Xiong'an — Welcome to the city of the future

New area enters next stage of high-quality development

By ZHENG JINRAN in Xiong'an New Area and ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-02 07:08
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Tourists visit the Xiong'an exhibition hall in Hebei in March. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

Digital roads

About 20 such vehicles are running on routes connecting residential communities, major parks and transportation hubs in Rongdong district. The successful operation of these autonomous vehicles relies heavily on the construction of digital roads.

Rongdong is the first district to complete comprehensive digital road construction in Xiong'an New Area, according to the government.

Along its 153 kilometers of roads including main, secondary and branch roads, and alleys, have been installed multifunction information poles, laser radars, electronic toll cameras and other sensing devices, as well as supporting intelligent equipment to monitor the roads and transmit and analyze data.

More districts including Xiongdong, Rongxi and a startup area will also introduce digital roads, making the total length of such roads more than 500 kilometers in Xiong'an New Area, the government website said.

City traffic data obtained from various sources such as the sensing devices, will be brought together in a unified platform for integration and display. The Digital Road Intelligent Operation Center utilizes big data analysis and algorithms to address problems in traffic management, according to China Telecom Digital City Technology, the operating company.

"The center will utilize algorithm models to optimize signal-light timing to improve vehicle movement efficiency and reduce traffic congestion," said Feng Shuntian, head of the company's intelligent transportation products division. The center's data analysis might also help traffic management departments to have a better understanding of traffic flow, and make advance preparations and scheduling arrangements, Feng added.

Digital roads and the intelligent operation center have presented effective solutions for Xiong'an to address traffic problems, one of the drawbacks of "big city malaise" that the area was designed to solve.

The establishment of Xiong'an New Area — located about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing — was announced in April 2017. The flagship project was intended to relieve Beijing of nonessential capital city functions and advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Xiong'an New Area has built a digital twin city, which mainly operates in the Xiong'an Urban Computing Center. Since it began operations at the end of 2022, it has offered network, computing and storage services for big data, blockchain and the internet of things. The Digital Road Intelligent Operation Center is also part of the twin city, said the operating company Xiong'an Cloud Network Technology.

"In the process of construction, Xiong'an needs to introduce a large amount of information-based management methods like digital roads, and the data generated by these methods can be aggregated and integrated in the center, which will provide city management with a more scientific basis for governance," said Wang Yudong, deputy general manager of the company.

For example, if a residential building catches fire, the city-operations inspection platform immediately calculates the coverage area, affected people and key areas, and then provides the best route for firetrucks to access the fire and checks nearby water pressure.

Wang said with the permission of a family, the center can also monitor the water utilization of elderly people who live alone. "Once no water use is detected in certain hours, an automatic alert is sent to community volunteers who check on the elderly people," he said, adding it's just one of the applications that uses the data.

"We can better serve the people and the city with various types of smart-city management applications," he said.

Feng, from the digital road intelligent operator, said his company had developed a non-motor vehicle behavior monitoring system in Cangzhou, Hebei, by using algorithms and big data technology. The system can detect other road users such as electric scooters.

"The Xiong'an New Area serves as a testing ground, where we pioneer initiatives and gradually inspire neighboring areas to embark on smart city construction," said Hu Junjun, head of the company's research and development department.

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