Image by Elijah G


Pilot Lead: Informatie Vlaanderen

Flanders is an urbanised region with a network of close related cities surrounded by urbanised municipalities, considered as one single smart region of 6 million people. The Smart Flanders network brings together 13 major Flemish cities and the Flanders region as a learning network and has the ambition to create the necessary scale at Regional and National level for smart city solution- and data providers. A Flanders Digital Twin will play a crucial role to open and democratise available Smart City data to citizens, companies and service providers and to use the available (government) data for co-creative policymaking. 

Flanders together with Smart Flanders network has a number of common goals for Digital Twin use: (1) Creating a Smart Region where all involved players can access available services and data; (2) Support cross-silo cooperation between sectors; (3) Involve citizens and companies active in policy-making processes to improve the quality of decision making and acceptance of the outcomes; (4) Setting up transferable services and data standards to maximise efficiency and open the market.

The Flanders DUET Digital Twin will concentrate on the design of new measures, implementation of actions and evaluation of the success of actions as foreseen in for example Flanders Regional Mobility Plan, and the Flanders Environment Plan20 which aims both for smoother mobility through actions that are kinder to the environment and reduces the impact on human health. These regional plans are translated to specific measures on the local level that can be part of a DUET Digital Twin simulation.

Currently Flanders is a European hot spot for air pollution, alternatives to car transport have been put in place to increase the daily level of physical activity (PA) among the population and reduce air pollution and global warming. To evaluate the impact of existing measures and to help create new ones Flanders will use the Digital Twin to ingest and use vast amounts of data to help the city and its stakeholders explore correlations between the  mobility, health and air data.

Flanders and Informatie Vlaanderen, have more than 20 years of experience in building e-Gov and geospatial services to support (web-based) processes based on open standards. Realising a Smart Digital Twin will integrate new and existing silo over-arching services and solutions on a demand-driven way and will deliver: (a) A Smart City Cloud for Flanders combining big data sources as a basis for creating a smart region based on regionally available (open) and (big) data sources; (b) A Smart and Transferable Digital Twin.  By focusing on well-defined cross-silo topics, the Flanders pilot will scrutinise how transferability can be achieved by using a combination of International, National and Regional datasets together with standardised local datasets using the EU based OSLO semantic standards. These standards are key to ensure sustainability between all partners. The Flanders pilot has the ambition to create transferable Digital Twins useful for the 13 Flemish cities based on regional and National sensor networks based on International Open Standards and a vendor agnostic and scalable API based knowledge graph. (c) Integrated Policymaking, Co-creation and Public Involvement. The way the Flanders Digital Twin will become available to professional users, and the public will be part of a co-creation process. Flanders will test the use of a Digital Twin for co-creating new policies with citizens and businesses. (d) Cross Sector Working (Smart City Market). An open Digital Twin platform must lead to an innovative cross-silo and cross-sector smart city approach in Flanders. An open and secure accessible infrastructure combining datasets, data services, HPC/AI models must allow third parties to link initiatives to the Digital Twin and make them available for the Flemish market and beyond. (e) Effective policies and Happier Stakeholders: Services and policies will be more open and transparent. People will be able to understand why decisions were made.  Progress towards delivering the Regional Mobility Plan will be enhanced through more systemic, cross-party/sector decisions.