The emergence of climate change is urging rapid, planned decisions to lower emissions of polluting gases into the atmosphere. Traffic in cities must therefore be organized more effectively to avoid air and noise pollution as much as possible. Therefore, we will 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 like improving or changing industrial processes, lowering pollution in cities is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 2030, especially Goal 11, on creating sustainable cities and communities. Urban pollution affects health and the environment and hinders proper planning and management. To achieve it, policies and practices that promote energy efficiency, the use of renewable energies, and sustainable mobility must be implemented.
What role does technology play in this area of Smart Cities and what will its future role be? Actually, its role will be very important, considering that technological solutions based on artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, and cloud data management help manage resources more efficiently. In the field of urban mobility, too, public administrations and private companies have to work hand in hand.
At Urbiotica, we would like to propose several ways to improve urban mobility management and planning 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 lower pollution as much as possible. We will explain specific ways of applying technology and the benefits it offers in improving management and sustainable mobility strategies in cities, as well as its positive impact on citizens’ health.
It also has an equally positive impact on cities’ economies, where traffic decongestion allows for greater mobility to tourist attractions, leisure sites, shopping areas, hotels, beaches, etc.
Parking lot management with guidance solutions
Parking should be managed efficiently and encompass both on-street spots and private parking. Providing real-time information on the availability of parking spots helps lower traffic congestion (churning traffic), which accounts for up to 30% of all urban traffic, and facilitates access to parking.
Firstly, there are solutions to encourage the use of Park&Ride or deterrent parking areas in city outskirts, thus lowering traffic in the center and improving the driver experience. In these parking lots, a mobile parking guidance application that uses sensors or artificial vision to detect vehicles and connects to variable signage panels is an efficient technology to inform drivers about the availability of parking spots, so drivers find it easy and fast and will therefore be more likely to use it.
These measures will help lower traffic congestion in cities, allowing drivers to access parking spots more quickly and spend less time driving, while also lowering congestion and consequently air and noise pollution.
Efficiency in monitoring loading areas
In urban areas, vehicles parked in unauthorized areas is a common problem that affects the operation of businesses and leads to improper and inefficient urban mobility. One clear example could be how important it is to improve efficiency in monitoring loading and unloading areas as part of urban mobility planning in times of climate change.
What’s more, fewer available parking spots due to measures such as pedestrianization and the creation of bicycle lanes is further complicating the situation. This encourages illegal parking in places that are not permitted, such as loading and unloading areas and spots reserved for people with reduced mobility, electric vehicles, and taxis, among others.
This chain of effects leads to unwanted traffic jams, since there isn’t enough room 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 areas with specific guidance solutions for Park&Ride areas is an additional strategy that can bring significant benefits to urban mobility planning. These solutions combine the detection of vehicles parked in parking spots through the use of sensors or artificial vision, mobile applications, and variable signage panels with the aim of preventing vehicles from entering the city center and instead encouraging them to park in peripheral areas and use alternative means of transport such as public transportation, bicycles, or scooters to get to the center.
The benefits for urban mobility planning include relieving traffic congestion in city centers by redirecting traffic to external parking areas. By preventing vehicles from driving through the center, congestion, noise levels, and air pollution are lowered in these critical areas of the city.
The benefits extend to citizens living or working in urban centers and 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 tech solutions applied in smart cities, such as the pedestrianization 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 lower pollution to prevent global warming from worsening.
- First, it is obvious that planning urban mobility and having cars spend as little time as possible in cities will lead to a drop in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide.
- Secondly, 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.
- Thirdly, cities’ image is improved when mobility and human and vehicle traffic are perceived as easier and faster. In tourist destinations, this is important because it attracts more tourists, and especially quality tourism, with the consequent economic injection.
Therefore, the benefits of urban mobility planning through advanced tech solutions are very clear in terms of health, economics, and citizen wellbeing. At Urbiotica, we recommend applying technology to achieve the goal of sustainable mobility associated with smart cities.
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