By 2030, nearly 5 billion (61%) of the world’s 8.1 billion people will live in cities. To manage this rising tide, cities will need to manage congestion and inner-city traffic more efficiently. They also need to respond to unexpected situations faster than ever before. Our ability to extract meaningful insights from data will transform urban mobility entirely. But in order to get there, we need to build tools that enable real-time decision making.
Historically, city services like traffic and first responders have been reactive to disruptive events, without the means to plan proactively and foresee unexpected situations. Due to rising complexity in urban operations, cities must evolve from mere data collection and visualization to decision-making support tools that recommend actions and show potential outcomes before critical events occur and operational decisions are made.
Here are three key drivers behind the adoption of new ways of managing mobility. (In order of their importance to city officials).
Safety & Security
New geopolitical realities pose strong challenges regarding societal protection, stability, and well-being. This has not gone unnoticed: leaders are understanding that managing the mobility of individuals and identifying anomalous mobility patterns can also be a powerful tool in improving overall safety and security.
Indeed, they can’t afford to risk citizen safety by implementing an imperfect solution. Therefore, urban leaders are also increasingly seeking solutions that facilitate citizen engagement, such the ability to report real-time incidents or to give feedback.
Important information already exists within traffic management systems like traffic cameras, Bluetooth and wifi trackers, but siloed data centers offer limited visibility over such data, and solutions which provide more insights are necessary. You can’t make life-impacting decisions if you can’t see the full picture.
Beyond safety concerns lies an emphasis on enhancements to city mobility. Mobility and urban parking management are crucial to managing economic development and the lifeblood of our cities: the everyday transport systems that bring people to work and to socialize, the vehicles that deliver essential goods like food, and those that carry away waste.
New mobility solutions and smart parking innovation will be critical for keeping our urban centers functioning.
City managers face the challenge of dealing with increased density, more interactions, higher demand for transport and potential security threats within the same budgets.
There is a correlation between the importance of mobility solutions and development levels for particular cities. Emerging markets feature a rapidly growing middle class, increasing the likelihood of congestion. More people can afford cars, placing unsustainable strain upon outdated infrastructure and parking capacity.
This issue is less pronounced in more developed cities, where the gap between safety concerns and improved mobility demands has widened.
Close behind is the impact of new urban mobility solutions on city finances and budgets. Reducing costs and creating more value with fewer resources is paramount. Managing operational efficiency is critical because many modern cities are far more accountable for budgeting than ever before. The rise of the smart city is in part due to city leaders seeking new solutions for this issue.
This last driver resonates strongly since city officials are ultimately accountable to their citizens. However, a mayor’s economizing won’t necessarily ensure re-election. What will get them elected is their improvements to the everyday quality of life for citizens.