Lunch with Taipei Mayor Chiang
The ECCT arranged a Premium Event lunch with Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-An (蔣萬安) and senior officials from the Taipei City Government. The annual roundtable lunch has become an annual tradition since it was first held in 1998. At the event, the mayor gave a short speech after which Chao Shih-Lung, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology (DOIT, 資訊局 趙式隆局長) gave a presentation on Taipei’s development as a smart city. This was followed by a Q&A session with Mayor Chiang, moderated by Tim Berge, Co-chair of the ECCT’s Better Living committee. The event concluded with lunch with the mayor and city government officials, who were seated at different tables in order to receive feedback and exchange ideas with members.
The following officials from the Taipei City Government attended the lunch: Dr Tang Chih-Min, Commissioner, Department of Education (教育局 湯志民局長); Chen Chun-An, Commissioner, Department of Economic Development (產業發展局 陳俊安局長); Hsieh Ming-Hong, Commissioner, Department of Transportation (交通局 謝銘鴻局長); Yao Shu-Wen, Commissioner, Department of Social Welfare (社會局 姚淑文局長); Dr Chen Yen-Yuan, Commissioner, Department of health (衛生局 陳彥元局長); Wu Sheng-Chung, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection (環境保護局 吳盛忠局長); Dr Eric Yu (Chen-Hua), Chairperson of Researcher, Development, and Evaluation Commission (研究發展考核委員會 俞振華主任委員); Chao Shih-Lung, Commissioner, Department of Information Technology (資訊局 趙式隆局長); Yin Wei, Advisor to the Mayor (殷瑋顧問); Gordon Yang, Counselor for International and Mainland Affairs (楊慶輝參事); Hsu Min-Chuan, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Civil Affairs (民政局 許敏娟副局長); Chen Hui-Chi, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Labor (勞動局 陳惠琪副局長); Jian Se-Fang, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Urban Development (都市發展局 簡瑟芳副局長); Chang Hua-Chen, Director, Taipei City Public Transportation Office (公共運輸處 常華珍處長); Yu Chi-Hsuch, Director, Taipei City Construction Management Office (建築管理工程處 虞積學處長); Sandra Hsu, Consultant, Department of Education (Office of Bilingual Education, 教育局雙語辦公室 徐雅鐘教學顧問) and Chen Hai-Chin, Chief, International Affairs Division, Secretariat (秘書處國際事務組 陳海青組長).
In his speech, Mayor Chiang said that he welcomed feedback from the ECCT on any matter aimed at making the city more attractive and liveable. He reported that he had already held a meeting with the chamber’s Low Carbon Initiative where they agreed to collaborate on ways to reduce the city’s carbon emissions on the path towards net zero by 2050. He also said that he would take the chamber’s suggestions into consideration when devising policies for electric vehicles, as well as social issues. He noted that the city is already cooperating with five sister cities in Europe and is open to expanding its cooperation further in Europe. He concluded by saying that Taipei will be hosting a number of events for international visitors and specifically invited ECCT members to the forthcoming Smart City Expo and Summit (to be held at the end of March), which will be one of the largest events to be held in Asia.
In his presentation, Commissioner Chao spoke about using the entire city as a living lab to test and embrace innovation and utilising innovative technology to enhance government efficiency and improve the quality of life of the city’s residents.
In order to develop Taipei as a sustainable and liveable city, the DOIT established the Taipei Smart City Project Management Office (TPMO) in 2016 to develop and guide Taipei’s smart city initiative. The objective is to promote public-private partnership to introduce innovative solutions for solving urban needs. Through Proof of Concept (PoC) projects, the city provides opportunities for private sector players to introduce their solutions to the city government directly. By providing a test field to the private sector, city departments receive proof of concept demonstration free of charge. Since there is no upfront financial cost to the city, officials are more open to new ideas and innovation. According to Chao, over the past five years, the city departments have facilitated over 290 projects involving more than 500 stakeholders.
Taipei’s Smart City framework has been adjusted to make it more dynamic and responsive to the changing needs of residents. This framework consists of smart buildings, smart transportation, smart education, smart health, smart environment, smart security and smart economy. For each smart field, a steering group is organized by the assigned hosting department and the executive secretaries from TPMO are responsible for overseeing and communicating the progress of the PoC projects.
A smart field solicitation is conducted once a year during which the city government asks the private sector to submit potential solutions to various problems. However, the private sector can submit their proposed solutions at any time during the year.
In terms of green transportation, Taipei’s YouBike system has over 17,000 bicycles and 914 YouBike stations while the U-motor e-scooter sharing system has over 13,000 scooters. So far there are 281 chargers for electric vehicles at 107 of the city’s parking lots. The city’s smart parking docks integrate vehicle detection, license plate recognition, and multiple payment solutions.
In terms of education, the “Taipei CooC-Cloud” learning platform has, since its establishment in 2016, launched over 10,000 online learning videos and 21 kinds of electronic databases, in an effort to provide parents, teachers and students with personalized and high-quality cloud learning services. Taipei CooC-Cloud has signed memorandums of understanding with 15 counties and cities across Taiwan to share the resources on the platform.
In an example of international collaboration, a French start-up company uses IoT technology to monitor the vibration and 3D deformation data of the Shizi bridge. The surveillance cameras also collect traffic flow and perform vehicle recognition data. Understanding how the bridge’s stability is affected under different environments and weather conditions can be helpful for the authority to enhance the quality of maintenance.
The city has introduced an innovative iTrash Smart Urban Integrated Waste Recycling service to encourage waste reduction and recycling by citizens. The system integrates cloud and IoT technologies to provide weight billing and recycling compensation which is accessible by using electronic cards (such as EasyCards). Given the initial success of the system, the city plans to expand it to more locations.
The city’s 5G smart poles are designed to assist the private sector to explore and formulate common standards, and verify the functions of smart lighting, traffic detection, charging piles, environmental detection and digital signage. The city’s Urban Intelligence Center aims to centralize and integrate city administration data from each functional operation centre.
In the Q&A session, mayor Ching answered questions from ECCT members. On a question about foreign talent, the mayor noted that foreign residents already regarded Taipei as a good place to live and work but that more could be done to solve issues related to education and traffic.
On creating a family friendly environment, the mayor noted that there are a number of subsidies and benefits available to Taipei citizens, including one-off payments to mothers after they have given birth, free health checks and a variety of subsidies for pre-school education, childcare, transport and vaccinations, among others.
On a question about the high price of housing in the city, the mayor acknowledged that this is a difficult problem to solve but the city is working to increase the amount of public housing available as well as speed up the process of urban renewal. Given that 72% of the city’s buildings are more than 30 years old (many poor quality low rise buildings without lifts), there is potential to redevelop areas of the city that will expand the amount and quality of housing available.
On a question about road safety, the mayor mentioned the ongoing efforts to make the city more friendly to pedestrians, such as widening pavements and cycling paths and, where this is not possible, painting portions of road’s green for pedestrians. Making roads safe for pedestrians is particularly important for areas around schools to make them safe for children to walk. Mayor Chiang also mentioned the ongoing expansion of the metro system in the greater Taipei area, which aims to get more people to use it and thereby reduce traffic congestion.