London, 7th February 2019.

Technology and innovation continue to be at the heart as an enabler for our future smart city environment and the impact over the last ten years has already been seismic.

This is a complicated and highly fragmented market, which is seeking to bring together new disruptive solutions delivering autonomous & connected vehicles through to big data intelligence for the benefit of integrated citizen mobility.

However, this is also against a political and practical backdrop of seeking to reduce, pollution, solving the ever-increasing chronic congestion on our roads, the increasing strain on our whole transport infrastructure and continuing to encourage modal shift from the car to public transport.

With the advancement of technology, the expectation of the general public has also shifted significantly. The demand for timely and accurate information to inform journey plans and the capability for seamless mobility across all modes of transport is growing at a rapid pace.

Our breakfast seminar, “ENABLING THE SMART CITY OF THE FUTURE” sought to tackle these issues, with speakers and attendees from a variety of backgrounds including political and policy setting, consulting organisations seeking to set and deliver the frameworks for these new opportunities as well as disruptive technology providers helping to define the market in new and innovative ways.  

After a welcome and scene setting from WTA’s Alan Butterworth, we heard from four leaders within the transport and traffic market.

Lilian Greenwood MP and chair of the Transport Select Committee opened the session.  She talked passionately about how data and new technologies will change the way we think about mobility and that public transport needs to be at the heart of our vision for the cities we live and work in.  Effective transport is key, but transport infrastructure is expensive, congestion is a pervasive problem in our towns and cities and pollution resulting from road transport is affecting our health. Politicians and policy makers need to focus on how to design and build smart cities that deliver the greatest possible benefit to people and society.

Rob Wallis, CEO of TRL described that the market is at a tipping point for smart mobility solutions with the drivers for change based on a digital revolution for smart devices, IoT and big data. Whilst there’s a growth in connected and automated vehicles, there are challenges to be addressed in the capacity available due to urban population growth, increasing congestion, pollution as well as societal trends for shared ownership models delivering mobility services. A revolution is coming which includes electrified solutions, connected & automated transport and shared ownership. 

Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google talked about leveraging data. Through our devices, the key is to harness and share that data and provide intelligence and information to assist in all our mobility solutions with the map and location specific information being a core enabler. One final challenging thought was about our ongoing love of the motor car and its dominance in our cities. Around 95% of the time the car remains parked and 30% of our city infrastructure is dedicated to car parking solutions. Some food for thought.

James Harris, CEO of Elgin concluded our speaker session talking about the importance and dependence on our road infrastructure with a need for smart actionable intelligence to manage our roads effectively. The key is to provide accurate real time monitoring information so that informed decisions can be made by all road user stakeholders and influence driver behaviour.

The event concluded with a Q&A session and the delegates invited to stay for further refreshments and the opportunity to continue to network.