As the host city for the 3rd Smarter Together General Assembly, Sofia, Bulgaria had the opportunity to present the city and its work as a Follower City. In a previous article, Sofia’s work to promote the use of electric vehicles and build up its charging infrastructure was highlighted, but this is only a part of the work being done.
Sofia has a population of 1.3 million people and residents take an average of 485 million trips on public transportation yearly. The city features a transport network of 1,650 km with 813 vehicles servicing the 117 surface lines and 2 underground metro lines. Currently, the city has high public transport usage and low personal vehicle ownership, with 515 cars for every 1000 inhabitants. The number of personal cars is increasing and the city is working to increase the number of electric vehicles and corresponding infrastructure as well as encouraging public transport use.
As part of its smart city strategy, Sofia has joined the Covenant of Mayors, instituted an innovation strategy, and developed an air quality programme as well as a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). Smarter Together Follower Cities also work to replicate the successes of the project’s Lighthouse Cities and Sofia has taken inspiration from all three of these cities in its work and future plans.
Sofia, is working on holistic restoration of both public and residential buildings with a focus on building envelopes and the integration of renewable energy sources. The city is also developing an information system to monitor and analyse energy usage with an eye on energy savings to demonstrate to stakeholders the value of these efforts. Work also includes a feasibility study to look at increasing the use of photovoltaic systems within the project area..
The work Sofia has done within the framework of Smarter Together is improving the lives of residents and making the city smarter and more sustainable for the future.