Makassar city in Indonesia has launched its smart city operations centre, dubbed “The War Room” by Mayor Ramdhan Pomanto.

The centralised unit brings together data from across agencies on healthcare, emergency services, sanitation and transport. “My strategy is to get big data from people. We can then analyse issues in real time to respond quickly and make exact decisions,” Mayor Pomanto told GovInsider.

The war room gets video feeds from CCTVs across the city. “We have between 60 to 70 CCTV cameras now. In 2016, we expect that there will be 1,000 additional cameras,” Firman Pagarra, head of the city’s public relations, told GovInsider.

The war room analyses videos from these cameras to track the locations of mobile health centres, garbage trucks and security patrol cars. It also analyses data on tax payments, building permits and citizens’ identity cards.

Inside war room

Mayor Pomanto is planning a new initiative to get more public transport data, he said, with a new plan being trialled in two months’ time.

Blue minivans (known locally as pete pete) dot the streets of Makassar and are the only form of public transport in the city. The government will pilot 10 “smart pete pete”, upgrading the minivans with sensors, GPS and WiFi.

When the van arrives at a stop, sensors will jam the bus for five minutes, forcing it to wait for passengers to get on before the driver gets control back.

Passengers will pay for rides at a fixed rate by tapping a smart card to prevent drivers from charging arbitrary rates.

The drivers themselves will get paid directly to their bank accounts based on the distance they drive, rather than the number of passengers they pick up.

Improving transportation is a top priority this year, Mayor Pomanto told GovInsider. The plan is to reduce traffic congestion on the roads and persuade motorbike riders to use public transport.

The smart bus pilot will run for a month, after which 1,000 new vans will be delivered, with each costing Rp 200 million (US$14,593).

Also read our full interview with the Mayor of Makassar.