Millions of people struggle every day to reach their workplaces and study areas in cities in where pollution and long commutes are decreasing the quality of life of the inhabitants.
Smart cities want to solve some of the most common problems that plague the big cities, but what are they? We list here some of the main concerns: pollution, traffic congestion, poor light efficiency and lack of safety for pedestrian roads.
Pollution is a global concern that is damaging the health of the population and speeding up the climate change. According to WHO it is a serious global health risk that is responsible for premature deaths and respiratory problems, especially in the most polluted cities in the world in Nigeria, Pakistan and South Arabia.
It is worth to mention the quantity of vehicules circulating in massive cities. Just in Mexico City, the most congested city in the world, there are 5 million of vehicles and there are 30 millions of car trips everyday. In Jakarta 2000 new motorbikes join the circulation every day, according to a recent study by Citymetric.
In Europe Bucharest is the most congested city and a recent study of Tomtom estimated that roughly every driver spends 128 hours of extra time driving per year. Other very congested city is London, that over the past decade has taken a series of measures to reduce traffic. Those go from expanding the public transport network and bike lanes, to taxing the most polluting vehicles and cutting the city center completely to traffic.
Technologies for Smart cities in 2018 and beyond
To address these problems, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are basically collecting data from pedestrian walks and vehicles roads to better understand how people travel around the city and how to manage their flow better. There are complex devices that estimate how many people move around certain areas and at what time, as well as surveillance and sensors that do the same in roads.
There are various ways to determine the flow of people though, for example London Subway uses Wi-Fi pings to learn how passengers travel.
Citizens can also take advantage of real time location systems. For navigation, apps like Waze gather traffic in order to estimate if there is a traffic jam or an obstacle on the road.
People walking or driving to meet their friends in the crowd can also use location services in real time like Wave Application, a free app that facilitates the meetings by enabling two or more people to share their live location on a private map with their contacts.
Once cities have started to comprehend how their citizens move around the city, it is time to implement changes and improve their quality of life. These are the ones that can be visible in the smart cities of 2018:
Find a pak spot
Studies show that finding a park spot raises the congestion. To help people park their cars Palo Alto city developed floor sensors that warned via an app users when a parking spot is available. Now the city is expanding its use over the city.
As cities are introducing timidly electric and gas cars the question on how to distribute the charge stations around the city arises. Would they been in malls, as they plan to be in Madrid or in private parkings as the Hong Kong Baptist University suggests? Well, it really depends on the city as smart technologies are very adaptable.
Light the city
The light consumption of the cities can be more efficient and better distributed thanks to the ICT information to determine when and where it is better to turn a light on or off. Thus, in areas with more traffic or with greater incidence of crime, the application could alter the brightness of the streetlights. In 2018 several cities around the world will use this system, like Wellington in New Zealand.
Safety of Pedestrians
The safety of pedestrians is another measure that we can begin to notice in Columbus, Ohio, that will implement an efficient crossing system in one of its streets. In Dubai we will see a passenger counter in one of its crossings to reduce the waiting time of the traffic light if there is a crowd. On the other hand, we will see new crosses adapted to people with less vision, thanks to a system of lights and signals in New York.
Reduce waste of water
The parks and forests of the cities are necessary for everyone’s health. Increasing their extension could be feasible if the consumption of irrigation water is reduced. To do this, cities such as Barcelona are implementing humidity sensors in urban parks that will determine how much water is actually needed to irrigate the parks.
As you can notice, smart cities are not only electric cars or Wifi Spots. The possibilities are endless and the New Year is bringing us amazing technologies to improve our daily life. What is your city doing to be smarter in 2018? Drop us a line!