Cities worldwide are undergoing a digital transformation, a technological trend widely known as smart cities that is changing how we interact with the world around us. The idea is to modernise urban living spaces, making them hyper connected from the infrastructure out and consolidating data for more productive and efficient living and mobility.
Smart cities are characterised by initiatives driven by technology and data gathering to enhance living conditions through cost-effective and sustainable growth. By digitalising routine services, cities and organisations can tackle everything from environmental matters, government policy, economy, society, the overall quality of life and mobility.
To do so, cities depend on a network of connected devices (widely referred to as IoT, or the Internet of Things) – vehicles and home appliances that interact and exchange data with one another, for the effective and efficient management of services and operations. This includes everything from traffic light management to air quality monitoring and the tracking of different modes of transportation.
By implementing low power sensors that communicate with web and mobile-based applications via wireless networks, smart cities benefit from a grid of real-time urban informatics that tracks and monitors various aspects of city life. Service providers analyse this data to deliver solutions for underlying issues such as, for example, predictive maintenance.
Sensors embedded in roads and streetlights monitor the status of transit and traffic in real time and city managers can use the data to reduce travel times and fuel inefficiencies, as well as to anticipate problems before they happen.
Future-forward mobility solutions are at the forefront of the shift of “smartification”, not least because of exponential population growth and the pressing need to overcome the challenges that this brings about. As cities become the new normal and urbanisation continues to expand, issues such as congestion, CO2 emissions, roadside fatalities and a greater demand for urban mobility become an increasing priority.
Urban landscapes therefore rely on smart mobility, a convergence of mobility solutions through technology, to integrate new modes of transportation – such as carsharing, electric bikes, and autonomous vehicles – and to promote the hassle-free usage of multiple modes of shared and public transport to navigate urban areas.
What exactly is smart mobility?
Connected systems of smart vehicles that provide immediate, real-time information make commuting an effortless task. Modern mobility focuses on emission-free transport, advanced parking solutions and greater accessibility by minimising issues such as gridlock, environmental and noise pollution, and fuel consumption, amongst others. Furthermore, an integrated mobility platform seamlessly connects all transport modes and allows for a simpler billing process, a valuable perk for consumers.
In order to offer a seamless, intelligent transport solution, various offers need to be connected. With AlphaFlex, Alphabet has taken first step to integrate various mobility offers available in a city – such as public transport, cycling, taxi services, carsharing, and lease cars – under one fully-automated platform, all controlled by the same budget. This allows for optimal customisation to suit individual travel needs and provides a convenient overview for meeting companies’ targets of costs and CO2 reductions, without any additional administrative layers.
Mobility usage and behaviour are not solely driven by technology, however, but also in large part by customer expectations. Fast, reliable, individual and convenient mobility solutions are no longer viewed as a luxury, but rather as a necessary demand that providers need to meet in order to stay in the mobility game.
Trends strongly showcase that moving forward, cities all over the world – both traditional mega-metropoles, but also smaller cities, and even rural areas – will be making the move towards becoming “smart”. Cities benefit from the efficiency of these connected structures that facilitate day-to-day maintenance of public services, as well as the more complex challenges of large-scale mobility patterns.
Going smart is latest step towards preparing for a future world, wherein technological advancements are paving the way for a hyper connected structure of systems and devices that cater for a seamless user experience.