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Smart City Bench Promotes Citizen Engagement, Giving Tourists and Hikers WiFi in the Alps

Courmayeur, Aosta Valley, Italy

The Swiss Alps see thousands of citizens and visitors each year, often to remote locations. To increase safety and communication around traffic, trails, and conditions, a smart bench was installed on a popular trail, providing WiFi and information to curious hikers.

Topics Covered

Civic Technology
Digital Divide
Snow & Extreme Cold
Asset Management

Cost

Initial: 4.5 USD

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2019

Gov Champion

Non-profit local safety organization

Problem Addressed

Lacking wifi and communication in remote parts of the Alps, huts throughout the Courmayeur Municipality needed upgrades.

The Courmayeur Municipality and the Secure Mountain Foundation (an Italian nonprofit) manages a series of stone huts throughout the Alps. Seeing lots of visitors each year, the municipality discovered a need for wifi connectivity and better communication. They saw need for emergency call capabilities, a charging port, and overall comfortable space for hikers and skiers that use the huts as stopping points. The remote stone hut in La Casermetta can be found deep in the Alps. Because of its remoteness, it has historically been very hard to track the hut’s usage to inform staffing and maintenance and provide internet connectivity critical for safety.

Solutions Used

The municipality installed a bench at a key hut, allowing them to record the number of visitors each year and increase connectivity.

The Courmayeur Municipality and the Secure Mountain Foundation worked with Canavisia to airlift a smart bench to the Casermetta stone hut (elevation 8,645 feet!) This project allows the Courmayeur municipality and the Secure Mountain Foundation to record the number of people using the Le Casermetta stone hut during the year. This data will be used to validate when municipal employees or Secure Mountain Foundation volunteers should be deployed to the stone hut during times of peak visitations.

The smart bench is connected to the internet. It provides: data collection on people traffic, data collection on environment conditions, night lighting, hot spot wi-fi, wireless USB charging, and audio with built-in speakers. Citizens can use their mobile device to log into the bench and download detailed information about the mountain, such as; trails, directional information, guides on climbing or hiking or anything the municipality would like available to the citizens or tourists.

Outcomes

1

Hikers and tourists can now discover new information about hiking, climbing, and exploring the Alps

2

WiFi connectivity allows visitors access to safe communication in case of emergency

3

Historical data of hut traffic and visitation, crucial for volunteer deployment

4

Better understanding of peak hours and volunteer deployment needs given traffic

Who Should Consider

Cities and park departments looking to better track foot traffic and increase availability of emergency services with WiFi.

Last Updated

Mar 14th, 2022
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