And I’ve noticed a similar trend happening in the automotive industry: Instead of trying to replace traditional owned vehicles with flying cars and ride-sharing services, the future of mobility will be about developing an ecosystem of choices for consumers.
Many consumers, especially baby boomers, still own their own vehicles; but that doesn’t mean they’re not also participating in ride sharing. Similarly, just because millennials have gotten on board with ride-hailing services doesn’t mean they won’t also purchase their own personal vehicles.
To help inform consumers about their range of mobility options, the city of Pittsburgh is using a $400,000 grant to educate the public on autonomous vehicles (AVs). Because safety has been a top concern for drivers, part of the program will include publishing data on autonomous vehicle testing. It will also promote the industry jobs that are being created in the Pittsburgh area, where many companies and schools—from Uber to Carnegie Mellon University—are currently testing the AVs.
Connecting the mobility ecosystem
On a broader scale, an integrated mobility platform will be key in helping the residents of Pittsburgh take advantage of the wide range of mobility options available—from bike-sharing to autonomous vehicles.
This type of platform would integrate all smart mobility applications, connecting data related to physical infrastructure (roads, traffic signal systems), modes of transport (such as mass transit), and transportation service providers. For residents, this could mean more reliable public transportation, less traffic, and incentives for reducing emissions.
Cities like Barcelona have already started implementing mobility platforms, using data to deploy smart parking and smart transit services and helping the city monitor energy consumption. A little closer to home, Columbus has begun to develop a system that will share near-real-time data on conditions throughout the city that will eventually encompass multiple aspects of a smart city—not just mobility. And these are only a few examples of how cities around the world are making strides toward an integrated mobility ecosystem.
The next phase in smart mobility
Once a mobility platform is established, what should Pittsburgh focus on next? Developing a more mature version that could combine advances in Internet of Things technology, big data, and cognitive analytics to more efficiently align supply and demand.
At its core, this advanced mobility platform would:
• Provide a central exchange for the various types of mobility-related data generated by sensors
• Create visibility into network capacity
• Show real-time consumption of different forms of mobility
• Smooth out peaks and valleys in demand, creating greater throughput and system optimization
Create market-driven incentives to shift consumption choices
• Offer a transaction platform that creates a new source of revenue for the city
Putting new connected services in context and conversation—helping them work together for the benefit of users, third-party providers, and the city itself—could be key to helping cities like Pittsburgh realize the benefits of the emerging mobility ecosystem.
The journey has just begun, but I think we’re going to quickly accelerate toward this exciting future of mobility.
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