A new app has been launched by Middlesbrough Council to support the town’s recovery from lockdown.
The Visit Middlesbrough app hosts information on the town centre’s shops, restaurants and cafes in a move designed to boost business.
Developed using government funding, the app provides important travel and safety information to encourage a controlled return to the town centre.
Live data can help vulnerable people plan their visit by highlighting the quietest times for footfall.
Users will also have the latest news from the Council at their fingertips, receiving up-to-date coronavirus information direct to their phones.
The shopping section of the app is linked to Google Maps for door-to-door navigation.
And as government restrictions ease, the app will be developed further to include a ‘what’s on’ guide for Middlesbrough, promoting events and offering special deals for cultural venues.
Ashley Waters, Middlesbrough’s executive member for regeneration, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has shown how crucial it is to be able to provide up-to-date information to residents.
“While we recognise that not everyone in Middlesbrough is online, we also know that we live in a digital age where people want the latest news and information delivered to them quickly and easily. The Visit Middlesbrough app allows us to do this.
“We understand that some might be hesitant to return to the town centre so soon after lockdown. The information on this app will help people to plan their next visit safely and with confidence.
“This is just the beginning for the Visit Middlesbrough app. As restrictions continue to ease, we can develop it to include information around our cultural offer and places to stay, helping us to attract more visitors and firmly establish Middlesbrough as the go-to destination of the Tees Valley.”
The Visit Middlesbrough app is the first step towards a ‘smart city’ approach for Middlesbrough, whereby technology is used to enhance visitor experience, share information with residents and improve the quality of services.
Dom Lusardi, the former director of Middlesbrough-based digital company Animmersion, has played a key role in the creation of the app.
He said: “This is a great opportunity to develop an app that not only increases visitor confidence to the town centre but also starts the process of making Middlesbrough a smart city of the future, I’m really excited the opportunity this provides for the town as we return to the new normal.”
The app was developed by MCD, a digital product engineering company based in Middlesbrough’s Boho Zone.
MCD director Lyle McCalmont said: “Our aim has been to create an app that enables users to connect with what’s happening in the area and to be able find helpful information easily.
“Linking to live data sources, app users can access up-to-date information to help them plan their trip and feel safe.”
The app is available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Search ‘Visit Middlesbrough’.