Smart Cities At the crossroad of smart mobility By BMaaS Contributor Posted on October 2, 2017 7 min read View original post. By Raj Rao The way the world gets from A to B is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by advancements in big-data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). While selfdriving cars have captured imaginations worldwide with the promise of safer roads, smoother commutes and less congestion, they are only one part of the greater smart mobility story. A raft of new technologies is proposingmobility solutions more user-friendly than ever. This can’t come soon enough for cities in Asia that are urbanising at a quicker rate than ever before. I grew up in Bengaluru, a city where congestion now means the average car speed tops out at 9 km/h. The good news for commuters stuck in traffic across the country is that there are exciting new mobility technologies that could find their way to city streets near you in the future. Many of these are being trialled on streets in the US where city governments have been quick to see the potential benefits smart infrastructure can bring. In India, initiatives like the smart cities mission can help lay the foundations for these technologies to be installed in cities here too. As sensors, cameras and radar have become more affordable, smart intersections have become a reality. AI-based traffic signals in Pittsburgh, US, have reduced journey time by up to 25 per cent in the city. The system, Surtrac, works when a camera or radar detects multidirectional traffic at an intersection and creates a predictive model to calculate the optimal traffic signal timing. Pittsburgh is unusual for US cities because it is hilly and wasn’t built on a grid system. If Surtrac can work in the relatively tricky conditions of Pittsburgh, then one day it could be implemented in cities in India too. In the meantime, cities are using cameras and sensors to feed into a central control room to gather data about how public infrastructure is being used. In Danang, Vietnam, a smart camera system is being implemented to monitor traffic, increase safety and inform future city planning. In Pune, mobile network data is being used to gather data about how public transport is being used to inform future transport planning decisions. Consumers now expect products to be more responsive than ever before. This trend can be seen in mobility with the popularity of ride-sharing apps like Ola and Uber, which allow users to hail rides wherever they want, whenever they want. This level of responsiveness is coming to buses and shuttles too. In San Francisco, Chariot operates an app-based crowdsourced shuttle service with areas and stops based on consumer demand. Services like Chariot are not intended to replace public transportation. Chariot is in a completely different category, micro-transit: app-enabled multi-passenger, high-occupancy transportation that is smaller, more flexible and operates based on passenger demand. Micro-transit services fill an important gap in urban mobility — by combining the responsiveness of on-demand ride-sharing with the efficiency and accessibility of our traditional public transportation. Location intelligence is an exciting and emerging field that is enabling cities to harness GPS and other location data to inform government planning and decisions. At its core, location intelligence takes data and maps it, giving greater context to data points. For cities, this can mean visualising the movement of people when a road is closed for maintenance, for example. This data can then feed into predictive models that can be used to show what will happen the next time the city closes a road. Location intelligence has a wide range of applications. In New York, arborist (a tree surgeon) Jill Hubley used location intelligence to produce a colourcoded map that shows the distribution of each species of trees across the city. Advertising agencies are utilising location intelligence to gather ever-more granular data about the effectiveness of online advertising spends. More and more innovative city governments are using this new generation of technologies to re-examine how to design transportation systems that work for best for their citizens. And it is only a matter of time before these technologies appear on a street near you. (The writer is CEO, Ford Smart Mobility) DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.