Cities are engines of growth and are crucial to the growth of every nation including India. Nearly 31 percent of India’s current population lives in urban areas, and as per the census of 2011 they contribute over 60 percent to India’s GDP. Put this in perspective, by 2030 owing to urbanization cities are expected to house 40 percent of India’s population thereby contributing around 75 percent of India’s GDP. Rapid development such as this will require mammoth development changes which is inclusive of physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure. Each of these elements are crucial to improving the quality of life. Such improvements can attract top talent and investment, thus setting in motion a virtuous cycle of growth and development. To sum the though up, development of Smart Cities is a step in the right direction!
Smart Cities permit an increase in intelligence and transparency, integration and automated processes. Real-time information is collected and shared with authorities and other stakeholders to help them provide informed decisions. Information is shared across systems and organisations to boost efficiency, reduce costs and optimise performance.
Smart City projects are gaining momentum across the world with countries such as South Korea, United Arab Emirates and China as front runners. In India alone, approximately USD$ 40 billion will be invested across several smart city projects in the upcoming years. In June 2015, the Union Government of India, under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, launched the ‘100 Smart Cities Mission.’ This flagship scheme’s key objective, apart from building 00 smart cities, is to ‘promote core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and the application of smart solutions.’ By integrating IoT, big data and analytics, these cities will be able to find solutions to current issues ranging from poor infrastructure to enabling an efficient mobility network.
With the increase of population in cities, there has also been a boom in the number of vehicles. Quality of life in cities have been compromised to accommodate the busy schedule of daily commuters. Pollution and traffic congestion are affecting the environment and other living beings. Providing easy transport options is not sufficient to solve the issue of mobility in a smart city.
Smart mobility should ensure better last mile connectivity! Implementation of smart mobility solutions promises a higher quality of living with an optimal work and life balance and eco-friendly transport system. This will decrease the cost of transport services and reduce the number of hours spent in commuting.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the backbone for Smart Mobility Solution in a smart city. The multiple nodes /sensors collect information and feedback from citizens to constantly improve the services provided in the city. Thus, smart mobility solutions coalesce advanced technology and citizen behaviour. The mobility solutions work towards reducing air and noise pollution, traffic congestion, costs, and improve speed and safety.
For Smart Cities in India, Bosch is offering integrated end to end urban mobility solutions which are designed for Indian conditions. The solutions are a) Intelligent Traffic Management (ITM) which includes Citizen Safety and Security (CSS), Intelligent Parking Management (IPM), and Intelligent Transport System (ITS).
ITM offers an efficient traffic management system by monitoring traffic using cameras installed at traffic light junctions. The system automatically detects traffic violations using smart number plate recognition and generate e-challans with images and videos of the vehicle as a proof of the violation. These cameras provide security surveillance as well. Additional cameras installed at selected places for security purposes are used to detect human faces and compare it with an existing database. An alarm is automatically sent to Traffic Command Centre (TCC) when the system spots a violator. This smart solution provides a dynamic traffic control system based on vehicle density, increase average traffic speed and pedestrian safety, reduce traffic congestion and accidents, and addresses citizens in emergency situations.
Intelligent Parking Management (IPM) builds an integrated system using cameras, electromagnetic sensors and automated number plate recognition to help citizens find and book free parking slots. Parking occupancy sensors detect parking slot availability and wirelessly transmit the data to the servers. Citizens can check parking slot availability, book a slot and make payments through mobile phones. Cameras installed at the parking slots provide security surveillance, and law and order assistance to the police authorities. The system also provides parking lot offers, advertisements and pre-booking/payment options.
With the Intelligent Transport System (ITS), transport control room receives the location of a public transport vehicle, driving pattern, road condition, vehicle health, occupancy of the bus, fare collected and security alerts through an in-vehicle computer. This computer displays messages and make audio announcements for passengers’ benefit. The system also monitors the health of the vehicle and predict repairs, if necessary. Additionally, mobile applications and bus stop displays provide expected time of arrival (ETA) received from Transport Control Rooms. Citizens receive real-time information on road and traffic conditions through Know Your Road (KYR) application by Bosch on their smart phones. Thus, ITS transforms the current public transport system into an effective, efficient, profitable, safe and commuter friendly one.
Mobility solutions is one of the top priority interventions in the 60 cities out of 100 that have already been selected for implementation of Smart Cities.
Published in BW Businessworld issue dated ” with cover story titled ‘Smart City Champs’