Definitions of Smart Mobility, like Smart Communities, are never crystal clear and agreed to, however, for the purposes of this blog, let’s use the EU Commission’s definition of a Smart City as … a city seeking to address public issues via ICT-based solutions on the basis of a multi-stakeholder, municipally based partnership. By extension, the related focus on Smart Mobility refers to ICT Supported and Integrated Transport and Logistics Systems, prioritising clean and often non-motorised options for urban areas. The result of such a smart mobility focus would benefit the community by enacting public policies supporting ICT-enabled strategies creating “sustainable, safe and interconnected transportation systems, such as trams, buses, trains, metros, cars, cycles and pedestrians in situations using one or more modes of transport. [But it would also] support relevant and real-time information, accessed by the public in order to save time and improve commuting efficiency, save costs and reduce CO2 emissions, as well as network transport managers to improve services and provide feedback to citizens.” Similarly, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are defined as “the application of advanced and emerging technologies (computers, sensors, control, communications, and electronic devices) in transportation to save lives, time, money, energy and the environment.”
As we develop these smart communities that, in theory, are to bring efficient and effective smart mobility solutions to everyday urban living, perhaps we should look toward creating a more holistic strategy embracing creation of intelligent communities, along with intelligent mobility solutions. Intelligent Communities look beyond efficiencies and cost effectiveness toward becoming more people-centric through a virtuous circle of benefits derived from the creation of a broadband-based economy. Intelligent Communities believe strongly in all of the technology-supported smart community initiatives, especially encouraging development of smart infrastructure, such as extensive deployment of robust, high-speed broadband and wireless networks necessary for these urban communities to grow and thrive as well as its related data- and information-based decision-making that it generates.
However, the Intelligent Community movement also suggests that as the technology is developed and used, society must also use the opportunity in parallel to evolve and leverage much more than efficiencies and cost-effectiveness in the wake of the new ecosystem that it creates. This new focus on technology and data enabled environments will create opportunities for a broader base of education for its population on all aspects of smart mobility, from research to design and from data development and management to mobility as a service industry. Training knowledge workers extensively in the mobility industry and increasingly training them to be involved in “mobility as a service” would be one of the key deliverables in an intelligent community with mobility as a prime focus for the community. Through aligning the efforts of smart mobility infrastructure with trained knowledge workers, a community innovation ecosystem will be able to create and innovate new applications. An innovation ecosystem built around smart mobility and smart people leading to smart innovation in transportation and logistics, will also help to foster unparalleled economic growth and prosperity. This will also create opportunities to deal with environmental challenges, a key deliverable resulting from evolving as an Intelligent Community. With a thriving economic platform and innovation ecosystem resulting from smart technologies and supported by education, the community’s social and cultural benefits must also be considered. Social inclusion, ramped up by digital opportunities is another key criteria of Intelligent Communities. Public advocacy of these principles is rooted in public participation, secured by public policy, and strategically funded and led by excellent leadership. These criteria are at the heart of the Intelligent Community movement. Like Intelligent Communities, Intelligent Mobility goes beyond the technology-enabled efficiencies and cost-effectiveness to provide a holistic opportunity of community-wide benefits.
This series of blogs will identify aspects of current smart mobility in several Intelligent Communities around the world, as recognized by ICF. The Forum and its partner ICF Institutes study how communities transform themselves through use of information and communications technology to plan for, design and build better towns and cities where innovation environments are developed, inclusive prosperity is practiced, social problems are solved and their quality of life is able to be enriched. While benefiting from the efficiencies and cost-effective productivity that smart mobility offers them, they also learned to leverage them to build an overall “intelligent community ecosystem.”
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