Smart Mobility – Solving Urban Traffic Challanges
Urbanization is a process by which the economic activities are concentrated in a geographical space which enables the agglomeration of people. The process of urbanization takes place when the number of people living in the urban area increases. Rural to urban migration is the most common aspect of urbanization. India saw the speed of urbanization increase at an accelerated pace post-independence.
India is a mixed economy, with both public and private sectors operating simultaneously.
- The development of private sectors helps in building healthy competition as a result of which consumers get to choose what they want at a fair price. The flip side of this is that the industries and factories are causing an exodus of large population from the rural and semi urban areas to the urban areas. Thereby resulting in land fragmentation and over population of urban areas which in turn creates slums. E.g. Dharavi in Mumbai is one of the largest slums in the world and home to almost a million people.
- The growth of the public sector has resulted in the development of roads, an increase in water supply, and the development of the urban infrastructure facilitating urban migration.
Although urbanization has benefitted us in the long run, rapid urbanization, has resulted in traffic congestion which has caused a negative impact on the society. People residing in urban areas in India according to the1901 census, was 11.4 percent. This count increased to 28.3% according to the 2001 census and crossing 30% as per the 2011 census. It is expected that by 2050, 75% of the population will shift to urban centers.
Ease of travelling from one point to another, effective movement of goods and commodities, and the flexibility of different modes of transportation are the key aspects of mobility for the present and the future generations. The transportation sector covers half the consumption of the crude oil present in the environment.
Traffic congestion, aging infrastructure and rapid urbanization are escalating the needs for essential mobility solutions.
Major causes of Traffic Congestion are:
- Increase in the number of vehicles.
- The growth in the number of the neo-middle class people has led to an increase in lone travelers, congesting roads.
- Poor public transport infrastructure acts as an incentive to go for private vehicles.
- Poor urban transport infrastructure.
- Lack of separate ways for pedestrians, cycles, buses etc.
- Damaged or poorly leveled roads.
- Frequent underground repair work, damaging the roads and temporary blockage of roads.
- Inefficient traffic management especially during peak hours.
Transportation networks in most of the urban centers are highly packed, and any small interruption may result in traffic congestion for a long period, causing inconvenience to the public. Transportation systems with pollutants and emissions have a very negative impact on our ecosystem causing climate change and global warming.
What is Smart Mobility?
Smart Mobility is a new technology tool to achieve sustainable city development. It helps to reduce traffic congestion and in turn nurtures faster, greener and cheaper transportation options. We are facing several societal challenges owing to the everlasting demand for mobility which is putting an immense pressure on our environment.
The only game changer in this scenario is Technology:
- Intelligent Transport Systems
- Automotive Technology
- Logistics and Planning Systems
- Information and communication technology
- Embedded systems
All these technologies play an important role in helping the world transition towards smarter and sustainable mobility. More than 200 researchers are contributing to make transport and mobility more intelligent, safer, cleaner and environmental friendly.
The Components of Smart Mobility are:
- Mixed Modal Access.
- Clean and Non-Motorized Options
- Integrated ICT
Mixed Modal Access or Mixed Mode Commuting encompasses using two or more modes of transportation in a journey. The major goal of modern mixed modal access is to reduce the dependence on automobiles as the major mode of ground transportation and increase the usage of public transport.
Clean and Non-Motorized Options is a key element in providing clean urban transport by reducing the usage of private vehicles and making walking and cycling more attractive while improving public transport.
This can be done by a range of activities including the construction of sidewalks and bike lanes, bike sharing programs, urban planning and pedestrian oriented development, congestion pricing, fuel taxes, and address security concerns of pedestrians and cyclists.
Non-Motorized options are cost effective transportation methods which bring about, economic, social and health benefits for the urban poor and can be stimulated by a policy package consisting of:
- Investment in facilities
- Awareness campaigns
- Smart urban planning
- Improved public transport
- Hindrances for the use of motorized private vehicles
Integrated ICT: the deployment of ICT mobility related services can help reduce the challenges caused by urban transport. ICT can enable the full integration of urban mobility system i.e. integrating collective and private modes of transportation including public and private vehicles. It therefore enables advanced traffic management.
A smart city uses data, information and communication technologies strategically to:
- Provide more efficient, new or enhanced services to citizens
- Monitor and track government progress towards policy outcomes, including meeting climate change mitigation and adaption goals
- Manage and optimize the existing infrastructure
- Enable innovative business models for the public and private sector service provision
Why do we need Smart Mobility?
