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Areas of application of smart city technologies - mobility

Areas of application of smart city technologies - mobility

Author: Dimitar Hristov

Smart city applications can improve some key quality-of-life indicators in the cities by 10 to 30 percent.

Smart cities growing quickly as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands and impacts municipal services around the globe. The smart city industry is projected to be a $400 billion market by 2020, with 600 cities worldwide. These cities are expected to generate 60% of the world's GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey research.

At the end of 2019, the Cluster Sofia Knowledge City finalized its Sofia smart city strategy and presented the results of the market study on smart city technologies. 

By smart city technologies are meant those technologies that refer to the concept of a smart city, most often these are digital and/or data-based technologies and platforms that are applicable in the real conditions of the city and contribute to the city's coping with the public problems or challenges. In smart cities, these technologies are used to develop "critical infrastructure" in such areas as transport, water and waste management, construction, energy, security, education, health, and urban management.

Mobility has been the entry point and the first area of focus for most cities because it has a huge impact on the quality of life and the productivity of the local economy. When millions of people share a limited space, their ability to move and circulate freely is critical to the way they experience the city. The following smart applications in city mobility are listed below with short explanatory notes. This list does not represent all areas but gives us a good vision of how different can be applications and how deep is the penetration of these technologies in this sector:

  • Autonomous vehicles - vehicles equipped with sensors and software to work alone; full self-management capability (level 4) is achieved when human intervention is not expected to take control at any time.
  • Bicycle sharing - bicycles for public use, either in docking centers or as freely used, to provide an alternative to riding, public transport, and private bicycle ownership. This option can cover the first mile / last mile segment when public transport does not take a door-to-door journey.
  • Car sharing - access to short-term use of cars without full ownership; can be bidirectional (station-based), unidirectional (free-floating), spot-to-spot, or partial.
  • Congestion pricing - fees for using a personal car in certain areas, during peak demand, or both.
  • Demand-based micro-transit - sharing services with fixed routes, fixed stops, or both, often complementing existing public transit routes. The algorithms use a historical search to determine routes, vehicle size, and travel frequency. May include seat reservation options.
  • Payment by digital public transport - digital and contactless payment systems in public transport, which allow prepayment and faster upload. Includes smart cards and mobile payments.
  • Electronic call (private and combined) - the real-time ordering of point-to-point transportation via a mobile device. Unified e-ringing involves the dynamic connection of individual journeys with compatible routes to increase vehicle utilization (ie local real-time search optimization).
  • Integrated multimodal information - real-time information on price, time, and availability of transport options in many modes.
  • Intelligent road signals - improving overall traffic by dynamically optimizing traffic lights and speed limits, leading to higher average road speeds and less frequent stopping and returning. Includes preferential light technology that prioritizes emergency vehicles, public buses, or both.
  • Consolidation of the parcel load - online matching of the demand for supplies with the available supply of freight capacity. By making maximum use of vehicles, fewer trucks make more deliveries.
  • Predictable maintenance of transport infrastructure - sensory monitoring of the condition of public transport and related infrastructure (such as rails, roads, and bridges) so that predictive maintenance can be performed before accidents and disruptions occur.
  • Real-time public transport information - real-time arrival and departure information for modes of public transport, including informal bus systems.
  • Real-time road navigation - real-time navigation tools for selecting driving routes, with signals for construction, detours, traffic jams, and accidents. This is especially true for those who drive alone or in a car.
  • Smart mailboxes - boxes in a place where people can pick up packages using individual access codes sent to their mobile devices.
  • Smart parking - systems that direct drivers directly to the available spaces; may affect demand through variable charges.

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