5 urban mobility innovations for large cities

With growth in urban population, traffic congestion, air pollution and the need for more environmentally responsible mobility solutions, a number of technologies have emerged to address these challenges. In this article, we outline some of the key mobility innovations that city authorities and companies in major cities have turned to in order to improve citizens’ quality of life and move towards more sustainable smart cities.

1. Electric vehicles

People are increasingly concerned about their impact on the planet and this environmental awareness has the reduction of carbon emissions in large cities among its main objectives. This is where innovations such as electric vehicles play an important role in urban mobility, especially following the implementation of strategies such as Low Emission Zones in several cities with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging the use of cleaner technologies in urban transport.

Although the infrastructure required for their use remains a challenge, more and more research is being done on how to install and manage charging areas for electric vehicles in cities. In this context, it would be useful and easy to adapt smart parking solutions already in place in many cities to enable drivers to rapidly locate not only parking spaces, but also available charging stations.

Similarly, in recent years there has been talk of autonomous vehicles equipped with sensors and real-time navigation systems such as those mentioned above that can revolutionise urban mobility, improving traffic efficiency by reducing accidents and optimising vehicle flow. Countries such as Singapore and the United States are already conducting trials in controlled environments to see how they can be safely brought into cities.

2. Micro-mobility

As a result of this environmental awareness, micro-mobility has also emerged in connection with the use of small and light forms of personal transport such as scooters, bicycles and electric scooters. These forms of transport are perfect for short distances, and are a fast and ecological way to move around the city, with silent operation to reduce both environmental and noise pollution. Micromobility has been gaining popularity in major cities around the world thanks to companies that facilitate its use through location and booking applications.

Cities are preparing more and more spaces for this type of transport, thus offering users a more environmentally friendly alternative with which to move around the city centre with ease. In this transition towards more sustainable mobility, some cities have set up Park&Ride smart parking areas at strategic points on the edge, with good connections to the city centre. This allows users to park their personal vehicles in the outskirts and conveniently travel around without worrying about traffic or the availability of parking spaces.

3. Shared mobility

The rise of platforms such as Uber, Bolt and BlaBlaCar has encouraged the use of car sharing. With this, users can book and share short or long distance journeys, thus helping to reduce the number of vehicles on urban roads.

Efficient management of these services is achieved through advanced technologies that analyse real-time data to connect drivers and users through mobile applications. They offer users convenience and flexibility and optimise the use of transport resources.

4. Smart infrastructures

Cities have been implementing smart infrastructures consisting of innovative technologies capable of optimising traffic and improving safety on urban roads. Some of these smart systems are equipped with sensors that monitor vehicle flow in real time to detect congestion and direct traffic to less busy areas through signage panels.

Other systems have algorithms based on artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning that detect parking space occupancy with technologies to process images taken by compatible cameras, facilitating the search for free spaces. Cities such as Barcelona and Amsterdam have already implemented smart infrastructures as part of their efforts to optimise urban mobility.

U-Spot VISIO: detección I.A plaza a plaza

U-Spot VISIO: A.I. Single space detection

The space-by-space detection software uses Artificial Intelligence to detect the entry and exit of vehicles in each parking space in real time.
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5. Urban Distribution of Goods

Optimising the handling of the delivery or collection of goods in cities is also a factor to be considered in improving urban mobility. In addition to the use of smart lockers or aerial alternatives such as drones, which are still in the testing phase, smart control systems for loading and unloading areas have proven to be useful solutions to address this issue.

These intelligent control systems make it easier to locate spaces reserved specifically for delivery drivers, helping to optimise journey times and avoiding lengthy searches and double-parking that can block traffic on the streets. By allowing efficient goods delivery, this improves traffic flow and reduces operational costs for logistics and transport companies, while optimising the management of their resources.

Furthermore, by avoiding congestion in loading and unloading areas, these smart systems help to reduce the risk of accidents caused by abrupt parking manoeuvres.

At Urbiotica, we know that innovations in urban mobility are changing the way we move around large cities and that smart parking solutions are able to offer more efficient management; from technologies for guidance in city centres through sensors and signage panels to the control of parking spaces reserved for loading and unloading. As these innovative technologies continue to evolve and be applied to other areas, we will see even greater changes in urban mobility in the cities of the future.

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