As an estimated 3m people move to metropolitan areas every week¹, cities need to keep getting smarter, to continue providing livable spaces for their residents. Otherwise, they will collapse under the myriad issues fast population growth brings. In addition to larger numbers of residents, pressure on public finances, ageing populations, economic restructuring and climate change put further stress on urban hubs.
Thankfully, many cities are already active in providing smart urban services and provide great examples for others to learn from. With ‘Europe’s Digital Agenda’, the EU developed a range of programmes to strengthen innovation and investment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)². These range from improving connectivity and access, to supporting digital culture and industry.
The global market for smart urban services is estimated to be $400 billion per year by 2020³, which makes it an exciting growth area for businesses. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will be a significant portion of this amount.
Managing urban flow and creating real-time responses are crucial factors for smart cities. Smart mobility plays an important part in this area, not only to reduce congestions. Getting people from their homes to work and back – in an efficient, environmentally friendly and affordable manner – is key to a city’s future success. Who wants to live and work in an endless, polluted traffic jam?
Examples of smart mobility initiatives
Combining GPS and traffic management software, Barcelona developed a bus network based on the most common traffic flows. Smart traffic lights allow buses to run on optimised routes with a minimised number of red lights4.
The Dutch capital runs a large number of Smart Mobility initiatives and events5. From improving accessibility and bike friendliness, to smart parking and mobile ticketing, Amsterdam is ahead of the game.
The Finnish capital is one of the major smart city players when it comes to Mobility as a Service (MaaS). The upcoming “Act on Transport Services will significantly enhance the implementation of new technology, digitalisation and new business concepts. It will enable seamless, multimodal travel chains”6. The Finnish MaaS app Whim recently raised €10 million in funding to go global7 . Whim is run by MaaS Global and powered by Skedgo.
Providing a €100,000 seed fund, the Smart Dublin Cycling Challenge invited businesses to deliver innovative ways to increase cycling use in the city8 . The aim is to make Dublin more livable and healthier for its citizens.
Down under, the NSW Department of Finance, Service and Innovation with Transport for NSW and Slingshot run a Smart Cities & Accessibility Challenge to reduce transport barriers for people with disabilities. As a winner of the challenge, SkedGo is taking part in the accelerator to improve data availability for wheelchair users within the TripGo app9 .
LA aims to make shared and self-driving vehicles a key part of their transit future10 . ‘Urban Mobility in the Digital Age’ is the city’s ambitious roadmap for its transportation future. The report makes LA the first U.S. city to include autonomous vehicles in their transportation plans. By combining self-driving cars and buses with on-demand sharing services, the city aims to deliver more efficient transit options and ease the current congestion and pollution burden.
With the help of Conduent and SkedGo, the city already provides a MaaS precursor app, GoLA, to access any mix of LA’s transports in one offering.
These examples show the breadth of topics that applying smart mobility principles can address. Collaborations between government, OEM’s and tech businesses drive innovation and will support cities in developing sustainable transport solutions for residents as they grow over time. If it’s time to get moving, it’s time to get smart.
We are shaping the global future of mobility and smart cities. Skedgo provides personalised trip planning and mobility as a service technology, for leading start-ups, corporations and governments. Our senior development team offers tailored solutions leveraging our unique API.
The result: organisations can seamlessly and rapidly integrate multi/mixed modal transport services, parking, book & pay features, events and itineraries.
¹ UN Habitat, 2009
Image courtesy of Flo Maderebner