Intelligent street lighting, tablets for school classes and free (digital) services
Interview

Smart mayor, smart city

In 2009, he was elected as the youngest mayor in the history of German state North Rhine-Westphalia. Five years later, he was re-elected with 94.64 percent of the vote. Today, Daniel Zimmermann, the 35-year-old Mayor of Monheim am Rhein, has managed to significantly reduce trade taxes while increasing city revenue tenfold. The city maintains cash reserves of more than 100 million euros, although it has been investing heavily in smart city projects, for example.

Mr. Zimmermann, intelligent street lights, a citywide broadband network for everyone, tablets in public schools, and a paperless city council. What are your smart city plans for 2018?

We will be installing a citywide high-speed Wi-Fi network throughout the entire metropolitan area. Every resident and visitor in our city will be able to surf the internet for free.

Speaking of free... Monheim am Rhein has the money to offer services to its residents free of charge. Will this continue into the future?

We plan to develop even more free services as part of our smart city activities. For example, a city bicycle network will be ready this year. Residents will be able to borrow standard bicycles as well as e-bikes, transport bikes, and children’s bicycles. The details are still being worked out. Our goal, however, is to be able to offer this service to residents for about five hours per week at no charge.

Is this service part of a larger project?

Yes. We want to provide every resident in the city with a Monheim Pass. These cards will be sent out to everyone automatically with no need to request one. Residents will be able to use their card to borrow bicycles and access the city library. The ultimate goal is for residents to be able to manage all of their city services on the go by using this card. In this respect, the pass can also function as a debit card.

And what about plans for 2019?

We will continue towards becoming a smart city. And we have plenty of ideas to keep us busy. I don’t have any specifics to share currently. Generally, though, we will be focusing on parks, traffic management, and other services that residents will be able to take advantage of using their Monheim Pass.

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