SMART CITIES: the challenges of mobility and air quality


At least 60% of the European Union’s population is currently living in built-up areas of 10,000+ inhabitants, and their mobility generates 40% of all CO2 emissions. By 2050 over two thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities, which are responsible for over 70% of worldwide CO2 emissions and generate 80% of the global GDP.
In the particular case of Spain, the United Nations forecasts that 90% of its inhabitants will be living in cities by the middle of this century. This poses an unprecedented challenge. Our cities are now demanding a more sustainable mobility model capable of meeting citizens’ vast range of needs nowadays. Guaranteeing citizens’ mobility is paramount, but the methods used must be ecofriendly, reducing the impact of mobility to the minimum possible. Citizen mobility is one of the activities with the greatest impact on cities’ air quality, and air quality is very closely bound up with citizen wellbeing and the sustainability and habitability of cities. We need to bear in mind here that pollution kills seven million people a year around the world, according to the 
WHO, which classes it as a «pandemic. Reducing the polluting emissions of vehicles, industries and housing is now top priority.

Improving air quality is hence one of cities’ top environmental challenges; this is where innovation and sustainable development come in.

Air-quality legislation is patchy. The current framework has been set up by diverse directives such as Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe. In Spain the scene has been set by various laws such as its Air Quality and Atmosphere-Protection Act (Ley de calidad del aire y protección de la atmósfera) 34 of 15 November 2007 and Royal Decree (Real Decreto) 102 of 28 January 2011 on the improvement of air quality, which transposes into Spain’s body of law Directive 2004/107/EC and Directive 2008/50/EC.

There are different air-quality-improvement measures that might be taken, many of them with a strong technology and innovation component. If we think in particular of urban mobility problems that worsen the air quality, what immediately springs to mind is the traffic and congestion that those of us who live in large conurbations have to struggle with almost on a daily basis.

Dealing with thousands and thousands of rush-hour vehicles has never been a cakewalk. These traffic agglomerations spell pollution, noise, stress and the risk of accidents.

What are we at GMV doing to help make this problem a little less worrying?

In the public-transport sector we are now providing a whole range of solutions. In the private sector too we are helping to make citizen mobility safer, more attractive and energy-efficient.

As for the emerging solutions we are rolling out daily to do our bit in this situation, mention must be made of the cooperative services (C-ITS) in which vehicles and roadside infrastructure can speak to each other, optimum stoplight approach speeds to avoid having to stop (GLOSA) or giving priority to certain vehicles like buses or ambulances in certain corridors, thereby avoiding accidents and tailbacks that might otherwise ensue from the passage of such vehicles.

Variable virtual message panels allow us to receive onboard vehicle information in order to adapt our route or speed to suit the upcoming situation.

These are only some of the outstanding examples we might mention.

Less well-known perhaps are some of the schemes that have been up-and-running in the cities of London (Central London Congestion Charging Scheme: CLoCCS), Stockholm or Oslo. All of them, however, have proven to be highly successful in terms of reducing traffic levels in these big cities.

GMV boasts a wealth of experience in technology like GNSS and its application in Smartphones or onboard vehicle equipment. This technology helps to set up the abovementioned schemes and enables us to respond far more flexibly and dynamically to the specific needs of a given area, while also being eminently affordable. GMV’s idea is based on the definition of virtual perimeters that become detectable thanks to geofencing functions implemented in the user’s Smartphone or the vehicle itself.

The system can implement different fare-charging modes for accessing the center of the city (based on time, distance traveled, access to certain areas or any combination of them). Congestion levels can be managed from a remote platform (by setting up vehicle-occupancy and access-regulation rules) or by integrating third-party components (such as city traffic management systems) to inform the platform of traffic conditions and concomitant access restrictions.

GMV is pledged to protecting the environment, to improving city-mobility and -sustainability in order to make cities ever smarter. GMV’s technological range in the automotive sector, mobility and public transport all aim to improve the wellbeing and health of big or small city dwellers, with persons always to the fore.

Author: Sara Gutiérrez Lanza

Add new comment

Source URL: