Smart mobility Urban mobility Sustainability
Thursday, 13 October 2022

SLOVENIA: Going Green and Digital - part III

Novo Mesto & Celje: on the path to smartness. The third and final part of Intertraffic’s comprehensive look at how the smart city movement is progressing in Slovenia centres on two small cities with big plans. Read here the first and second part of this series.

When you consider that Slovenia’s biggest city, the capital Ljubljana, has a population of less than 300,000 and the country as a whole is home to only 2.1m (at last count in 2020), that there are at least three cities firmly ensconced in smart mobility plans is somewhat noteworthy.

One such city is Celje, Slovenia’s fourth largest city with a population of just over 37,000, situated in the centre of the country between Ljubljana and the second-largest city, Maribor.

The Municipality of Celje, in cooperation with Telekom Slovenije with partners Imovation and Nomago, has started the implementation of an ‘advanced central digital platform’ that will enable users to obtain all the necessary information for optimal use of means of transport.

Bojan Šrot, Mayor of the Municipality of Celje, adds: "In the Municipality of Celje, we pay great attention to the development of public space and services, and in recent years in particular [we have] also promoted sustainable mobility. In doing so, we are also taking advantage of modern technology for the development of smart cities. We will make it easier for citizens to use urban services more easily and continue to encourage them to have responsible and sustainable habits. I believe that with a single digital platform, interest in sustainable forms of mobility will grow. It is extremely important for Celje to relieve the city centre of motor traffic and thus to further improve air quality and living."

“The Municipality of Celje will use a single mobile application to allow remote parking charges, the use of public bike rental KolesCE and city passenger traffic CeleBUS and subsidised IJPP train/bus tickets,” says Andrej Prevc, Telekom Slovenije’s Project Director. “Services will be integrated gradually and a full set of solutions is expected to be in place by summer 2023.”

The platform offering services to citizens and visitors to Celje will provide up-to-the-minute information on the occupancy of car parks in the city to citizens and visitors at major attractions, and information will also be published on websites and via a mobile app.

“We want to contribute to the reduction of traffic in the Old Town,” says Prevc. “The single mobile app will also allow remote parking charges, the use of the KolesCE and Celebus, IJPP train/bus system, and so on. In doing so, we will also support a new loyalty programme that promotes the environmentally friendly mobility habits of citizens and visitors and the digital use of municipal services and related public institutions.”

We want to use advanced technologies to make life easier and decisions easier for citizens and to make the region (and the country) attractive for tourists
I believe that with a single digital platform, interest in sustainable forms of mobility will grow. It is extremely important for Celje to relieve the city centre of motor traffic and thus to further improve air quality and living

"With the introduction of an advanced and comprehensive solution of smart cities, Celje will be one of the most advanced and digitised cities, providing residents and visitors with a high level of digital services, thus contributing to a better quality and sustainable stay,” says Samo Turk, Director of Business Development at Telekom Slovenije. “Together with our partners, we will ensure that the digital transformation process is carried out as quickly and as easily and efficiently as possible.”

In terms of data collection, Prevc says that the first city in Slovenia to set up a proper Smart City project was Kranj (the third largest city), but the project didn't have the mobility focus of the cities that participated in this article series.

“They only had data collection focus and they didn't have a clearly defined use case. On the other hand Celje did it ‘properly’. They have clearly defined what kinds of use cases have to be supported in the system that is going to be established through partially European Union funds. This will see the establishment of a universal or central payment card with the great aim of green mobility enablement.”

Celje have clearly defined what kinds of use cases have to be supported in the system that is going to be established through partially European Union funds

SMART CITIES AS A SERVICE

Telekom Slovenije’s pivotal role in the burgeoning smart city sector is hardly a secret but, says Prevc, what’s now being seen and used by the populace has been a long time coming.

“Initially we started with pilot projects quite some time ago in this area. We began with the idea to prepare very various kinds of services for Smart Cities as a Service. We were trying to make it easy for the cities, and for Slovenia. There are a lot of small municipalities: in a country of 2 million people we have 212 municipalities and it’s those municipalities that have issues with manpower and competencies for running such projects, which are something new, something challenging because it's not an established technology.

“It's always a combination of infrastructure, software and artificial intelligence tools and so we wanted to make a package particular to us. We want to use advanced technologies to make life easier and decisions easier for citizens and to make the region (and the country) attractive for tourists. And of course,” he adds, “we are also taking part in what I would call the green transition, helping municipalities comply with the new green agenda. They start with small initiatives and they can increase them in size with our help.”

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