City planners across America face a huge transportation challenge in the next decade. They must build smart cities that seamlessly link individuals to transportation infrastructure through mobile communications. Factors that will influence future development include population growth, aging, and the need for more efficient public transportation. The term "urban mobility" refers to the combination of collective, individual, and freight transportation.
Large congested metropolitan areas particularly need modern city planning that calls for diverse forms of mobility, from bicycling to riding trains. Too much traffic congestion reduces organizational productivity, so promoting alternative transportation reduces the strain on city streets.
Meanwhile, more and more cars are populating the streets, which works against the need to reduce emissions. The total number of cars on the planet is expected to double to 2 billion by 2040, according to the World Economic Forum. Urban planners must act quickly in the coming years to offer a variety of transportation alternatives to driving an automobile.
Why System Transformation is Necessary
Megacities, which are giant metros of 10 million or more residents, will be home to 750 million people in the world by 2030, according to the United Nations. These major cities must meet an urban mobility challenge that calls for improved mobility that reduces the problems of congestion, pollution, and accidents. The solution requires envisioning an interconnected community ecosystem that supports various forms of transport.
At one point, cities looked toward on-demand, shared-mobility applications as solutions to traffic problems. But without municipal intervention, many cities often end up accepting proposals from a variety of sources that bid on local government contracts. The two most important components of an effective urban transport system are:
- Integrated mobility management system - The city's transportation infrastructure that gathers data from various sources, connecting with smart sensors in traffic lights, parking meters, and toll booths.
- Digital customer interface - This mobility platform dashboard displays the various transportation choices a city offers.
Transportation controllers of the future will be able to help residents and travelers meet their mobility requirements more reliably. Here are the key areas in which local leaders will be able to make transformative changes to local transportation systems:
• Cross-Modal Transport Bundling - Travelers will have broader transport options through bundled services in which they can prepay for multimodal fares or use the pay-as-you-go method. People will also have the option to pay monthly subscriptions. Bundling will help travelers shift between transport modes seamlessly. The combination of bundling and ridesharing, along with other travel mode alternatives, can help reduce the need for people to drive their own vehicles.
• Robust Wireless Connectivity - Smart cities will be designed to integrate with a wide array of mobile devices, facilitating a more productive society that saves people time. Smart connected vehicles will provide new options that speed up processes, such as parking, by allowing drivers to reserve parking spaces through digital communication.
• Improved Traffic Management - Traffic control systems can now collect data and monitor traffic conditions, which can play a role in reducing accidents and congestion. Cities can place connected LED signs around town that alert drivers of detours and warn about weather conditions.
• Cross-Modal Transport Optimization - Traffic officials can encourage citizens to use different forms of transport to deal with overcrowded streets. Emphasizing underutilized transport modes can help provide more balance in the ecosystem.
How Mobility Will Affect Businesses of the Future
• Expand Worker Skills - One of the keys to business survival in the future, besides moving toward digital transformation, will be for companies to seek employees with evolving capabilities and skills. Workers who keep exploring new technology and learn how to accomplish tasks more efficiently will be in demand.
• Maintain Strong Governance and Social Responsibility - Companies need to demonstrate transparency through governance. As the public becomes more concerned about sustainability issues, increased emphasis will be put on social responsibility as part of city planning for greater mobility. In other words, public safety must be prioritized.
• Open Doors to Relevant Partnership Opportunities - Small businesses that partner with other small businesses will have competitive advantages. It can contribute to integrated transport solutions and community services.
It's up to local leaders to take the initiative toward enhancing urban mobility in cities across the nation. Success will depend on integrating new technology with real-time analytics to create solutions that prioritize the needs of residents. Strategic coordination of public and private partnerships is necessary to develop mobility solutions that produce the speed, flexibility, and sustainability residents demand. By actively working towards a shared vision of the future, municipalities can orchestrate collaborations that will create the urban mobility ecosystems of tomorrow, today.