In this chapter we refer to transportation as any and every system that moves people around a city. Think of a city’s streets, vehicles, railways, subways, buses, bicycles, streetcars, ferries and so on. All play an essential role in the hustle and bustle of today’s cities – in commuting to work, running errands, attending classes, enjoying a night out, shipping and receiving products, delivering pizzas. We rely on the vast web of transportation networks in our cities. We trust that they will get us where we need to be in an efficient, safe manner for a reasonable price.
But that’s not always the case. Transportation networks in cities around the world struggle with serious problems, like congestion. In 2013, traffic congestion robbed the U.S. economy of $124 billion, according to an Inrix study. Without significant action to alleviate congestion, this cost is expected to increase 50% to $186 billion by 2030. Another study predicts that emissions from vehicles idling in traffic jams will result in 1,600 premature deaths and $13 billion in “total social costs” in the U.S. by 2020.
Of course it’s not a problem the U.S. faces alone. A 2014 Congestion Index comparing congestion levels in 2014 versus 2013 in over 200 cities ranked the top 10 most congested cities as:
2. Mexico City
3. Rio de Janeiro
7. St. Petersburg
10. Los Angeles
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways cities can fix traffic congestion by deploying ICT, as you’ll read about in the pages that follow.
The promise of smart transportation and the reality of city congestion mean that this market subsector is growing rapidly. According to Navigant Research, the global smart urban mobility infrastructure and services market is expected to grow from $5.1 billion in 2015 to $25.1 billion in 2024.
As you explore this chapter you’ll discover there are four targets that cities need to achieve to put smart transportation into high gear. We’ll also briefly discuss how the universal targets apply to transportation. But first, a quick look at transportation dependencies and then we’ll highlight the incredible benefits in livability, workability and sustainability that smart transportation networks provide.