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Monday , 15 July 2024

Designing Mobility in Smart City

Seamless travel, smart corridors, dynamic collection & use of data… all parts of designing Smart Mobility. However, equally important are health of the people. Carbon footprints and above all a holistic approach say Guy Perry, City & Strategy, Essel Infra Projects, Thomas Meyer, Director Sales & Business Development, Gevas Software, Prasun Agrawal, Founding Partner, Gaia Smart Cities, Prashun Dutta, Advisor, Gaia Smart Cities and ex-CIO, Reliance Infra & Tata Power and Rupesh Mehta, Group IT, Reliance Infrastructure in a discussion at the TrafficInfraTech/Parking InfraTech Expo 2016 on a Panel discussion on A Smart City Perspective


There is a need to fix the roads, change the plans of the city and to create more efficient lifestyle patterns.
– Guy Perry

Guy Perry: While planning a Smart City, one of the criteria that we look at to determine whether a city is performing well or not, is regarding the wellbeing of the citizens. For example: Many of us will agree that Dubai is a ‘Smart City’, involving a lot of technology and world-class engineers. However, if you look at the most basic measures whether the city is successful or not, it might be deemed far from ideal. The average life expectancy of people/resident in Dubai is 77, with an average of 67 healthy years. And the environmental impact would require four planets if everyonenwere to live their way. Can this be considered as a ‘Smart City’ when in other cities people live much longer and with fewer resources.

Today we often consider Barcelona as a ‘Smart City’. When we compare the City with Dubai, Barcelona has longer life expectancy, much lower carbon footprint per capita, lower accident rates and it also has much longer obesity & diabetes rates. Barcelona is th kind of city where one would like to walk. This could not be possible had we not rerouted the traffic around the city and shifted the attention back to pedestrians within the fabric of the city for daily life when preparing for the Olympics in 1992. Unlike Dubai, Barcelona has mid-rise building technology.

Another remarkable city is Tokyo which has a very long life expectancy because the way people live, move and commute around the city surprisingly a vast majority of the streets in Tokyo are shared streets yet these streets do not have demarcation lines for cars, cycles or pedestrians. Travelling from point A to point B is remarkably efficient and at any time of the day in that city of 38 million. The other critical point to know is that there are fewer cars on the road in the core of the city now than 50 years ago.

Better Planning and Active Mobility

Our cities should be designed in such a way that the 10000 steps should be a pleasure to walk. So, when we are planning for movement in Smart Cities, we must plan for active mobility. China recently banned gated communities; as the highways, could not accommodate the resulting increase in vehicle kilometers travelled since gated communities required vehicles for much longer drives, contributing to pollution and reducing the opportunity to walk, making people unhealthy and a burden to the society. How many new developments are being built in India for the upper, middle, and lower classes? India must learn from China and should not commit the same mistake. Wilano in Warsaw, Poland is an example which we undertook 15 years back and that becomes the largest development in Europe of this century.

The usual practice is to develop gated compounds near highways. People who are living on the new compound are forced to drive and there is no other way out. The new Warsaw community was built as an integrated & mixed-use community with all kind of different activities within walking distance. When we developed, we reduced the number of vehicle lanes in the community. It has more parking space than in any other parts of the city but they are 80% underneath the buildings. Rubberized jogging track were also introduced to encourage people to actively walk / run.

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