Smart Sports Field Planning, Monitoring and Management

Funded

Wyndham City Council

Wyndham City - LGA, Victoria

Project stage

In progress

Timeframe

Start date: 19 November 2018
End date: 14 February 2020

Project value

Australian Government funding:
$493,000
Total:
$993,000

Focus area

  • City and community planning
  • Facility and services management (buildings, energy, waste, utilities)

Project type

  • Active lifestyle/mobility
  • Smart amenity management
  • People movement
  • Other

Technology type

  • Wi-Fi
  • CCTV
  • Network infrastructure
  • Data Management (Data platform, open data, data privacy and security, blockchains, standards)

Project link

Project summary

The project is seeking to improve the understanding and management of sports fields across our city. The automated and accurate collection of visitation numbers and usage patterns across the specific sport space (e.g. high usage in the goal square) using emerging technologies will be used to inform sports field planning, coordination of training/playing rosters, maximise availability, better understand usage patterns and inform maintenance and management programs.

The challenge

Sport and active recreation are a cornerstone in community life and represent a significant investment of capital from councils. The sport and recreation industry use of natural turf sporting surfaces is a key factor in creating an active community – making it a strong candidate for a smarter approach.

Like other interface councils, Wyndham knows sport and active recreation facility assets are highly utilised, but we have a poor understanding of how they are used and what they are used for outside of ‘organised’ use. On average 80% of Council sport and recreation capital spending is funnelled for constructing facilities for ‘organised sport’, yet we know that only 10-15% of the community participate in organised sport.  The remainder, 60% of the community, prefer to participate in non-organised activities often utilising Council’s facilities and open space for this purpose.

We need to challenge where and what type of facilities Council funds in the future, how we encourage and influence their use and more importantly to understand this use in more detail than self-reported surveys and drop in observations.

By better understanding how our turf facilities are used (not just for organised activities), we will be better placed to influence the amount of community participation, facility maintenance costs, and the amount of facilities required in the future.

Solution

The project involves installing a data-driven approach to Sports Field Planning, Monitoring and Management. The use of contextual analysis, such as where (entry points, access modes), when (arrive, depart, lighting), how (sports played, animals, small groups) and why (fitness, spectators, social/competitive) Wyndham sporting facilities are being used are examples of areas that data science can be used to influence sport facility planning, maintenance and management outcomes.

The key components of the project include:

Installation of a solution that can:

  • Collect an evidence base on the way spaces are used.

    E.g. not just how many people and when, but data on usage, type of usage (Dog walking/organised sport/passive recreation), amount of time spent at spaces, gender/age of participants.
  • Use the data to inform future planning decisions and amenity of facilities at future active open space reserves to be planned and developed to meet the needs of the community over the next 20-30 years.

    Given the widespread trend to not organised active recreation this is the only valid way to collect the data outside of manual and highly inaccurate surveys.
  • Assess the non-organised active recreation participation needs in active open space reserves

From an organised sport perspective, a solution that can:

  • Change the planning model for the capacity of facilities from hours of use, to utilisation-based data. E.g. how the space is used is very different to the length of time the space is used – currently all planning and maintenance is based on booking a turf facility on a time basis (i.e. a maximum of 25 hours per week) regardless of the utilisation over this time.  This widespread industry approach is flawed as the amount of actual usage is unknown

    This will have a significant impact on the amount of people Wyndham can cater for at its reserves – impacting club capacity, facility provision and city-wide participation levels
     

Benefits

  • Better utilisation of council facilities
  • By understanding where and how people use ovals Wyndham can perform higher quality services (grass management)
  • Shared use of Council spaces
  • Understanding when and how ovals are being used informs maintenance and playing surface protection
  • Reduces need to build additional facilities
  • Reduces possible political issues around equity in facility provision
  • Understanding sports usage leads to better planning for future investments.

Lessons learned

Whilst sports facilities can be similar each site needs to be considered carefully and individually as factors such as access, connectivity, existing infrastructure will vary between sites.  

Contact details

Name: Ben Sinnott
Phone:
Email: smartcity@wyndham.vic.gov.au