Smart Mobility- Decongestion of Urban Areas

As part of a more interconnected world, our cities are playing an increasingly active role in the global economy. Urban growth is largely driven by economic development and will dramatically change the scale and nature of our communities. This will put a tremendous strain on the infrastructure that delivers vital services like transport, electricity, water, and communications.

In the field of transportation, we need to provide the infrastructure required to support our mobility needs. For example, instead of building additional road capacity, there is more reliance nowadays on using technologies to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure and sweating of assets. Support for these technologies is expected to increase in future years given the limited budgets available to governments, and the increased awareness of the role of urban technologies in optimizing asset performance.

As cities grow and expand, urban transportation systems will have to evolve to grapple with issues such as traffic congestion, safety, wasting commuter time and valuable fuel, and adverse impact on the environment. The Government of India is focused on installation of technology solutions like in-vehicle technologies that consist of speed governors, GPS and CCTV cameras which will enhance security.

Collectively known as Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), these technology-driven urban mobility systems are now widely recognized as a cost-effective solution for enabling smart transport infrastructure outcomes.

Technologies for smart mobility around the world:

New emerging technologies have the potential to make our roads and transit systems safer, greener and more efficient. Following are some of the technologies that will shape up the future of our world:

  1. Hyperloop: Hyperloop is a tube-based inter and intra-city transportation system for passengers and cargo. Drastic reduction of air in the tube along with magnetic levitation and propulsion allows capsules to move through the tube with nearly zero friction and safely accelerate to airplane speeds. And this is all powered by a combination of alternative energy and energy conservation systems.
  2. Maglev Trains: Magnetic levitation” trains are already in operation in Shanghai and Japan. A magnetic force lifts and propels the train using a minimal amount of energy compared to diesel-powered or electric-powered trains. The trains whisk passengers along at up to 310 miles per hour. A planned maglev train will transport passengers over 200 miles between Nagoya and Tokyo in just 40 minutes, helping to free congested roads, reduce air pollution, and reduce accidents. The main issue with this train is its inflated cost of development.
  3. Autonomous vehicles: An autonomous car is a vehicle that can guide itself without human conduction. This kind of vehicle has become a concrete reality and may change the future systems where computers take over the art of driving. An autonomous car is also known as driverless car. These cars can look for exit ramps, detect buildings, stop suddenly for other cars and change speeds as and when needed. Autonomous cars use various kinds of technologies. They can be built with GPS sensing knowledge to help with navigation. They may use sensors and other equipment to avoid collisions. They also can use a range of technology known as augmented reality, where a vehicle displays information to drivers in new and innovative ways.
  4. Smart Cars: One way to solve transportation problems in major cities is to make the cars smaller and smarter. Smart cars have been around for many years. Many automakers, offer electric vehicles which are more energy saving.
  5. Pod cars: These futuristic transport vehicles will offer an environmentally friendly, clean energy alternative for urban transportation. Pod Cars are automated driverless vehicles that will operate on elevated/underground shuttle networks or traditional roadways in the near future using personal rapid transit systems.
    Personal rapid transit (PRT) is a new public transportation system designed for swift travel in congested areas. These Pod Car networks will operate much like traditional rail and streetcar networks, on raised platforms above busy roads and highways (or underground). Pod Cars will be convenient, affordable to operate and beneficial to the environment as they are powered by electricity.
  6. Cars and other vehicles generate traffic related data, which is stored and accumulated in cloud. With the help of artificial intelligence, data is analyzed. They help predict long term effects such as variable road conditions and weather parameters. These insights are compiled into dynamic map in real time. Dynamic maps are organized into multiple layers for different purposes. It helps to realize safe and smooth flow of traffic. For example, if an accident occurs, all the vehicles individually will be rerouted to avoid the risk of congestion. Moreover, each vehicle will grasp the surrounding risk in advance and slow down if necessary, so that drivers can experience safe and comfortable journey.
  7. In regions with poor access for transportation, community vehicles operated by local administration can pick up residents in accordance with their schedules and take them automatically to their destinations. The vehicles can also assist in reserving hospital appointments or receive medical enquiries before arrival. Furthermore, the vehicle can continue to assist in providing numerous services such as sending medical reports along with the vehicle details to your nearby family members etc.
  8. Logistics will be more safe and efficient for long distance transportation. Reduction of air resistance will help to cut down on fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Detection of abnormal sounds and vibrations and the ability to predict the failure of parts in a vehicle will help in avoiding road accidents.

Urban mobility is no longer about commuting with the help of motorized vehicles. What people really need is easy accessibility to various urban services.
For example, the Walkable City concept (being implemented in New York and other cities), smart bike sharing systemsLeap in San Francisco (an ICT-enabled on-demand transit service), and Uber (an ICT-enabled ride-sharing service) have enabled many people to enjoy an urban lifestyle without owning a private vehicle. There has been a continuous decline in the motorized traffic volume in some of the countries.

The rapid development of ICT and subsequent ICT-enabled transport services has enormous potential to turn new urban mobility concepts into realities at an amazing speed and scale.  For example, Zipcar, an ICT-enabled car sharing service provider in the United States, has been able to significantly reduce motorized trips. Each Zipcar replaces 15 private cars on the road, and every Zipcar driver drives 80 percent less than if they used their own cars. However, not all the ICT enabled transport solutions are considered as smart mobility. For example, those so-called “smart parking” systems or mobile phone apps that help car drivers to easily find cheap, available parking lots in city centers, will only help the drivers and the navigators to drive conveniently without traffic and thus could encourage more people to drive instead of walking, biking or using public transport, and therefore contribute to more motorized traffic.

As we embrace more and more new innovative technologies in the transport sector, we need to develop a new framework to guide urban mobility. The benefits of investing in smart mobility systems are compelling, particularly given the improvements that could be made in terms of providing innovative solutions to lift our economic efficiency and productivity.


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24/7, J. K. (n.d.). Smart Mobility: Shaping the Future of Logistics. Retrieved November 29, 2017, from

Five future transportation technologies that will actually happen. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2017, from

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