Debrecen Digital Literacy

László Mátyus : After fi nishing his master studies in Holland, he moved back to his hometown Debrecen. Besides management and economics, IT was his main interest ever since and has many years of experience in running multinational online  businesses. His goal is to aid Debrecen in becoming a leading Smart City within Europe and with smart solutions improve the quality of life of its citizens. Loves outdoor activities and cycling, which is the ideal mean of transport within Debrecen due to its size and being situated in the Great Plain.

city:one 2017-11-15 10:35 László Mátyus : Senior Expert of Debrecen Smart City Citizen ICT technology Governance

: City of Debrecen

Debrecen with a population of 207 000 is the second largest city in Hungary after the capital Budapest. Debrecen is the regional center of the Northern Great Plain region and the seat of Hajdú-Bihar county. It was the largest Hungarian city in the 18th century and it is one of the most important cultural centers of the Hungarians. Debrecen was also the capital city of Hungary during the revolution in 1848–1849. During the revolution,
the dethronement of the Habsburg dynasty was declared in the Reformed Great Church. The city also served as the capital of Hungary by the end of the World War II in 1944–1945. The official website of the city of Debrecen can be found at

: City vision

Education has always been an important segment of Debrecen, currently having more than 70 000 students. Many actions are being planned to further increase this number, every year more and more international students come to the city for their university
studies. In 2019 the International School of Debrecen will open its gates, targeting students from the age of 3 up to 18years, which will be the fi rst such institute within the region.

The Economic Development Center of Debrecen (or EDC Debrecen) has been formed 2 years ago to have a dedicated company focusing on speeding up the economic development of the city. Many shared service centers have now offi ces in Debrecen and the target is to provide 2 000 new workplaces every coming year.

The expected growth in population and workers travelling from the agglomeration requires great focus on improving the infrastructure. A new intermodal transport center is being constructed from next year on at the existing railway station, housing the bus station and will also be directly connected with the international airport. The latter is essential, thus many actions have been taken for its development and as a result
the yearly number of passengers last year exceeded 300 000, which is more than 50% over the city’s total population. 

: Smart City Focus areas

Debrecen Smart City is focusing on 3 main areas: intelligent mobility, digital literacy and energetics. The fi rst two are driven by the economic development. The growth of the city will require an extra attention to improve transportation in order to maintain the livability of the city, while the potential investors require skilled people, whose knowledge is not limited to professional and language skills, but also possess the knowledge of digital literacy. Energetics is a hot topic everywhere, Debrecen is no exception, many buildings are being renovated and while doing so, implementation of smart solutions are also being considered.

The Debrecen Smart City team also puts great emphasis on involving the citizens, monthly meet-ups are being held and the Facebook community of Debrecen Smart City is the largest in the country compared to other cities, including Budapest.

: Smart City projects

Most of the projects fall within the key focus areas, more precisely within the fl agship of intelligent mobility. Intelligent crosswalks are being placed, which consist of built-in sensors and fl ash warning lights facing drivers in the case pedestrians are approaching the crosswalk. Counters are planned to be installed on bike roads. An intelligent camera system with over 1 000 cameras with surveillance and traffi c measuring purpose is to be built in the coming years. All those cameras will connect
to the city management center, where the energy management center is also going to be. Smart meters are planned to replace the conventional ones in all municipality owned buildings which are going to be renovated to have real time data available and accessible by the time the management center is up and running. In the past months Debrecen has also been working on formulating its digital literacy improvement strategy together with multiple companies and organizations from various sectors.

Key Project : Connected Citizens Program of Waze

The number of cars registered in Debrecen increased from 55 000 to 90 000 since 1999, which is more than a 60% increase. Habits have also changed, many citizens not just simply go to work and then back home, but drive around during the day as well. To adapt to the situation more than 50 intersections are going to be modified
in the coming months, new lanes are being built and/or new traffic lights are being installed at some places while at the others traffic regulations are being changed. Combined with the construction of the intermodal transport center all this means that getting along on the usual routes might not be possible in some cases.

To compensate the above traffi c limitations the city has got in touch with the world’s largest community based navigation application, Waze, to see how it could help the citizens. Waze has more than 80 million users in 165 countries and has launched
a so called Connected Citizens Program, whichis a two- -way data exchange agreement between Waze and municipalities, where the city shares all relevant information that aff ect traffic and in return Waze provides the aggregated traffi c data
in order to further improve traffi c fl ow and fi ght against congestion.

As a short-term result, all point of interests accessible by car have been uploaded to the Waze map making it the most detailed car and road map of Debrecen. All upcoming construction works, regulation changes are going to be on the map on
time, avoiding drivers running into surprises during their travel. The live map of Waze has also been integrated to the offi cial Debrecen and Debrecen Smart City websites so people can check the traffi c situation before even getting into their cars and plan their tasks accordingly.Parallel the traffi c data from Waze is being stored in a structured database and the eff ect of all the changes can be analyzed. Furthermore, from this huge big data set research can be done to come up with recommendations
to improve the traffi c of the city even further. There will be precise data to see what traffi c light program is necessary depending on daytime, weather, school period, etc. The municipality will also be able to tell which roads have speed limitations where there haven’t been any accidents in months or which potholes annoy drivers the most.

Časopis city:one

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