Future smarts

Future smarts

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City officials ought to start envisioning what mobility ought to look like five to 15 years from now and devise policies to bring about that future sooner than it might otherwise happen. Doing so will allow policy makers to play a more proactive role in shaping the eventual outcome.

One starting point is to tailor new mobility approaches to a city or region’s specific context and challenges, argue Stefan M. Knupfer, Eric Hannon and Shannon Bouton in the Harvard Business Review. “For example, it is likely that densely populated cities in developing economies, such as Delhi, Istanbul, and Mumbai, will gain from expanding their public transit systems and complementing them with ride-hailing services that rely on electric vehicles,” they write.

Analysis suggests a developing, dense, average-size city could realise $600 million in annual societal benefits by 2030 from mobility advances. Four-fifths of these benefits would stem from reductions in traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Higher-income metros can develop a truly integrated mobility system combining public transit, car sharing, autonomous vehicles, smart infrastructure, et al. One way that cities can quicken the integration of mobility systems is to offer an app-based service for planning and paying for trips that use multiple modes of local transportation.

“For advanced cities such as London, Shanghai, Singapore, and the like, a seamless mobility model could yield societal benefits of up to $2.5 billion per year by 2030.”

Also on the subject of smart cities, Megan Goodwin of IRM says the problem is that most of the people working on creating them are focusing on individual elements of city issues and developing technology-based solutions to address them, ignoring the human element.

Image: HBR

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