A new initiative to fill Sydney with digital public amenities is underway, as the City of Sydney has put out a call to service providers who can transport the city into the digital future.
Sydney’s current street furniture contracts have been in place for almost 20 years and will expire in 2019, which has motivated a complete overhaul of the cityscape, which includes introducing free public wifi, new bus shelters, kiosks, and public toilets equipped with digital technology.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said this would be an opportunity to invest in new street furniture with a consistent style and using technologies to make it easier for people to stay informed and find their way around.
“We want to make sure no one is left behind in this shift to a digital future, so we’re looking for innovative local and international providers with new ideas to deliver fast and free public wifi,” said Moore.
Under the initiative, still in its infancy, public toilets would be automated, public furniture would be constructed with sustainable materials, and bus shelters would provide real-time emergency, event and transport information on digital displays.
The City intends to bankroll these modern changes and their inevitable maintenance with the revenue collected from advertising on these street items. A portion of the advertising on street furniture will be reserved for cultural events that support the arts and encourage people to take part in local creative endeavours.
Public wifi has been an ongoing initiative for Sydney, with plans to provide free internet in several key locations since 2015.
Expressions of interest are open until 6 February, with the contracts for both the wifi service and street furniture to be awarded around mid-2018.
The existing street furniture items will be progressively removed and replaced with new items from 2019.
“The changes would help make Sydney more attractive and accessible, while meeting the needs of today’s tech-savvy commuters, residents and tourists,” the Mayor concluded.