Mission 4
A Mobile & Sustainable City

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Use technology and innovation to improve the city’s transport infrastructure and support Cardiff in becoming a low carbon city.

The city is expected to grow exponentially over the next 20 years. This growth will put pressure on the city’s transport and energy infrastructure as well as its natural environment. Cardiff needs to ensure that the impacts of population growth are managed in a sustainable manner whilst ensuring that people can easily move around the Capital. Cardiff has a target of achieving a 50:50 modal split by 2026 (i.e. 50% of journeys to be made by sustainable transport). To help achieve this target Cardiff needs to adopt smart technologies. These technologies will enable us to effectively manage the network, tackle air pollution, prioritise public transport and active travel provision, influence travel behaviour and provide data that will help us plan better.

Smart city approaches could also make Cardiff more sustainable – Understanding how people move, how energy is consumed, and how resources flow, can allow for better management of infrastructure, improve efficiency and reduce wastage. Bins can be collected when they are full; smart grids can balance energy supply and demand; lights can shine when and where people actually need them.

Digitisation of products and services can bring less demand for resources and fewer journeys. Just as Spotify replaces the trip to buy a physical CD, online learning allows the teaching to come to the student.

Smart city tools, can also enable more sustainable behaviours. Digital platforms are supporting the sharing economy – car clubs, co-working, and peer-to-peer exchange. Navigation Apps are designed to make walking or cycling options easier, which aims to encourage more sustainable choices.

To ensure we keep Cardiff moving and grow more sustainably Cardiff is proposing the following initiatives:

Cardiff’s highway networks are like those in many cities in the UK – they get congested, especially at peak times. Traffic congestion has many different social, economic and environmental consequences including frustration, delays, reduced leisure time, increased fuel consumption and increased emissions which can affect the air that we breathe.

In order to reduce congestion and keep Cardiff moving we will take an iterative approach to traffic management. This will involve using parts of the network as ‘living labs’ where we can test, optimise and demonstrate how smart roads can be designed and maintained before they are rolled out city wide. We will ensure that we choose flexible solutions which are able to adapt to changing travel plans and strategies so that we meet the needs of the city in the future.

We will investigate how travel behaviour in the city could be changed by using a process known
as gamification to encourage people to move around the city differently by offering incentives. Gamification uses parts of games to encourage certain behaviours by providing motivation and incentives. Other cities have used gamification to reduce congestion in the city. We will also explore how real-time information can be used to inform motorists of travel disruption through websites, apps and variable message signs.


  • Work with other UK cities to share ‘traffic management’ best practice and investigate how they have improved public transport and enabled people to walk and cycle around their cities safely and easily.
  • Set up ‘living labs’ which can be used to test, optimise and demonstrate ‘smart’ technology before they are rolled out city wide.
  • Research how external data sources can be used to ‘add value’ to the highways network.
  • Investigate technology which can prioritise public transport provision in the city.
  • Explore how we can be more effective with real time traffic information to ensure accurate and up to date information is conveyed to motorists.
  • Explore how gamification can influence mobility behavior.
  • Formulate a strategy for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
  • Investigate integrated ticketing systems for Cardiff and the wider region.

An artist’s interpretation of how Cardiff’s new bus Interchange will look.

An artist’s interpretation of how Cardiff’s new bus Interchange will look.

Autonomous vehicle trials have taken place in various Cities around the UK. There is no certainty around what the future holds for autonomous vehicles but it is fair to say that we do not see fully autonomous vehicles becoming a reality within the lifetime of this roadmap. However, connected vehicles which allow vehicles to communicate information are already available. Through deployment of roadside equipment, connected vehicles are able to send and receive information. This information can be used to supply useful information to a vehicle to help the driver make more informed decisions. Data can also be communicated to transport departments which enables them to address real-time conditions such as traffic flow.

Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to increase car dependency and if this is not managed correctly it could undermine our efforts to increase walking, cycling and the use of public transport provision in the Capital. However, it is important that we are pragmatic with our approach to autonomous vehicles as they could bring benefits to the city particularly around public transport provision and safety.

Over the next few years we will investigate the impacts that this innovative technology could have on the city. We will look to investigate how autonomous vehicles will change travel behaviour in the city and explore the potential interaction these vehicles would have with walkers, cyclists and traditional vehicles. We will also attempt to determine what physical and digital infrastructure requirements would be needed to facilitate autonomous vehicles so Cardiff is ready when autonomous vehicles become a reality.


