In less than a decade, the concept known as mobility as a service (MaaS) has captured the imagination of visionaries and innovators throughout the global transport industry. As an opportunity with potential to transform the industry and reduce dependence on car ownership, MaaS evolved from an intriguing concept to early-stage reality (at least in terms of trials, pilot projects and embryonic services).
In their eagerness to create breakthrough technologies and disruptive platforms, innovators sometimes collide with an established (and perhaps ill-suited) regulatory and policy-making process. In a previous article on e-scooters, we reported that a strategy of "permissionless innovation" enabled app-activated e-scooter startups to gain a precarious foothold in urban mobility markets. However, these startups soon discovered that safety and regulatory issues - including the lack of regulations in most situations - led to controversial relations with cities and citizens. In this article, we cover recent experiences, lessons learned and thoughts on the need for collaborative solutions. For an overview of the e-scooter market and its dynamics, read our article E-Scooters: A Passing Fad or Smart Mobility?
Electric scooters appeal to those who want to move quickly and easily through urban streets at low cost while avoiding congestion and solving first mile / last mile mobility problems. However, menacing clouds - in the form of safety, regulatory and business model issues - linger above the nascent e-scooter sharing market, raising questions about its future. A key question is whether cities can find ways for this new micro-mobility service to add value to sustainable urban mobility. In this article, we explore the e-scooter market and competitive dynamics and offer a perspective on smart city challenges. To learn about the lessons learned from the city perspective regarding the introduction of e-scooter sharing, please read our article E-Scooters: A Collision Between Innovation And Controversy.
When it comes to public safety, smart city leaders recognize the importance of engaging with citizens and encouraging them to report safety problems. In this article, we present a perspective on public safety — and focus on Vizsafe, a U.S. startup firm which discovered opportunities to incentivize citizens and improve safety by creating a platform which connects the power of crowdsourcing and smartphone technologies with a blockchain-based rewards system.
Smart education is a key ingredient in smart city development. Strengths in basic education, advanced training and certification, universities and community colleges, e-learning infrastructure, lifelong learning and innovation in education technologies are all part of what defines a smart city. "For the citizens of a smart city to thrive, we must first place education at its center," according to Dr. I-Chang Tsai, Vice President and Director General of Digital Education, Institute for Information Industry in Taiwan. Smart cities recognize the need for "education programs producing graduates with modern knowledge, practical skills and collaborative attitudes."
Urban innovators with smart city aspirations rely on university knowledge and resources when addressing complex issues. Through access to research and thought leadership on urban challenges, smart cities benefit from partnerships with universities.
The Changing Face of Urban Innovation
When contemplating the need for urban improvement, cities once looked for efficiency gains, cost savings, and incremental, low-risk innovation to enhance local government operations. Today, urban residents demand much more from city leaders. Wicked urban problems such as homelessness, lack of affordable housing, pollution, congestion, inequality, social and digital exclusion, and environmental threats require bold thinking and a new paradigm in public sector innovation - made possible through collaboration with universities.
Urban mobility is described as the lifeblood of modern cities, a critical economic factor, and a facilitator of smart, sustainable development. Planning a smart city that delivers effective and equitable urban mobility solutions is one of the most pressing problems for cities throughout the world. In this article — the first in a planned series — we provide a perspective on urban mobility challenges and examples of smart urban mobility solutions.
The world of urban mobility is changing fast, and cities are grappling with the impact on safety. Growth in urban populations, combined with more cars, trucks and public transport vehicles (e.g. increasing last mile delivery) sharing crowded streets with vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists), makes the task of providing safe mobility a complex challenge. The task is further complicated by unsafe driving behavior, demand for multimode transport options, the need for bicycle-friendly streets and the uncertain future of autonomous vehicles.
Road fatalities are increasing in many cities and comprised 37 percent of European road fatalities in 2017. Taking steps to improve the safety of urban mobility fosters quality of life and yields opportunities to deliver transport sustainability. This article provides a perspective on policies and innovation regarding urban mobility safety solutions for smart cities.
Innovation in last mile freight and parcel delivery solutions could yield significant benefits for cities by reducing traffic congestion in urban centers, improving public health by lessening greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and contributing to the success of sustainable urban economies.
What is Last Mile Delivery?
From a manufacturer's plant or warehouse or a supplier or retailer location, the last mile of delivery is the final stage in the shipping process, culminating with arrival of a package or goods at a customer's destination.
Last-mile delivery and associated services are provided by established freight transport companies, courier firms, independent drivers and couriers, click-and-collect retailers, self-service parcel lockers, and postal service destination hubs. Delivery vehicles in the last mile include diesel and gas-powered trucks and vans, electric trucks, pushcarts, pedal carts, bicycles and robotic vehicles (in pilot projects). Due to the steady growth of e-commerce, the number of delivery vehicles and the volume of deliveries and locations have dramatically increased. In addition, the market for urban delivery services is undergoing an evolution with independent drivers and new entrants competing with traditional courier firms.