Smart Cities, urban development improving the quality of life of city dwellers
There has been growing interest in the Smart City concept for several years, offering more efficient and adaptive city management for the benefit of users and the community.
In imagery, an urban landscape composed partly of 2.0 public infrastructure (street furniture, home automation, smart building), reinvented connected mobility (soft mobility, reinvented vehicles and lanes), smart grids (electricity, gas, water, telecommunications), and e-administrations and e-services. The aim is to offer citizens a more pleasant, safer and also more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Companies and conurbations are working hand in hand and are placing a lot of emphasis on the development of the intelligent city.
These Smart Cities collect and use data to provide information that makes it possible to offer new services and manage the city in real time, in particular to reduce its environmental impact in all areas: mobility, health, education, access to water, gas, electricity, waste management, etc. These information and communication technologies (ICT) are designed to improve the quality, interactivity and performance of urban services, reduce costs and consumption of resources and increase contacts between citizens and municipalities.
Smart cities are therefore better equipped to meet the many challenges of today’s cities in terms of demographics, social, health, environment, economy and the well-being of city dwellers.
Smart Mobility: a must for a smart city
Many cities are in a transition towards the “smart city” and therefore have put in place solutions to improve the urban mobility offer made to city dwellers.
With the appearance of “MaaS” (Mobility as a Service) in several cities in France, the offer is brought together in a single application offering all the modes of transport in a territory, the aim of which is to limit the use of the individual car in the city and therefore promote multimodality. Soft mobility is thus taking back a prominent place in the mobility offer (new individual electric vehicles either directly in the user’s possession or in self-service, free-floating, long-term rental…) Improvement of air quality, reduction of noise pollution, traffic fluidity… The advantages are numerous and the environmental impact significantly reduced compared to individual cars, This is a direct response to one of the challenges of the smart city, which is to reduce the carbon footprint while creating a “new, more fluid, cleaner and more economical mobility in cities and territories around the world”, says Isabelle Kocher, Managing Director of the ENGIE Group.
The bicycle happens to be the champion of soft mobility, it is an ideal ally that saves time for a trip in the city, while being good for our health. With the LOM and a strengthened “Cycling Plan” announced by the Prime Minister in mid-July 2020 and a very strong recovery in cycling following the deconfinement, soft mobility has a bright future ahead of it. The electric scooter is expected to grow by 105% in 2019, and this should continue with a shift away from public transport to solo car use, with a boom in cycling and electric scooters.
Mobility and innovation in “Smart Cities” around the world
In recent years, the concept of “Smart Mobility” has developed a lot. It is clear that in the near future cities will have no choice but to integrate technology related services in urban areas. Let’s take a look at some examples of mobility innovations and trends in cities around the world that have the potential to become massively established in the years to come.
Rio de Janeiro and its suburbs have chosen Maestro, a traffic management system created by Engie to reduce congestion on the most frequently blocked roads. The system analyzes data from connected cameras, radars and traffic lights to improve air quality and reduce traffic accidents.
In Taiwan, the intelligent electric scooters of the start-up company Gogoro, allow users to travel 110km thanks to their high autonomy. The recharging system is simply based on a “battery swap” principle; it involves exchanging an empty battery for a full one, which takes less than 6 seconds in the 400 or so stations available. The company’s services will also be located in Paris and Berlin.
In order to make savings in terms of public lighting, Citeos, a brand of Vinci Energie, has set up a solution so that cities can adapt to the uses of their inhabitants. Thus, with the help of connected street lamps and an automated system via presence sensors, lighting is activated according to the detection of vehicles and pedestrians and is improved in areas with low luminosity. This system makes parking easier and improves the flow of traffic. The installation of 17 intelligent luminaires in Chartres has reduced the city’s electricity consumption by 65%.
There are many other innovations being thought and developed around the world, with strong potential to become established in the years to come. From Japan to Kenya via Spain and Italy, “Woven City”, “Super Block” and “Svolta” are just some of the projects that can only herald a profound change in the cities of tomorrow, to integrate Smart Mobility as a key indicator of a smart city.
Toyota’s Woven City project