  • Investigate digital infrastructure requirements for autonomous and connected vehicles.
  • Explore the possibility of setting up an autonomous vehicle test bed.
  • Explore how we could make use of the data that is obtained from connected vehicles.
  • Investigate the impact that autonomous vehicles would have on behaviour in the city.
  • Investigate if physical infrastructure would have to change to support autonomous vehicles.

Cardiff has already embarked on adding smart street lighting to its strategic routes which has helped with reducing energy costs and emissions. The smart street lights also have the capability to be fitted with extra sensors which could be used to gain valuable insight about the city.

There is continued growth in demand for smart buildings, infrastructure and workspaces. These areas includes technologies such as desk occupancy monitoring, building information modelling (BIM), sensing technology and intelligent lighting systems. These technologies generally focus on providing a better understanding of the physical environment and provide data insights. Smarter infrastructure has the potential to give us a better understanding of the city and provide more comfortable and efficient spaces and environments for employees, residents, commuters and visitors. However, we accept that it is generally more difficult to retrofit this type of technology into existing buildings but smarter infrastructure needs to be considered in our new buildings and when buildings are due to be refurbished.

We will look to investigate the use of sensors in our smart street lights and look to transform our building assets into more energy efficient buildings. We will change the way we use energy data to optimise comfort and efficiencies in our buildings.


  • Look for opportunities to deploy smart infrastructure in new buildings and during refurbishment of existing buildings.
  • Use technology to real-time monitor the environment to help make improvements to our streets and spaces.
  • Work with Cardiff University to create a smart model of the City which has the ability to use and visualise city data to remotely control certain city management systems.
  • Expand coverage of smart lighting into residential streets and investigate the use of street lighting sensor technology to gather data about the urban environment.
  • Expand coverage of our real time air quality monitoring devices.

Smart Meters – Improving energy use within council buildings

Cardiff Councils Energy Management Department are using energy data (gas and electricity) obtained from smart meters in order to use energy more efficiently across our Council Buildings. The Energy Management Team identify unusual energy usage and work with their facilities management partners to optimise energy usage in our building stock.

Our Energy and Facilities Management Team have already delivered a range of projects that deliver significant improvements across our building stock, including:

  • automatic meter readers on the vast majority of gas and electricity supplies
  • the installation of more efficient LED lighting at a number of sites
  • increased generation of renewable energy through the installation of roof-mounted solar PV
  • boiler replacement programmes, including the addition of centrally linked smart controls

As Cardiff grows, the generation and storage of renewable energy will be key to improving the resilience of the city and its natural resources to the potential impacts of climate change. More people, more businesses, and more homes will lead to an increase in the demand for energy. Cardiff will need to invest in energy infrastructure and zero/low carbon alternatives in order to keep up with the demands of the city.

Welsh Government have set out their ambitions to make the Welsh public sector carbon neutral by 2030. We will explore opportunities which have a positive impact on the environment, which reduce energy costs and stimulates the low carbon economy in Wales.

We will investigate the use of renewable energy sources, battery storage initiatives and take steps to have better controls of energy management systems. The uptake of zero/low emission electric vehicles is set to increase rapidly in the UK and it is important that Cardiff has the necessary infrastructure in place to make them an attractive alternative to petrol and diesel vehicles.

New, innovative, more efficient energy infrastructure solutions are becoming available on a daily basis so we need to fully understand the costs and benefits of deploying smart energy infrastructure.


  • Expand the use of Building Energy Management Systems (BMS/BEMS) and increase the understanding and use of the data gained from these systems.
  • Investigate the use of battery storage within schools and other public buildings so that renewable energy or more off-peak power can be stored onsite and used during peak periods.
  • Complete work on the 8.7MW Lamby Way Solar Farm and look to maximise storage and use of the electricity generated at certain times of the day.
  • Deliver publicly accessible electric vehicle charge points in areas across the city.
  • Deliver electric charging infrastructure at key council sites to support the adoption of zero/low emission Council fleet vehicles.
  • Look to deliver a district heating network that has the ability to heat public and commercial buildings.

Cardiff Council is currently undertaking work to complete a renewable energy development at Lamby Way. The development will involve the installation of 30,688 individual solar panels (ground mounted) with an expected output of 8.7 megawatts (MW).

Energy generated from the solar farm will be sold to a near-by business, the National Grid and potentially utilised by our own assets. By 2030, 70% of all energy consumed in Wales has be to sourced from Welsh renewable energy generators.

Photo of Solar panels

Mission 5: A Healthy City

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