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Warsaw focuses on innovation. Priorities include the virtual Warsaw project, the extension of the second metro line and the city bike

– We focus on several areas where the city wants to improve its social, economic and environmental parameters-says Michał Olszewski, deputy mayor of the capital city of Warsaw. “Innovation is very important in this process because, above all, it allows many effects to be achieved cheaper, faster or at much lower social costs.

As Michał Olszewski explains, in a rapidly changing reality, innovation is necessary to improve the quality of life of the population. Sometimes these investments entail certain obstacles, but they are temporary and serve long-term goals.

– I would be lying if I said what innovations we will implement next year, because the market of technologies, solutions and expectations of the population are so variable that probably next year we will talk about other projects that we want to do in Warsaw-says Olszewski.

At the same time, he adds that the transformation of the city into a smart city is a long-term project, which can not be realized in a year or two years. The priority for Warsaw is urban transport and mobility. As Olszewski points out, this is not a problem of the Polish capital, but of all cities in Europe.

– It is a cross-cutting problem-from spatial planning to technological solutions, but in the end everything ends with infrastructure-explains the deputy president of Warsaw. “It is impossible today to talk about Polish cities and innovations in Polish cities without talking about massive infrastructure spending. We want this infrastructure to be innovative too, like Inspiro trains, which have very low energy consumption.

Such investments as the Capital Metro and the Pomeranian metropolitan railway in Tri-City are actions that improve the living comfort of residents and attract investors to the cities. Work on the expansion of the second metro line will be one of the most important tasks of the authorities of the capital in 2016. At the end of October this year, the Warsaw metro chose the offer of the Italian company Astaldi and the Turkish company Gülermak, the contractors of the central section, for the expansion in the 3+3 variant (three stations in each direction). However, other companies applying for the contract appealed the decision to the national board of Appeal. According to the schedule, the extension of the second line should be completed in 2019.

Another priority of the Warsaw authorities will be the city bike. The bicycle rental system, which has been in operation since 2012, is becoming increasingly popular-recently there were 6 million rentals, and the number of bicycles in the Veturilo system already exceeds 3 thousand. Next year, the contract with the existing operator expires, so the city plans a new tender, and with it the introduction of several innovations into the system.

– We have a whole package of projects to improve the quality of urban space, to build so-called local centers. This project also starts next year. Next year will be fruitful in dozens of new ventures-promises Michał Olszewski. – Another important thing for Warsaw are projects from the area of beacons, such as virtual Warsaw.

It is one of the first systems to use beacons, miniature transmitters, key elements of the internet of things, on such a large scale. The aim of this implementation is to improve communication both in the city and in individual buildings. Thanks to a special application for mobile phones, users of the system will be able, for example, to remotely take a place in the queue, and the system will guide them step by step to the designated location. Virtual Warsaw is also intended to make it easier for people with disabilities and tourists to move around the city and offices.

“This is a project that is maturing more and more from month to month and will be fully perfect in 2017-2018,” says Michał Olszewski.

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