Some 96% of respondents to a survey on smart cities said they were not aware of any smart city initiatives being run by their council and nearly a quarter (23%) were unclear on any one main benefit.
The survey from communications firm Arqiva with public opinion research company YouGov asked 2,070 adults in the UK to look back over the last year at smart city developments.
Smart cities use an 'intelligent infrastructure' including remote sensors and ubiquitous wireless internet, to enhance the performance of buildings, energy consumption, healthcare and transport to reduce costs and engage with citizens more effectively. In recent years, Milton Keynes, Kent and Bristol have become test beds for smart city initiatives covering local health, waste and transport services led by their respective councils.
But despite increasing investment in smart city initiatives, including funding competitions run by the governments technology strategy unit InnovateUK, almost half of the respondents said that they did not think smart cities would become a reality for another five years.
Arqivas business development director of smart metering and M2M, Sean Weir, said in a statement: There seems to be a dire lack of understanding of the progress and impact being made by the UKs cities. Without the proper support these initiatives will die on their feet, so far greater communication is needed on what exactly is happening and why people should care.
The most commonly identified problem for cities was traffic congestion (57% of respondents), although this was also considered by 33% as a priority for smart technology spending. Parking was found to be the second biggest problem (43%), but only 7% saw this as a priority.
More positively, although somewhat incongruously, over a third (37%) of 18-24 year-old respondents claimed to be "passionate" about their nearest city becoming smart.
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