Monday, 26 September 2011

Making Dublin a Smarter City

John Power and I visited Dublin City Council on Friday last for their celebration of 10 years as a CPD Accredited Engineering Employer with Engineers Ireland.

We were greeted by the Lord Mayor Cllr Andrew Montague and Michael Phillips City Engineer and Director of Traffic. The Keynote Speaker at the event was Minister of Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn introduced by Tom Leahy Executive Manager Engineering and CPD Director at Dublin City Council.

There was a very impressive Public Exhibition in the Atrium of City Hall of the role that Engineering and in particular that Engineers play in maintaining the lives of the citizens of Dublin. So much of it taken as a given by the general public, except when things go wrong. What would happen if our Engineers failed to produce clean water in our taps, sufficient water quantity and pressure to fight fires, prevent flooding in our streets after heavy rain or high tides, ensure traffic flow, maintain adequate street lighting at night, safe roads and bridges, waste recycling and the overall emergency services.  Also on display, was a most detailed and impressive model of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) that was used in the construction of the Dublin Port Tunnel (2001 - 2006) at an overall cost of €750millon.

The exhibition wasn’t only about the 'present' in Dublin but about the 'future' also. Innovation Dublin is a showcase of future municipal services automation in partnership with IBM to make Dublin more 'resource efficient' and a Smarter City.

Dublin sees itself as a Sustainable City and Dublin City Council sees itself as that Agent for Change in terms of Sustainability. This is expressed in terms of 6 specific objectives - Urban Form, Movement, Economic/Jobs, Social, Cultural and Environmental. All contribute to a modern design-led New Urban Space that is Dublin.

There are ambitious infrastructural plans for the future of Dublin including finding a new major water supply river source, city centre district heating from a new waste to energy plant and a tidal barrage at the mouth of the Liffey if or when there is increased flooding due to climate change effects.

From Left to Right: Michael Philips Director of Traffic & City Engineer Dublin City Council,
John Power Director General Engineers Ireland, Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague, 
PJ Rudden President of Engineers Ireland, Minister for Education and Science Ruairi Quinn, T.D
and Tom Leahy Executive Manager, Engineering Department Dublin City Council.

Gerry O'Connell of the CPD Team kindly gave me a visit to the Traffic Control Centre from where all signalling at Junctions in the city is controlled using CCTV and traffic models to comply with the City Traffic Management Plan, and are all connected to our local radio stations around the city - Another 24/7 operation overseen by engineers.

I had a special interest in all of this because my first job after my graduation was with the Water Department of Dublin City Council as Graduate Engineer. I worked for 3 years in the principal water treatment plant at Ballymore Eustace firstly as a Graduate then as Executive Engineer where I gained my first valuable engineering and industrial relations experience as that too was a 24/7 operation to produce a sufficient supply of clean and safe drinking water at all times.

I left Dublin City Council feeling that it was in good engineering hands with Michael Phillips, Tom Leahy and their staff. They do a terrific job in keeping all of the services in the City running.

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