The emergence of climate change urges rapid and planned decisions to reduce polluting gas emissions into the atmosphere. Traffic in cities must therefore be organised more effectively to avoid air and noise pollution as far as possible. We will thus talk about what urban mobility planning should look like in times of climate change.
It is important to address this issue because, in addition to other factors such as improving or changing industrial processes, reducing pollution in cities is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Especially Goal 11, which focuses on creating sustainable cities and communities. Urban pollution affects health, the environment and hinders proper planning and management. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to implement policies and practices that promote energy efficiency, the use of renewable energies and sustainable mobility.
What role does technology play in this area of Smart Cities and what will be its role in the future? A very important one, considering that technological solutions based on Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, the Internet of Things and Cloud data management help in more efficient resource management. Also, in the field of urban mobility, public administrations and private companies must work hand in hand.
At Urbiotica we are going to propose some ways to improve the management and planning of urban mobility in times of climate change. This is possible with the use of technologies that ensure that vehicles travel for the shortest possible time in urban areas, including in tourist destinations.
How to plan urban mobility in times of climate change
Here are three very important aspects of urban mobility planning to reduce pollution as much as possible. We will explain concrete ways of applying technology and the benefits it offers for improving management and sustainable mobility strategies in cities, as well as its positive impact on citizens’ health.
Not forgetting the also positive impact on the economy of cities, where it is seen how the decongestion of traffic allows greater mobility of people to tourist attractions, leisure places, shopping areas, hotels, beaches, etc.
Car park management with guidance solutions
Parking should be managed efficiently and take into account both on-street space and private parking. Providing real-time information on the availability of parking spaces helps reduce traffic congestion (churning traffic), which accounts for up to 30% of all urban traffic, and facilitates access to parking.
Firstly there are, for example, solutions to encourage the use of Park&Ride or deterrent parking areas in city outskirts, thus reducing traffic in the centre and improving the driver experience. In these car parks, a mobile parking guidance application that uses sensors or artificial vision to detect vehicles and connects to variable signage panels would be an efficient technology to inform drivers about the availability of parking spaces. In this way, drivers feel that it is easy and fast and will therefore be more likely to use it.
These measures will help reduce traffic congestion in cities, allowing drivers to access parking spaces more quickly, spend less time driving, reduce congestion and consequently reduce air and noise pollution.
Efficiency in the control of loading and unloading areas
In urban areas, improper parking of vehicles in unauthorised areas is a common problem that affects the operation of businesses and leads to improper and inefficient urban mobility. A clear example could be how important it is to improve efficiency in the control of loading and unloading areas as part of urban mobility planning in times of climate change.
What’s more, the reduction of available parking spaces due to measures such as pedestrianisation and the creation of cycle lanes is further complicating the situation. This encourages indiscipline on the part of users, who park in places that are not permitted, such as loading and unloading areas, spaces reserved for people with reduced mobility, spaces for electric vehicles and taxis, among others.
This chain of effects leads to unwanted traffic jams, as there is not enough space on the roads for proper vehicle circulation. The result is more traffic congestion and higher levels of air and noise pollution due to the constant honking of horns from drivers frustrated at not being able to drive normally. These road situations also have a negative impact on people’s health due to the associated stress.
Use of external deterrent parking areas
The use of external deterrent parking zones with specific guidance solutions for Park&Ride areas is an additional strategy that can bring significant benefits in urban mobility planning. These solutions combine the detection of vehicles parked in parking spaces through the use of sensors or artificial vision, mobile applications and variable signage panels with the aim of preventing vehicles from entering the city centre and instead parking in peripheral areas, using alternative means of transport such as public transport, bicycles or scooters to get to the centre.
Its benefits for urban mobility planning include the relieving of traffic congestion in city centres by redirecting traffic to external parking areas. By preventing vehicles from driving through the centre, it reduces congestion, noise levels and air pollution in these critical areas of the city.
The benefits extend to citizens living or working in urban centres and to local businesses. Fewer vehicles in these areas provide greater pedestrian comfort and improve air quality.
This technology complements other possible measures from municipal administrations, beyond the technological solutions applied in smart cities, such as the pedestrianisation of the most central streets.
Advantages of urban mobility planning
In conclusion, we would reiterate the advantages of planning urban mobility in times of climate change, due to the urgent need to reduce pollution to prevent worsening global warming.
- First, it is obvious that planning urban mobility and cars spending as little time as possible in cities will lead to a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide.
- Second, fewer vehicles will mean less noise pollution. This is very important because, according to data from the European Environment Agency, 1,000 people die every year in Spain and some 4,000 require hospital admission due to this type of pollution.
- Third, the image of cities is improved when mobility and people and vehicle transit are perceived as easier and faster. In tourist destinations, this has the importance of attracting more tourists, and quality tourism with the consequent economic injection.
Therefore, the benefits of urban mobility planning through advanced technological solutions are very clear in terms of health, economy and well-being of citizens. At Urbiotica, we therefore recommend applying technology to achieve the goal of sustainable mobility associated with smart cities.
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