The smartest cities of the world that have taken traffic intelligence a step ahead

Imagine a future where ‘no honking’ signs would find themselves redundant. Parked cars would not block your way on Link Road in Mumbai west. SV Road would be controlled by automated traffic signals with instructions for pedestrians. Mumbai Metro stations will no longer have long winding queues before metal detectors. Nobody will die because of drunk driving or freak accidents on the Western and Eastern Express Highways. It sounds too good to be true at this point. But some cities in the world have successfully applied intelligent traffic solutions to eradicate all the traffic issues that cripple modern life.

The city of Barcelona is known for its art, history and the ubiquitous love for football. And now it has also mastered the art of utilising technology to its advantage. Barcelona ranks high on the metrics of road safety, traffic technologies, technological capability, use of open data, citizen engagement etc. IOT technology led intelligent traffic system include smart parking, where networked sensors enable congestions easing through driver communications, smart street lighting where LEDs and smart controllers enable reduced energy consumption according to footfall and traffic analysis. Barcelona has also designed a new bus network based on data analysis of the most common traffic flows in Barcelona, utilising primarily vertical, horizontal and diagonal routes with a number of interchanges. Integration smart solutions and traffic technologies can be seen through the implementation of smart traffic lights as buses run on routes designed to optimise the number of green lights.

The Dutch capital’s smart city initiative began in the year 2009. It currently includes 79 projects developed by local residents, Government and businesses. These projects run on an interconnected platform through wireless devices. These projects are focussed on reducing traffic, saving energy and improving road safety. Mobypark is a resident developed app, which allows owners of parking spaces to rent them out for a fee. Other initiatives include flexible street lighting (smart lighting) which allows municipalities to control the brightness of street lights, and intelligent traffic management where traffic is monitored in real time by the City and information about current travel time on certain roads is broadcast to allow motorists to determine the best routes to take.

Stockholm’s smart city technology is wired by the Stokab dark fibre system which was developed to provide a universal fibre optic network across Stockholm. The company is owned by the City of Stockholm itself. Within this framework, Stockholm has created a Green IT strategy, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of Stockholm through IT functions (minimising heating costs), traffic monitoring (minimising the time spent on the road) and development of e-services (minimising paper usage). The e-Stockholm platform is centred on the provision of e-services, including political announcements, parking space booking and snow clearance. This is further being developed through GPS analytics, allowing residents to plan their route through the city. An example of district-specific intelligent solutions can be found in the Kista Science City region.

Hong Kong:
Till now, Europe has dominated the list. However Asia isn’t far behind. It’s no secret that our Eastern neighbour, China is one of the leading innovators and manufacturers of innovative and cost-effective technology. And Hong Kong, one of the biggest cities in China, finds its place secured among some of the top scoring cities utilising traffic technology solutions to increase the pace of life and improve living conditions. Hong Kong scores well in key areas, including the digital governance ranking. It is experimenting with RFID technology in its airport, as well as throughout the agriculture supply chain. The city has also been a leader in the use and adoption of smart cards, which are already used by millions of residents for services like mass transportation, library access, building access, shopping, and car parking.

With these cities paving the way to traffic technology solutions making public life smooth and hassle free, we can hope that India won’t be far behind. And we will see a day where mass transportation , parking , traffic will no longer be looked at as woes in cities like Delhi, Mumbai or the rural belts of India. To make this transformation a reality, Traffic InfraTech Expo 2016 brings together the best brains of the traffic industry with their innovative traffic solutions.