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Smart mobility is the use of either alternative or supplemental transportation options in various forms. That may include car-sharing, public transportation, ride-sharing, walking, biking, and other forms of mobility
Smart mobility is the use of either alternative or supplemental transportation options in various forms. That may include car-sharing, public transportation, ride-sharing, walking, biking, and other forms of mobility
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Smart Mobility What's Smart Mobility, and what are its applications?

| Author / Editor: Jason Unrau / Erika Granath

Vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine are still the most common form of transportation for much of the world. Smart mobility options are quickly becoming more popular and being used more intentionally. What is smart mobility, and how is it being applied in today's world?

If you're used to getting into your car and driving to the store, the office, or back home after a long day, you're participating in traditional mobility. It works, but in many areas, the 'rat race' contributes to congested traffic during peak hours, not to mention air and noise pollution levels.

Smart mobility doesn't completely replace a city's mobility system—at least, not yet—but it begins to provide a solution for some of the concerns related to everyday gas-powered travel in an owned car. You can see it during the COVID-19 shutdowns in urban centers like New York City, Beijing, and even water clarity in the Venice Canal.

What is smart mobility? It's the use of either alternative or supplemental transportation options in various forms. That may include car-sharing, public transportation, ridesharing, walking, biking, and other forms of mobility. Five principles influence its implementation.

5 principles of Smart Mobility

Flexibility

Smart mobility is about providing options for the user. While ICE-powered vehicles may still be part of their transportation, other choices are available to fit their needs and lifestyle.

As an example, ride-sharing services offered in Los Angeles reduce the number of vehicles on the road at any given time to reduce traffic congestion. The same option frees up much-needed parking in urban centers like Berlin.

Efficiency

Often, the most efficient option isn't driving where you need to go. Cycling may offer a more direct route to your destination, while public transportation can take advantage of transit and carpool lanes.

Integration

Another tenet of smart mobility is pre-planning from door to door. That can entail bike-sharing from home to the subway, then walking from the subway to your destination. The ability to plan your route wholly and efficiently is key to embracing smart mobility in a user's lifestyle.

Clean Tech

As mentioned, combating pollution is a driving force for smart mobility. An overarching ideology aims to reduce pollution with zero-emission transportation options. Walking, biking and ZEVs are all emission-less while ridesharing, car-sharing, and public transportation aim to reduce pollution also.

Safety

In 2019, the United States alone recorded approximately 38,800 car accident-related deaths. As smart mobility reduces traffic and offers low-impact mobility alternatives, the number of fatalities and injuries are destined to be reduced.

How Smart Mobility connects to a Smart City

Conceptually, smart mobility makes sense, but how does it work? Cities must invest in technology solutions to gather and process vast amounts of data. It's through using IoT sensors and smartphone integration, connected car data, and collaborative input from almost every source available collectively referred to as Big Data.

What Smart Mobility looks like in the real world

Worldwide, several cities have adopted the idea of being a Smart City with smart mobility at the core.

  • Copenhagen manages vehicle and cycle traffic to track movement patterns through the use of RFID tags.
  • Dubai, a city long known for high-tech mobility, is implementing Hyperloop public transportation between Abu-Dhabi and Dubai to shorten the trip length.
  • Helsinki has legalized driverless vehicles and has been testing robo-buses since 2016 that can transport up to nine people in normal traffic.

Smart mobility is an all-encompassing approach that focuses on improving movement efficiency, safety, and flexibility. Cities and nations across the world are developing strategies right now to enhance how people travel and commute.