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B1 Reading Comprehension: Smart Cities

Read this text and answer the questions that follow.

Smart Cities

A smart city is a city that uses technology to improve the lives of its citizens. Smart cities use sensors and data to collect information about the city, such as traffic, pollution, and energy use. This information is then used to make the city more efficient and livable. Smart cities use technology to improve many aspects of urban life.

Smart city technologies can be used to improve the quality of life for residents in a variety of ways. For example, smart parking systems can make it easier to find available parking spaces. Also, in a smart city, digital payment is usually available, so there’s no risk of coming up short of cash anywhere in the city. Smart cities also invest in public transportation and bike lanes to encourage people to get around without cars. Smart cities use technology to improve public safety and reduce crime. For example, smart cameras can monitor public spaces for suspicious activity. Moreover, smart technology can reduce emergency response times. For example, smart sensors can be essential in an early warning system before floods, landslides or hurricanes. 

A smart city implements a variety of smart transportation systems. For example, smart cities may use a smart traffic flow management system which controls traffic lights and detects delays and the amount of traffic on specific roads. The control system can change the timing of the lights based on the amount of traffic and how well that traffic is flowing. Also, some systems can adjust timing for buses or emergency vehicles as well. 

In addition, smart cities can help improve the environment. Smart cities use technology to monitor and improve air and water quality. For instance, smart sensors can track air pollution levels and notify authorities when they reach harmful levels. Smart cities also use technology to manage water use and reduce waste. For example, smart water meters can track water usage and discover leaks. Smart cities use technology to improve waste (trash) management; smart waste bins can track how much waste is being produced and send alerts when they need to be emptied. Moreover, smart cities use technology to reduce energy consumption and save money. For example, smart streetlights can dim when there is no traffic, and the temperature of buildings can change based on occupancy. 

A number of cities around the world are good examples of smart cities. For instance, the Barcelona smart transportation systems are complemented by smart bus stops that provide free Wi-Fi, USB charging stations and bus schedule updates for riders. A bike-sharing program and smart parking app that includes online payment options are also available. The city also uses sensors to monitor temperature, pollution, noise, humidity, and rain levels. In Dubai, smart city technology is used for traffic, parking, and transportation. The city also uses smart healthcare, smart education and smart tourism. 

Smart cities are still in their early stages of development, but they have the potential to make cities more livable and efficient. 

1. What is the main idea of the text?

2. What is the main idea of paragraph 4?

3. The word "adjust" in paragraph 3 is similar in meaning to _____.

4. How can smart cities help citizens during emergency?

5. In the text, Barcelona and Dubai are given as examples of _____.

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