Recap: LiDAR on the Tay Road Bridge

Digiflec's seminar on Tay Road Bridge showcased LiDAR and 5G for urban planning in Dundee, emphasising traffic management and smart city benefits. Experts discussed challenges and future opportunities.
Tay Road Bridge


On 28 February, Digiflec hosted an online seminar where we demonstrated how we apply LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) smart city technologies to the Tay Road Bridge in Dundee.

The online seminar was joined by a diverse panel consisting of:

  • Steven Gillan, Director, Digiflec,
  • Andre Tapadinhas, Geospatial Analyst, Digiflec,
  • Doug Young, Development Officer, Dundee City Council and Tay5G,
  • Jack Waland, Technical Delivery Manager, Scotland 5G Centre,
  • Alan Hutchison, Bridge Manager, Tay Road Bridge.

It was chaired by Maddie Kortenaar, strategic advisor at Digiflec.

This session allowed us to walk through the integration of LiDAR and 5G technologies in urban management and planning. We touched on the Tay Cities Deal and the Tay 5G Programme, showing how these initiatives reshape urban functionality.

We started the online seminar by diving into the Tay Cities Deal and the Tay 5G Programme, emphasising the push towards engaging various sectors with 5G technology. This effort is about transforming urban spaces into smarter, more responsive environments. From esports to the Internet of Things (IoT), the broad applications of 5G are poised to revolutionise how cities operate, enhancing efficiency and liveability.

We highlighted Dundee’s role as a frontrunner in this transformation, with its top-tier 5G networks laying the groundwork for research, development, and real-world applications. The Dundee 5G project emerged as a standout example of innovation, providing a glimpse into the future of urban connectivity and its wide-ranging impacts on city life.

LiDAR: Revolutionising infrastructure traffic management

We dedicated a significant part of the online seminar to exploring LiDAR technology’s capabilities. Known for its precision and movement detection, LIDAR is becoming an essential tool in traffic management, asset management, and urban planning. Its ability to gather high-resolution data enables accurate 3D mapping and object classification, which is crucial for more effective urban space management.

We highlighted the practical uses of LIDAR on the Tay Road Bridge, illustrating how this technology can enhance traffic flow, monitor vehicle sizes, and detect vulnerable individuals on the bridge. Integrating LIDAR with 5G connectivity, we are opening new avenues for real-time data analysis and decision-making, demonstrating the transformative potential of these technologies for urban infrastructure.

Addressing challenges and seizing opportunities

While at Digiflec, we are excited about these advancements, we also discussed the challenges of scaling up. The panel discussed cost, security, and resilience in deploying multiple sensors and managing large data volumes. However, they concluded that the benefits of a controlled, data-driven approach to urban management far outweigh these challenges.

We also emphasised the importance of data for asset management and strategic planning, showing how technology is crucial for understanding and optimising urban space use. For example, analysing vehicle crossing data can significantly influence infrastructure maintenance decisions, budgeting, and urban design.

Looking forward

Our online seminar concluded with a forward-looking view on digital technologies’ role in creating sustainable, efficient, and people-centred cities. By integrating smart city technologies and LIDAR, as seen on the Tay Road Bridge and in Dundee city centre, we are setting the stage for urban areas to evolve to meet 21st-century demands.

As cities continue to grow and face new challenges, the insights from our online seminar highlight the need for innovation and collaboration. Leveraging 5G and LiDAR capabilities, urban planners, policymakers, and technologists can collaborate to forge spaces that are not only smarter but also more inclusive and sustainable.

The journey towards smarter cities is just beginning, and the Tay Road Bridge project offers valuable lessons for local authorities and transport bodies looking to utilise modern technologies.

As we look to the future, integrating advanced technologies in urban management will undoubtedly play a key role in shaping tomorrow’s cities.

Interested in learning more about the project? Get in touch with our team.

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