Posted by Admin on January 22, 2015

According to a United Nations report, the world’s urban population is expected to touch 4.9 billion by 2030. This means that more than 59% of its total population will be living in cities. More than half of it will be concentrated in Asia. These are phenomenal proportions. Smart cities, as a concept, have been articulated as an effective response to this situation.

Focusing on transport, one of the six priority areas to be considered while designing smart cities, we can see that urban concentration presents immense problems. Some of them are as follows:

1) Congestion: Clogging of traffic networks.

2) Pollution: Air pollution - increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, noise pollution, etc.

3) Debilitated infrastructure: Heavy demands on civic structures, high levels of maintenance.

4) Strain on services: Difficult to respond speedily during emergencies and catastrophes.

5) Lower life satisfaction: Frequent accidents, long commutes, difficulty of access to places of work, recreation and residence which decrease satisfaction levels among citizens.

Bristol’s plan for its evolution into a smart city, ‘Bristol Vision: 2020’, recognises that inefficient transportation can inflict severe losses on the economy. The plan estimates that congestion of traffic is expected to cost the west of England £600 million by 2016. Accordingly, Bristol wants to deliver a programme which can divert 8,220 daily journeys from single occupancy cars which may result in saving approximately £6 million. The programme is also linked to Bristol’s goal of lowering CO2 emissions by approximately 40%.

Transport Today + Technology = Smart Mobility

Transportation in a smart city has to become both easy and efficient. Ease pertains to a user’s experience and qualifies the comfort of transport. Efficiency reflects the needs of the society and the environment. To balance both needs, we have to abandon any piecemeal approaches. A comprehensive model has to be adopted – optimising the overall system through coordination of the city’s varied modes of transportation, rather than improving each on its own.

A city like Delhi can coordinate various transportation systems to negotiate peak hours of traffic. It can also come up with alternative means and networks to resolve the problems of congestion, pollution, etc.

Also, since a city is essentially an interconnected system of systems, mobility has a direct impact on high-priority sectors such as people, energy and land use schedule. A smooth and sustainable transport sector can deliver in terms of environmental, economic and welfare objectives proving invaluable to the design of cities in the future. Smart Mobility = Ease of Access + Value of Experience + Efficiency