Parking, Pollution and Road Safety in Smart Cities

Transportation as a factor, is a major contributory aspect for smart cities, with respect to quality of life, commerce and environmental impact. Within the ambit of this wide topic, parking, road-safety and pollution are co-related issues that affect everyone – from cities to government, from drivers to businessmen. Hence, these issues are quickly gaining traction as key areas of consideration for the creation of smart cities, as the population in metropolitan areas continues to burgeon at an exponential rate. Smart cities thus, are now examining how technology can be leveraged to enhance the quality of life for communities. Current Scenario: India, as a nation, is packed with divergent traffic, its roads network being a gargantuan 4.8 million kilometers, that carries about 65% of freight and 80% of the total passenger traffic. As incomes have increased in cities, motor vehicle use has also seen a directly proportional increase in usage. Thus, for smart cities, the issues of parking, road safety and pollution control, are most pressing. Statistically speaking, 30% of the traffic slowdown occurs due to parking difficulties, which takes around 20-25 minutes per person, on an average, where central business hubs of metropolitan cities are concerned. A related statistic tells us that about 30% of Global CO2 emissions are caused by traffic congestions, due to parking searches by people. Employing Smart parking facilities, can mitigate this problem and almost 15-20% of these carbon emissions can be effectively reduced. This is of special relevance for metropolitan cities, for example Delhi for instance, wherein onan average, 1400 cars are added to the streets of the city, each day. Coming to the issue of road safety, one of the key problem areas is that of the average response time for providing medical help to a victim. In cases where there are no preventative measures in place for fatalities, contributory factors of attrition like congestion, make timely provision of medical help to victims difficult. Thus,Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies can help in multi-disciplinary preventative efforts as well as remedial solutions, for all the three aforementioned areas of concern. The Road Ahead: Technology and its implementation in smart cities has the potential to bring about a dramatic change in urban transportation. Some of the ways, in which it can help in facing challenges associated with road safety, parking and pollution are: • Smart road sensors across the city, can help in leveraging machine learning and help understand traffic congestion as well as, manage traffic flow. Sensors built into the roads and connected to a centralized system would help in solving traffic snarls in advance, by relaying alerts and facilitate subsequent manipulation of traffic lights, as per requirement. • Incident detection systems can help detect accidents, as and when they occur. Constant data monitoring can help in not only averting accidents but also ensuring timely arrival of emergency services to the scene, by redirecting other traffic as well as, providing alternate routes. • Smart parking technologies that can offer alerts/directions to parking spaces, will help in reducing the number of cars circulating about looking for parking spaces, drastically. This, in turn, will help in the elimination of engine time, thereby reducing pollution, as well as fuel consumption. With the aid of supportive government initiatives, India is set to take a massive turn with intelligent transport solutions. Once implemented successfully, we are looking at reduced city traffic congestion and pollution, as well as improved road safety thus facilitating, a convenient, safer, healthier and better future for our smart cities.

Author: Sujit Patheja, Head – Business Development, Smart Infrastructure

Sujit Patheja heads Business Development for the Smart Infrastructure practice and is responsible for defining strategy, building brand and driving sales targets in the Smart City/Infrastructure space for ITL. In his stint at ITL, Sujit has led many strategic initiatives and delivered success across Industries and geographies. Before joining ITL, Sujit spent 6 years at Infosys spearheading sales across Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities and Government verticals. Sujit is a post graduate with a MBA degree in International Business.

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