Mobility a major focus for smart city innovation growth

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WITH urban populations expected to increase more than 50% by 2050, smart city planners are turning to novel technologies and business models to support future urban mobility. Lux Research, a leading provider of tech-enabled research and advisory services, highlights the most relevant technologies slated to impact the future of urban mobility and its effect on people, commerce, and infrastructure in its new report, “Mobility Innovations for Smarter Cities.”

Rapid urbanization, increasing global populations, and financial constraints brought on by COVID-19 are forcing cities to address the pain points and inefficiencies of current urban mobility landscapes. “These increasingly complex environments have forced companies and municipalities to explore cost-effective, novel technologies that better manage the transportation of people and goods while improving safety, reducing congestion, and curbing vehicle emissions,” says the report’s lead author, Chad Goldberg, Research Associate at Lux.

The three pillars of urban mobility innovation focus on moving people through mobility services and public transit, transporting packages and goods with a focus on automated delivery services, and creating the right infrastructure based on technologies that enable digital solutions. Innovation in shared mobility services includes increased investment in public transit, ride-hailing, and car-sharing applications. Public transit agencies are actively exploring solutions that help maintain or increase ridership while maximizing the efficiency of existing assets.

Emerging use cases for autonomous vehicles indicate that the technology will first benefit the delivery sector. By 2030, autonomous vehicle lockers are expected to deliver more than 20 billion parcels, and Lux predicts that autonomous deliveries will generate more than $33 billion in revenue.

Infrastructure innovations will utilize intelligent transportation systems that improve mobility by monitoring and controlling the flow of both vehicles and pedestrians. Many municipalities consider this application low-hanging fruit and are aggressively targeting it to positively impact traffic flow. Integrated sensors and software technologies can capture traffic data and analytics that inform both city officials and control signals.

In order to be successful, urban mobility innovation must address limited city budgets and involve close collaboration between technology partners, the transportation sector, and city officials. Technology suppliers must develop cost-effective solutions with measurable ROI for resource-strapped municipalities.

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