Today, it is impossible to think of urban planning and mobility management without including sustainability strategies. Not only because of the improvement of quality of life and infrastructure efficiency today, but also because of the importance of sustainable mobility in the cities of the future.
New technologies that are already developed or will emerge in the coming years will play a key role in this task. Efficient management of all resources to ensure mobility that promotes coexistence between citizens and vehicle users will only be possible with the use of technological solutions.
Why? Because sustainable mobility solutions are a fundamental pillar in improving the way we move around cities. We are talking about both public and private transport networks and private cars, with the promotion of transport that is sustainable and less polluting than vehicles with combustion engines.
Looking ahead to the coming years and decades, what is the importance of sustainable mobility in the cities of the future and what role does technology play? All the points to be addressed are related to urban traffic decongestion, infrastructure efficiency without the need to build anew, decarbonisation of transport and the reduction of CO2 and noise pollution levels.
Keys to sustainable mobility in cities of the future
In particular, we can talk about three keys to sustainable mobility in the cities of the future, and in the next part of the article we will focus on the concrete technologies and solutions needed for sustainable Smart Cities that help fight climate change.
Promoting sustainable transport modes
Sustainable modes of transport and the technology associated with them is an important step towards living in more sustainable and healthier cities. These transports already exist today – underground networks, suburban trains, electric bicycles and scooters, car sharing, etc. – as well as the solutions that make them up.
For this reason, the aim is to expand the use of technologies that are already easy to use and bring greater speed and efficiency to citizens’ smart route planning.
Also worth mentioning is the future importance of electric cars and solutions for controlling parking spaces reserved for electric vehicles. As will be seen later, the management of reserved parking spaces is one of the most important areas where technology will be priority for sustainable mobility in the cities of the future.
Due to the approval of the end of new combustion car sales in Europe from 2035, the automotive industry, Public Administrations (PAs) and private companies will have to further encourage and facilitate the use of electric or hybrid cars, as well as create a wider network of chargers and faster charging times.
Multi-modal means of transport
Multi-modal means of transport managed from centralised digital platforms or apps are another key to the sustainable future of cities. In particular, it is the combination of different modes of transport for efficient, economical and fast journeys in citizens’ daily lives.
In other words, through easy-to-use, accessible technological solutions with real-time information analysis, citizens are offered a combination of city bus, train, underground, bicycle and shared electric scooter routes, as well as Park&Ride areas to reduce the use of private cars in city centres by offering parking on the outskirts and access by other more sustainable means of transport. In addition to being a tool for the promotion of public transport, multi-modal transport management systems allow travellers to plan their fastest routes to destinations. It is the joint action of public authorities, solution providers and private companies that will overcome the challenge of effective coordination to support this combination.
Intelligent optimisation of the management of regulated spaces
Thirdly, the importance of sustainable mobility in the cities of the future also encompasses policies to manage and optimise the management of regulated parking spaces so that there is greater turnover, less traffic in search of free spaces and therefore greater satisfaction (public or private). In fact, this point is no less important than the previous two, as parking options in cities are becoming less and less available and have mostly been converted into reserved parking spaces for special uses (disabled) or regulated parking (loading and unloading, pay-per-parking or free parking for a limited time). This is why they require good digitalised management to ensure that they are used properly, thus favouring vehicle rotation, increasing the availability of available parking spaces, reducing road travel times and increasing traffic flow.
This type of management, also based on innovative technologies such as traffic lights or smart zebra crossings, helps drivers to use the best routes in the shortest possible time. And since an estimated 30% of traffic in cities is caused by vehicles looking for free parking spaces, parking guidance systems make it possible for drivers to find parking sooner.
The environmental benefits are many in this respect: intelligent traffic infrastructures allow for shorter car journeys, especially if parking can be found quickly. As a result, fewer cars are on the road, fewer greenhouse gases (GHG) are emitted into the atmosphere, and noise and its pollution are reduced.
In addition to limiting the stress of driving and improving the quality of life for urban dwellers, there is a further benefit: driving becomes more comfortable and traffic accidents in cities can be reduced.
Technology and sustainable mobility in cities of the future
The methods for promoting sustainable mobility in cities are varied, as are the technological solutions that make them possible. At Urbiotica we are experts in Smart Parking for Smart Cities and we have developed products and solutions that are integrated into these future plans.
Our parking zone detection, guidance and control systems ensure better traffic flow. Therefore, committed to the goal of a society that makes the most of the power of technology, our aim is to encourage more efficient use of city infrastructures to achieve more sustainable mobility.
The reasons are not just about sustainability and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a carbon neutral society. There are also economic aspects associated with attracting sustainable tourism. It attracts a type of visitor who is conscious of respecting and contributing to the environment they visit. This translates into economic benefits for tourist destinations:
- Increased revenue.
- De-seasonalisation of tourism.
- Promotion of the local economy.
These benefits make sustainable tourism not only beneficial from an environmental point of view, but also for the economic development of tourist destinations.
Together we can achieve more advanced and healthier societies, which is only possible by understanding the importance of sustainable mobility in the cities of the future and providing the most advanced solutions and technologies to achieve real sustainability for the common good.
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