scheduling of maintenance and cleaning schedules, as well as identifying potential misuse of facilities and helps council run these facilities in more environmentally sustainable way.”

Along with specialised weather and temperature sensors that measure things like footpath comfort, Johnson says these devices are capable of providing the council with a “complete picture” of day-to-day activity in Woombye.

Local businesses have welcomed the pilot, saying it will help tourists connect better with local communities.

Grant Palethorpe of the Woombye Community and Business Association said the data on car parking would be of particular interest.

“Local business owners are particularly interested in the data which is gathered from car park sensors and from that, what measures or solutions can be put in place to ensure car parking is less of a problem into the future,” he said.

Sunshine Coast Council is one of several local governments in Queensland turning to remote sensors and the so-called “Internet of Things” to get more in-touch with what their communities need from them and to run more efficiently.

Brisbane City Council has installed 20 “smart poles” around the city to collect data on activities like pedestrian and cyclists traffic, construction noise and air quality.

Among the business areas that have shown marked improvement after councils have embraced new sensor technology are fleet management and electricity costs.

 

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