Connectivity helps cities adopt flexible mobility

Greater connectivity is helping cities shift to flexible, on-demand mobility, according to a new report by Navigant Research.

The smart city movement is pioneering an advanced approach to urban mobility in which citizens can take advantage of clean transportation options that meet their immediate needs, the research firm said.

This new approach is possible thanks to technology developments over the last decade, such as the increasing availability of smartphones; the rise of plug-in electric vehicles; and the ability to connect vehicles, infrastructure, transportation managers and end users.

The report, Urban Mobility in Smart Cities, analyses the global market for smart urban mobility infrastructure and services in smart cities, including carsharing, ridesharing, advanced traffic management, smart parking and other transportation innovations.

Navigant Research expects the global market for smart urban mobility infrastructure and services to grow from $5.1 billion (£3.3 billion) in 2015 to as much as $25.1 billion (£16.4 billion) by 2024.

The report notes that cities have long been focal points for clean, efficient transportation choices given the demands placed on them by large, densely located populations and the adverse quality of life and economic effects that traffic congestion can cause.

But now, urban mobility in cities is becoming more flexible and truly multi-modal, with city populations easily moving between public transit, carsharing, ridesharing, driving, cycling and walking. Smart urban mobility developments are being adopted in mass transit systems, particularly bus-based transit, and for parking services. Cities are increasingly able to manage their traffic systems in real-time, the report says.

This new approach to urban mobility is part of the broader smart city movement, commented Lisa Jerram, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. A key element of this movement is the use of technology to develop cities that function more efficiently, more sustainably, and more equitably; many drivers are already utilizing some of these enabling technologies through the global positioning system (GPS) in their car or the smartphone in their pocket.

This new form of mobility is both a public investment and private enterprise phenomenon, with infrastructure investments like real-time traffic management, public charging networks or smart parking systems complemented by new mobility solutions like carsharing services and rideshare apps. The ultimate smart urban mobility solution ties these together, allowing users to see their full range of mobility options and access them on demand, Navigant Research said.

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