Smart Mobility Drives Sustainable Low Carbon Cities
Professor Dato Dr Ahmad Ibrahim
Fellow Academy of Science, Head of Research of Confexhub Group
Smart Cities are already a reality. The traffic and mobility of people is an important component of smart cities. Smart Mobility is necessary for the sustainable development of cities. Unless properly managed, mobility will upset the low carbon targets of smart cities. Currently, 2% of the planet’s surface houses 50% of the total population. They live in cities which continue to expand as rural-urban migration becomes unstoppable. They consume 75% of the energy produced and generate 80% of global GHG emissions. Issues related to energy consumption and pollution have cropped up from such high population densities. In addition, the traffic congestions that occur also have an impact on the economy and health. It is estimated that the negative economic impact lies between 2% and 4% in GDP, where European drivers lose more than 33 hours a year trapped in traffic snarls.
Technology promises solutions to all such problems. Digital technology dominates the intelligent management of traffic and mobility in smart cities. This is what Smart Mobility is all about. It is the embracing of sustainable mobility that guarantees accessibility, transport systems, parking management and the solution of environmental problems. Smart Mobility has a triangular impact on cities. It affects the environment (efficient transport systems at the level of energy consumption), economy (maximizes productivity) and society (higher quality of life for the citizen). It, therefore, contributes to sustainability in the 3Ps of people, profit and planet. Therefore, the objectives of the Smart Mobility include improving the quality of life of the citizen, reducing the environmental impact, improving the planning and efficiency of public transport, reducing congestion and citizen frustration, optimizing parking spaces and their management, while prioritizing the citizen in mobility.
Smart Mobility seeks a paradigm change and tends toward a multimodal transport system with high flexibility and convenience, based on intelligent management, which is known as Mobility-as-a-service. Helsinki is one of the pioneer cities in the world to implement the Mobility-as-a-service model. Citizens have access to a single application composed of different mobility packs, that is, different means of transportation (car, bicycle, train, taxi, etc.) that the user has available at their disposal to choose according to their needs. Information, payment, services and other data, everything is concentrated in one place to get a unified system.
Urbo (”city” in Esperanto) is the smart city of Telefonica. It is a dashboard model for Smart Cities that is intended for the general public as well as the Public Administration. Urbo seeks to improve the citizen’s quality of life, providing information in real-time on aspects of general interest such as traffic, air quality, waste management, etc. On the other hand, it is intended to optimize the resources of the different Public Administrations, as well as to promote the accuracy and agility in the decision-making process, through control panels where all the information coming from multiple sensors is presented in a simple and visual way. Urbo processes the data in real-time as it arrives from the sensors placed by the city and turns over all the information in different levels of access and publication. In the private part is where all the information collected is shown through a scorecard for the management and monitoring of the results. It even has Machine Learning technology, which allows the system to be able to interpret, learn and anticipate all this data
Solutions like Urbo perfectly summarize the goals that Smart Mobility, and Smart Cities at a more general level, want to achieve. With Urbo, the efficient management of the Administration’s limited resources can be achieved while the user receives detailed information in real-time that improves their mobility throughout the city. The commitment to this type of technology is essential in the world in which we live to satisfy and solve issues as urgent as pollution, achieve sustainable development of cities and improve the quality of life of citizens. As Kuala Lumpur aspires to achieve a low carbon status, smart mobility should be the game-changer for the city.