Why Smart Cities Need Smart Mobility
February 1, 2018 In SMART CITYMigration to urban centers of economic activity is a global phenomenon, with 53% of the world’s population already living in urban areas, by the year 2050, the number is already expected to reach 67%. Studies conducted so far tell us that most cities are ill-equipped when it comes to coping with the mobility/transportation challenges that lie ahead, in the race to create ‘smart cities.’ Since mobility epitomizes the city life, smart cities need to make mobility smarter, more efficient, green and reliable. Why India Needs Smart Mobility As cities grow and expand, so will the urban transportation systems such as increased traffic, congestion, road safety, overcrowded road network, substandard traffic management, poor road conditions, insufficient public transport capacity, few modal options (pedestrian walkways included) that are some of the major hurdles towards the vision of smart mobility. Among cities, Delhi is one of the worst with at least four people dying every day in road accidents. In 2016, there were 1,548 fatal accidents in the national capital, which led to 642 pedestrian deaths. Approximately 50% people in Indian cities walk or cycle. Yet the country’s roads are notoriously unsafe with an annual average of about 1.4 lakh traffic accident deaths. Moreover, due to issues with last mile connectivity, recent studies conducted in Delhi, showed that for certain areas commuting by personal vehicles was much more economical and time-saving than commuting via Delhi Metro. Apart from this, the lack of integrated transportation plans, coupled with under recovery and poor asset management by transport operators, creates a huge demand-supply gap. The major challenges that currently plague the urban mobility sector are:
- Lack of an efficient/adequate public transport system and related infrastructural provisions, which have resulted in the decline of modal share.
- Last mile connectivity is a major issue faced by cities, thus areas where public transport systems are not a possibility, other modes of transport like e-rickshaws, bicycles, public bike-sharing schemes etc., merit consideration.
- Slow adaptation of modern technology, reliability/punctuality of transport services, idling of vehicles at intersections etc. that can be tackled via application of technological interventions.
- Change in technology (going hybrid/electric from petrol/diesel), the need for improving its cost-effectiveness, as well technical know-how measures.
- Developing traffic infrastructure and management processes for smart cities, ensuring institutional support, financial viability etc.
- Government initiatives like FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles) and Solar City Programme have put forth a much-needed impetus, towards reduced dependency on non-renewable energy sources.
- Interconnected multimodal transportation, that can facilitate seamless journeys based on demand responsiveness and the monitoring of systems and physical asset performance.
- Employment of advanced public transportation technologies such as Advanced Communications Systems (ACS), Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) Systems, In-Vehicle Diagnostic Systems, Automatic Passenger Counter Systems, Real-time fleet management systems etc.
- The development and promotion of non-motorized transport (NMT) and further development of infrastructure in that respect.
- Using ICT to develop ITS, that include, intelligent parking systems, Urban Traffic Control (UTC), Variable Message Signs (VMS), video surveillance systems, integrated systems for Mobility Management, Traffic Data Collection Systems etc. that can assist in safety measures, both in terms of security as well as driver assistance.