With the increase in the growth of cities, urban transportation systems are also on the rise causing traffic congestion, intimidating safety of the public, wasting commuters’ time and fuel which in turn effects the environment. The Government of India is focused on implementing high technology solutions such as in-vehicle technologies that consist of speed governors, GPS, CCTV monitoring, facial recognition etc. for better security measures.
Solutions to achieve Smart Mobility
New technologies to curb the rapid speed of urbanization and traffic congestion are:
- Parking solutions (Smart Parking and Parking Management)
- CCTV Monitoring (Automated Number plate recognition and Facial recognition)
- Real time public notifications.
- Electronic Tolling Stations
- Speed control systems
1.Parking Solution: Parking solution consists of two aspects:
- Smart parking deals with parking on and off street locations. This technology allows people or customers to find spaces for parking easily and quickly. Smart parking helps in the identification of parking spaces, navigates and makes available spaces for the customers to park their vehicles in the appropriate places with the support of the mobile application. This type of technology helps in optimizing parking space usage, building and improving the efficiency of parking operations and aids in controlling and reducing traffic congestion.
- Parking Management includes a variety of solutions that enables efficient use of existing parking facilities. It helps in improving the parking facility design and provides solution to track and manage the parking.
It also provides several technologies to facilitate parking. These include Boom barrier integration, RFID, smart cards, sensors, smart parking apps, revenue management and analytics etc.
There are several specific parking management strategies such as:
- Shared parking facility, this is a practice to make existing parking spaces available to more than one person. This type of parking involves the use of existing parking space intended for parking cars when the owner is not using it.
- Regulating parking use by encouraging more efficient ways of using parking resources and travelling.
- Mobility management and parking prices
- Improving walking and cycling conditions to expand the range of destinations serviced by parking facilities.
- Improving parking facility design and operations to help solve problems and support parking management.
2.CCTV Monitoring involves automated number plate recognition and facial recognition.
- Automated number plate recognition can identify standardized vehicle registration numbers of moving vehicles and it can link the information to a data base. This technology is used by the police forces around the world for law enforcement purposes, including to check if the vehicle is registered or licensed.
- Facial Recognition
3.Real Time Public Notification: Variable Message Signage has been developed to provide real time information on the following:
- Traffic congestion update
- Crime update
- Event update
- Weather update
- Direction update
It is an electronic traffic sign used on roadways to help the public on updates related to traffic congestion and events. In urban areas, variable message signage is used within parking guidance and information systems, to guide drivers to available parking spaces thereby saving time and money. Depending on the traffic situation, variable message signage warns and guides the motorists on highways, expressways, and arterial roads of the city by displaying routing and rerouting information, traffic updates and event updates.
4.Electronic Tolling Stations are developed globally to ensure autonomous tolling and aims to eliminate traffic congestion on the tolling roads. This technology involves:
- Automatic Vehicle Classification
- Lane Detection
- Automatic Vehicle Tracking
This system uses RFID based e-tolling solutions, RFID based vehicle access control, vehicle tracking and vehicle identification.
5.Speed Limit Control System:
- Easily monitors the speed of the vehicles.
- Reports vehicles to the police database.
- Speed governors have been made mandatory by the union Government for all commercial vehicles from 31stJanuary 2017.
A system known as Lidar is being developed in most countries. This helps law enforcers to book vehicles violating the speed. In some developing countries like India, digital speed boards are installed on roads which inform the police whether vehicles are within the speed limit or not. These devices are fitted with radar sensors that can estimate the speed of the vehicles which are then displayed on the LED screen. CCTV cameras are also being placed in most areas to monitor the speed of vehicles.
Smart mobility emerges as a pivotal component in the development of a smart city. Infrastructure and investment are the twin components which will help India realize its dream of building 100 smart cities within the next few years.
Viechnicki, P., Dr., Khuperkar, A., Fishman, T. D., & Eggers, W. D. (n.d.). Smart mobility: Reducing congestion and fostering faster, greener, and cheaper transportation options. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/industry/public-sector/smart-mobility-trends.html
Urbanisation in India. (2017, March 14). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urbanisation_in_India
Urbanization in India: Facts and Issues. (2014, October 30). Retrieved May 24, 2017, from https://www.insightsonindia.com/2014/10/29/urbanization-in-india-facts-and-issues/