DANANG – Intelligent technology solutions that provide a backbone for addressing traffic congestion and developing tourism are factors Danang should focus on to become a smart city, said Finnish experts.
The Embassy of Finland in Vietnam and Danang government held a conference on cooperation in smart city development on March 21 in the central coast city on the occasion of the Vietnam visit by a delegation of Finnish officials and businesses, mainly from Turku City.
Timo Hintsanen, director of Urban Planning in Turku, said there are six pillars to develop a city, including sustainable development, public security, digital government, smart education and healthcare, smart transport and smart tourism. Two factors that Danang should prioritize are smart traffic management system and waste treatment.
Speaking to the Daily on the sidelines of the conference, Hintsanen said the Vietnamese city is struggling with traffic congestion. The problem has worsened as the number of vehicles, especially cars, in circulation is increasing.
“The city should consider our Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solution which treats traffic like a service and calls for private investment in traffic development,” Hintsanen said.
He suggested Danang call on the people to travel by bus, taxi or plane for a single monthly fee and develop ride-sharing app to reduce private vehicles on the road.
Heikki Riitahuhta, founder of Studio Puisto, said Danang should focus on smart tourism by implementing smart solutions that make tourists feel convenient while traveling, booking rooms or using catering and entertainment services. When tourists feel comfortable and get treated like native people, they shall come back to the city.
Nguyen Quang Thanh, director of the Danang Department of Information and Communications, said he highly appreciated these suggestions. According to Thanh, Danang started a scheme in 2003 to transform itself into a smart city, and has learned from the models of many countries, including Finland.
The city is facing many challenges, especially policies and financing. Danang is still a middle-income city while developing into a smart city requires large investments.
Some laws in Vietnam are obstructing Danang’s transformation into a smart city. A smart healthcare system requires sufficient information on patients to be collected and shared between hospitals. However, the 2016 Law on Access to Information prevents hospitals and healthcare centers from doing so.
Speaking to the Daily after the conference, Marko Saarinen, Counselor and Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Finland in Vietnam, said there will be mutual visits by officials of Turku and Danang in the coming time to discuss specific cooperation.