by Sergey Sidorov
It is well known that residents of big cities as nobody else need a comprehensive and up-to-date information on various facets of megalopolis life. The current state of city information systems was discussed at a teleconference, Information Society and Contemporary City, which was held in Moscow, St-Petersburg, Novgorod, and Yaroslavl in autumn. The conference was a part of the congress, Technology at the Service of Information Society, that took place in Lisbon, and was supported by Moscow Government, Moscow City Council (Duma), and European Communities Commission. The participants of the conference were greeted by administrative heads of Moscow, Yaroslavl Region, and the city of Novgorod. To set up the videoconference ordinary Internet tools were used. Any attempts to provide a reliable communications with Lisbon failed completely. One of those who took the floor joked that, judging by connection quality, one may think that the crisis rages over there - not in Russia. However, the disappointment did not affect quality of the reports which were quite numerous. Representatives of the Institute of Information Community Development, Russian Fund for Fundamental Studies, Sun Microsystems Company, Moscow Government, and many other institutions put forward their vision of the problems of high-quality communications, possible application of information systems for preventing accidents and similar issues. So, the Moscow Government’s report concerned working out decrees about commercial telecommunications services using cable modems, as well as a project that provides optical-fiber laying to form kind of user groups (each group including 500 apartments). Mr. Korsak, Head of Transport and Communications Department with Moscow Government, said that the existing system of traffic control is to be reorganized with use of most advanced technologies that came from the armament industry conversion. First of all, the traffic lights system will be modified, for in its current state it does not account for various occasional factors, whereas Moscow is approaching Paris with respect to number of cars per person, and so the city suffers from traffic jams. To solve the problem, the authorities are going to install special radars on city’s main roads, which will provide a feedback for the traffic control system. The system can be used also to detect speed limits violators.