Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies with expertise in smart transportation technologies may find opportunities in this market.
Bulgaria is investing in digital technologies aimed at creating "smart cities" and turning the country into a center of smart mobility within the European Union (EU).
Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, and Gabrovo, about 100 miles away, are among 100 cities that have been chosen to participate in the EU’s Cities Mission project, with a goal of becoming climate-neutral smart cities by 2030.
In addition, Bulgaria and several of its cities are financing a digital transformation of their transportation systems. One project involves setting up an integrated mobility platform that can send real-time data for all modes of transportation; another project facilitates car sharing for electric vehicles.
In Sofia, a pilot project will allow city buses to collect information about traffic, road infrastructure, potholes, street signage, garbage cans, and street markings. Two city buses will be equipped with front-mounted cameras that will record their surroundings as they travel along their routes. The cameras can also emit signals alerting drivers when they get too close to a pedestrian, a street sign, or another vehicle, according to Smart Cities Connect.
Sofia was named the smart city of the year for southeastern Europe in 2022.
Burgas, on the Black Sea coast, launched its Intelligent Transport System in 2015 to make public transportation safer and more efficient. It includes integrated ticketing and video surveillance of the city’s public transit system.
Meanwhile, an ecosystem of smart city startups is emerging in Bulgaria. Sofia, Varna, and Plovdiv are currently the key startup cities. In addition, a 5G network became available in Bulgaria in September 2020 and now operates in 27 cities.
If Bulgaria is to achieve its smart mobility goals, the country will need assistance from industry experts. That creates opportunities for Wisconsin companies that specialize in real-time data analytics, Internet of Things solutions, or smart product development.