The world has become a smaller place in the last few decades. People from one place easily travel to the opposite corner of the globe very easily. The population has increased substantially over the last few years as there are more than seven billion people in this world today. Intracity, intercity, between towns and cities, and between states and countries, people are constantly traveling every day. People travel to work, students travel to schools, and people get out and use roads and transport facilities to travel for recreational purposes and to meet friends and loved ones. People are constantly on the move in major cities and towns all over the world. For the first time in the civilized world, more people live in cities and urban centers than in rural areas. Besides people, modes of transport are used extensively to move goods and services from one place to another.
Transport Problems and Traffic Congestion
Commuting from one place to another requires a mode of transport. The different modes of transport include airways, roadways, railways, cable car lines, trams, and waterways. Because of the increased population, the traffic on all modes of transport has substantially increased. Vehicular traffic, in particular, has grown tremendously and this has caused traffic jams, and road blockages which last for hours. A journey in top cities across the world from one place to another that takes 15 minutes often takes more than an hour. Transport systems all over the world greatly contribute to environmental damage and in the 21st century, it is very important to find a solution to problems faced in the transport sector. If the cities are to sustain the increased mobility of people the transport system worldwide needs to adopt a smart mobility plan to help improve transport conditions all over the world. There are also a high number of transport accidents in today’s world and there is a need to reduce this number and protect lives.
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Smart Mobility is a key element of the concept of Smart City. Smart Mobility is a concept that aims to solve the problems of commuting, traffic and transport development of systems that provide a seamless, efficient and flexible travel journey for commuters that solves the various problems of transportation. The basic aims of smart mobility are the reduction of air pollution, reduction of traffic congestion, to increase the safety of commuters, improving the commute time, improving noise pollution and reduction of transport costs to make transportation more affordable to average people in the world. The following are some of the elements of smart mobility which help achieve the aims of Smart Mobility:
Clean or Eco-Friendly Vehicles
Transport systems contribute to air pollution, noise pollution and cause environmental damage on a large scale. Vehicles that use alternative fuels like LPG, Methane, Bio-diesel, hydrogen, clean electricity and fuel cell are all using clean renewable sources of energy. Most cars and transport vehicles all over the world still use conventional sources of energy which are limited and also cause a lot of harm to the environment. Every country has guidelines for types of vehicles that can be termed as clean or environmentally friendly vehicles that do not pollute the environment. Many cities have started using clean energy for their public transport systems. Tax incentives are given to people opting for clean energy vehicles which help promote such vehicles.
Car Pooling & Ridesharing Services
Many people from the same neighborhood go to work in the same area or go to drop their kids at the same school. Carpooling is a concept where 3-4 people who have a daily commute to the same area and back everyday travel together using one car every day. Carpoolers take turns in using every person’s car and this saves fuel, time and also helps ease congestion on roads. Car sharing is encouraged as traffic jams and high costs of fuel and having lesser cars on the roads is environmentally friendly. Ridesharing services are becoming increasingly popular all over the world. People can just use an app on the phone to order a car or taxi or any other mode of transport to the exact requested location within minutes. This convenient option is making it easier to use such services than owning and maintaining cars. The fewer cars on the road the better for congestion, pollution and makes it easier and faster for commuters to go from one place to another.
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Multi-Modal Integrated Transport Systems
Smart Mobility includes a multi-modal integrated transport system. This means a smart city that adopts smart mobility has to plan this type of transportation system. It means that different modes of transport must be precisely linked with each other in such a way that commuters can use one mode of transport after another to reach a destination. This seamlessly integrated transport system means that for example if a commuter takes the bus to the railway station to catch a train; there should be busses that reach the railway station in time for the commuter to catch a train. Integrated transport systems involve all modes of transport and an efficient transport system that commuters trust, help to reduce traffic, congestion, and pollution and helps commuters to reach their destinations in the fastest amount of time.
- The automotive navigation system is a data system that uses satellite data to give the positional location of a vehicle directly in the vehicle. Installing navigation systems in every vehicle improves the safety of people traveling in vehicles and also improves the efficiency of the vehicles and helps reduce and improve the commute time.
- Electrical vehicles are very eco-friendly but charging stations are very limited. A smart mobility infrastructure includes an increase in electric charging units.
- Infrastructure for smart mobility includes automated fare collection, automated traffic signals, and automated toll collection stations help improve commute time and makes transport seamless and more efficient.
- Parking guidance systems, automatic vehicle locating systems, accessibility to weather data, traffic data and data related to emergency services all help in the smooth flow of traffic and help curb congestion and increase the safety of citizens on the road.
- Smart mobility infrastructure includes speed limit signs, bicycle lanes on all roads, designing public schedules and school schedules in the city to avoid congestion, pedestrian free zones help improve traffic and auto-free zones to help pedestrians walk from one place to another and increase in the number of public transport vehicles in the city.
Smart mobility concept is part of the smart city concept which makes the city more efficient, environmentally friendly and easier to commute. As millions of people leave rural areas every year and move to the cities all over the world, traffic jams, congestion problems and environmental pollution due to vehicular traffic is likely to only increase all over the world. Adopting the smart mobility elements and concepts is one of the only ways that cities and towns will be able to cope with different challenges in transportation that exist today and are likely to exist in the future. Being environmentally friendly is something that is not just a popular thing to do, it is vital for human survival in the world today. Smart mobility is being adopted all over the world and there are many benefits to this system as mentioned above.
Also Read: How Smart Cities are leading Urbanization?