Smart cities & Smart mobility on a human scale
Many ideas, but the same goal: make urban flows and movements more efficient and less polluting. How we do it smarter? This is what Smart Mobility, an integral part of the smart city model, is all about.
Let’s start by laying the foundations. According to the European Commission: “A smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital solutions for the benefit of its inhabitants and business”. It goes without saying that mobility is one of the cornerstones for creating livable cities, but above all, on a human scale. Is this impossible? No, if we will combine human power, technology and infrastructure. Let’s see together what is Smart Mobility, what are its values, advantages and strategies for the future.
Smart Mobility: an overview
Congestion, traffic and polluted cities: unfortunately, this is the reality that has been consolidating in recent decades in our cities. This is the main result of the world interconnectedness and our increasingly hectic lifestyle.
Just to give an example: according to the annual report of INRIX, a company that provides data on traffic flows in the world, Rome ranks first in Italy as the most congested city, with as many as 66 hours lost in traffic.
It’s high time for a paradigm shift. The pillars that cooperate in Smart Mobility model are:
- Technology (artificial intelligence and IoT – Internet of Things)
- Infrastructures (roads, parking lots, signs, vehicles)
- Innovative solutions (micromobility, e-mobility and shared mobility)
- People (because human mind can never be replaced!)
All of these elements combine to create seamless, integrated, accessible, convenient and green mobility.
Smart Mobility doesn’t just mean alternative means of transportation. It goes hand in hand with the development of a territory: it means creating value by building an integrated and resilient system at the base. It is a complex and interdisciplinary phenomenon that encompasses not only a technical and technological dimension, but also values and ethics. Let’s discover together the guiding principles:
- Clean technologies and zero emissions
- Social benefits and quality of life
Smart Mobility: inclusion, sharing and innovation
The pillars of Smart Economy are based on inclusion, sharing and innovation for a new way of moving and living in cities. Inspired by the Sharing Economy, these models include all car-sharing, ride-sharing and carpooling services. But in addition to these urban mobility services that we’ve been familiar with for a while now, new trends are emerging in urban areas: last-mile mobility stands for the so-called micromobility (which includes e-cargo bikes, electric scooters and more). So all the green, non-noisy, agile transfers that attract more and more young students and workers.
| Keep reading our blog post on Micromobility |
When we talk about Smart Cities and Smart Mobility we don’t have to immediately imagine futuristic cities where new technologies dominate the scenario: we need to think instead of inclusion and innovation strategies that start from the bottom, where people can actively contribute to the development of the urban fabric and to a circular process between growth and responsibility. So not only hi-tech, but also human management of resources to give life to an urban area tailored to the citizens’ needs.
What has the pandemic taught us about Smart Mobility?
The health emergency has forced the whole world to stop and think: forced to stay at home, travel has dramatically dropped, silence has fallen on our cities, nature has taken over. It was hard to imagine travel as we knew it before. This chart by TomTom can best explain the situation with two colors: green indicating a decrease in urban traffic, symbolizing a “return to nature” compared to pre-covid levels in 2019.
The uncertainties of this unprecedented historical moment are related to a responsibility that is now a need for all private individuals but also a competitiveness requirement for any company.
Emergence is not only the time of adaptation or, as it is currently said, the time of resilience, but also the time in which we begin to cultivate change and innovation.
It’s time for Smart Mobility to start over and to implement actions that have now become priorities.
As John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, “Written in Chinese, the word crisis consists of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” Let’s hope that this particular interlude can bring us back to a new normality, albeit with a renewed awareness.