For smart city, better interlinked transit

The urban planning system has always been a priority for mankind since the very beginning of civilisation. A good water supply, drainage system and foolproof sewer made sure that inhabitants of the ancient city don’t get into any kind of unpleasant bouts, over fair distribution of basic amenities.

The Indus Valley civilisation and Harappan civilisation are examples that even 4,000 years ago, mankind recognised the need for sound urban planning. But what they failed to realise is that with time, the rapid pace of urbanisation would experience massive changes.

One such change is the way cities are built and managed in order to improve the lives of people. Today, technology companies worldwide are turning to new and innovative technology such as 5G, data analytics, smart mobility, smart governance, smart parking solutions etc.

These will not just improve city transportation, water and waste management, and energy usage but also a multitude of other infrastructure issues that strengthen the operation of cities and lifestyle of urban citizens.

The Niti Aayog said that in the next 30 years, urbanisation would increase to over 60%, assuming the rate of economic growth at 7-9%. A smart sustainable city that uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) ensures that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects.

We are all aware what kind of wonders technology is capable of and how it leads to a transformation every time it is involved. Starting from water management, waste treatment, smart home lighting, and building safer homes by predicting natural calamities in advance, the role of technology is multifaceted.

For a city to be smart, a seamless linking of interconnected device is required which would constantly transfer real time data, and be utilised to monitor and analyse the next steps. The data which is generated out of this can be utilised to foretell future trends, provide services on real time feedback and also receive insights. It is here that data analytics plays an extremely imperative role.

The state-of-the-art facilities promised by smart cities will require them to create a never ending process of monitoring. This would ensure infrastructural maintenance and accelerate growth.

Intelligent transportation must be the first step in the smart city movement. This could include monitoring traffic patterns, smart parking solutions, highly trafficked pedestrian areas, metro stations, coordinating train times and much more.

The uninterrupted connectivity in terms of network and transport, the interconnectivity between cities and countries will determine if a city is shaping up in the desired way. If we neglect the transport system, urban adaptability gets crippled.

Some of the technologies relevant for smart cities include:

Efficient transportation system enabled with geospatial features: can provide periodic traffic forecast, journey planning mobile applications based on real-time data, etc.

Public transport surveillance: public transit population is always on the higher side, and it becomes extremely important to launch a surveillance system for public transport. For example: buses, local railway and metros in order to secure public transportation.

Single fare card: single fare card for fare payment can eliminate the hassle of having several cards or tickets for the ones participating in public transportation systems. Further, these cards can also be used for street parking.

Smart parking: a smart parking solution will provide efficient management of on-street, off-street parking spaces, better utilisation of parking sensors, cameras, etc.

If resources are utilised judiciously, and the best possible planning is put to use, implementation of better transport system will become all the more effective. Now that we have spoken about opportunities, it is well understood that setbacks will also be faced in the course.

A large part of deployment of IoT is also enabling smart city projects across the country. A recent study by Juniper Research estimated that, “Smart Cities can give back about 125 hours to every resident every year. With the implementation of the IoT technologies to collect and analyse data to improve public infrastructure and services, cities can offer people a significant saving on their personal time.”

While we are striving to become technologically efficient, we are gradually shifting away from the human aspect towards the whole cause. Every city has its unique offerings which, if banked upon well, will empower our quest to smartness. A shift in thinking from technology driven solutions to people-centric ones could help us work towards more inclusive smart cities.

(The writer is CMO & Consumer Business Head, Acer India)

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For smart city, better interlinked transit

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