PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORKS ARE ONE OF THE ESSENTIAL PARTS IN SMART CITIES. ONCE AGAIN, THE RAILWAY IS THE FIRM CANDIDATE TO LEAD THIS MODAL SHIFT TOWARDS MOBILITY SYSTEMS THAT ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE, PROVIDE COHESION AND FACILITATE OF MOBILITY IN URBAN CENTRES AND PERIPHERAL AREAS.
Smart cities are starting to become a reality. The use of information technologies (IT) and communications (ICT) allow to interconnect all services and processes and also to ensure their energy, environmental, economic and social sustainability.
All of this to improve the quality of life of people and to promote business and employment.
It is projected that 78% of the world’s population will reside in urban areas by 2050. This population change needs to leverage the R+D developments to create connected, healthy and efficient urban environments. In this sense, the different administrations focus on aspects such as energy optimization, the exploitation of the resources used, recycling, the logistics of the movement of people and goods or accessibility, with the ultimate aim of increasing the quality of life for its inhabitants. The emergence of new tools such as Big Data, hyperconnectivity or collaborative ecosystems are some of the lines of work that the breakthroughs focus on.
The intelligent use of technologies (information and communication) in 4.0 cities allows to innovate and walk towards sustainable development. The public transport system within the urban environment and its periphery is one of the areas where it is posible to further advance the “Smart” concept to obtain efficient management of the different modes, optimize travel and avoid congestion.
One of the main priorities is to apply technology to achieve full integration of the entire network, with the railway as the main axis of intermodal, intelligent and sustainable mobility solutions.
Comfort, speed, energy efficiency, safety and reliability are the most outstanding features that make the train the best candidate to achieve this formula.
In addition, the flexibility to adapt to the time demands, with increased frequencies and capacity expansion with the incorporation of more mobile units based on the requirements, make the metro, tram, commuter and regional lines an ideal option to respond to the new demands of society in situations such as the new normal. The railway is the most suitable means to give a safe response to each user and put people in the centre to maximize their travel experience.
The importance of ITSs
The path of mobility in the “Smart Cities” rests on the concept of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) that belong to the Internet of Things. The design and application of a comprehensive set of telecommunications and IT technology solutions serves to improve the operation, efficiency and safety, especially in ground transportation, both of people and goods. These systems are critical in the transmission and processing of all information for travel optimization, to reduce congestion and to enable an easy and simple intermodality.
ITSs cover a wide variety of functions related to fleet and traffic management, advanced sensor monitoring, information on transportation exchanger, security, simplification and integration of public transport payment processes, electronic point-of-sale systems, customised recommendation systems or energy recovery.
These systems provide information for both private and professional users (logistics operators, public transport, etc.), on parking availability, alternative fuel infrastructure and booking of charging points.
The Spanish railway industry leads numerous pioneering ITSs developments to respond to an environment of increasing connectivity, where door-to-door intermodal transport is increasingly important.
Mobility as a Service
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is born when changing the traditional model of offering transport to another in which it is the traveller who chooses how to commute, which means to combine and how to book and pay in an easy, economical and flexible way that suits their needs. All this, based on the information generated by connected mobile devices and platforms that provide a good alternative to the private use of the car.
This innovative concept opens the door to the full integration of shared transport (energy efficient rental cars, electric bikes) with commuter systems, metro, tram and buses.
In addition, it encourages the implementation of more efficient business models and creates new formats to optimize revenue in a unified digital ecosystem to be commercially sustainable.
The benefits for society are also multiple, as it promotes a form of socially responsible travel, where the railway carries weight as one of the most present modes in large urban centers and peripheral areas.