IBM announced the 16 winners of its 2015-2016 "Smarter Cities Challenge" program. Taichung City was selected for the theme to build "a smart livable city based on safe, people-oriented, green and intelligent transportation systems." Mayor Lin Jia-long announced the good news in a press conference on May 19, “Taichung City is the only city from Taiwan to win such an honor and I hope IBM experts can help us diagnose and improve traffic problems in Taichung.”
Taichung City Government formed a special team in January this year. Led by Mayor Lin as convener and Deputy Mayor Zhang Guang-yao (張光瑤) as deputy convener, the team which was composed of members from Research, Development and Evaluation Commission and the Transportation Bureau and other competent authorities, made a "traffic improvement" proposal to the IBM "Smarter Cities Challenge" program. Among the over 100 cities competing for the IBM sponsorship, 16 cities are selected, including Taichung City, Taiwan; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Melbourne, Australia; Denver, the USA; and Athens, Greece.
Mayor Lin said, “Taichung City has about 2.7 million people. An increase in population means Taichung has its attractiveness but we also have some problems in urban development. For example, traffic condition is one of the problems we are facing. To pursue further transformation of the city and improve its traffic condition, we have therefore made a proposal to the IBM 2015 Smarter Cities Challenge program. Our proposal is based on three core concepts, including safety, people orientation, and green. I am very glad we are the only winner city from Taiwan. It is really a great honor, and I hope IBM experts who have accumulated a great deal of experience can help diagnose and improve our traffic conditions in Taichung.”
“The transportation systems in a city are like the heart and blood vessels in a human body. It is important to make blood flow smoothly.” Mayor Lin added, “We have constructed traffic systems to link with four national freeways and many expressways in all directions. Also, we are planning to build three rings, namely the inner ring (provincial highway #74), the central ring (national highway), and the outer ring (West Coast Expressway). We are planning to combine the mountain rail lines with the coastal railways. In the future, we will link the rapid transit, light rail, bus systems, and public bicycle routes together, so that people can easily reach every concern of the city. That is what I call ‘smart power.’”
“I hope that IBM experts will help us build an intelligent Transportation Control Center,” said Mayor Lin, “so that we can instantly see where the accidents occur, which traffic light is broken, what routes our citizens shall take to avoid traffic congestion and immediate danger, and our crew can be sent immediately to solve any traffic problem. Our Police Bureau will move to Tanzi District in 2016 and I am thinking to set up the Transportation Control Center at the current office building of Police Bureau for traffic control, disaster prevention and relief functions.”
Jennifer Hwang (黃慧珠), General Manager, IBM Taiwan, said, “Competition is particularly fierce this year. More than 100 cities from over the world have joined the contest. IBM has selected Taichung City as a winner mainly due to strong commitment of Mayor Lin and aggressiveness of the city team.”
Jennifer Hwang also praised Taichung City as a very livable city in terms of transportation and location. “However, even a good city has many challenges to face,” added Jennifer Hwang. “Therefore, IBM will send 5 to 6 executives and industrial experts from different departments around the world to station in Taichung City for three weeks. They will be here to work closely with the city government team to tackle those challenges. I hope under the leadership of Mayor Lin, Taichung will become a world-class smart city.”