Fast tracking Smart transport in Smart cities
Could the future of smart transport in the world’s smartest cities rise into the air?
This was the innovative focus of discussions hosted by the UK government’s innovation agency – InnovateUK – with the Australia Trade and Investment Commission recently.
Innovate UK is responsible for driving the productivity and growth of businesses harnessing digital technologies. The UK delegation comprises leading British smart city SMEs and entrepreneurs specialising in emerging technologies for transport, energy, healthcare, waste management and the built environment.
The discussion between these organisations was actually part of an event called ‘Future Cities Jam’ which aimed to debate potential and original transport solutions for congested cities. At the event more than 15 startups and entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to improve smart cities and smart transport.
The jam was part of the UK gov’s 2018 Future Cities Mission, an event that has been coordinated with the aim of flying some of the UK’s most promising tech companies across the world to open them up to some new opportunities, build business partnerships and potential investment, as well as to help them grow their businesses globally.
Discussions at the Jam concluded that, as up to 50% of transport in cities are built on the ground, a viable solution would be to move public transport off the ground and up into the sky. This would result in ground space becoming available for methods of transport lower in pollution and emissions such as pathways and cycling routes.
MonoMetro is an urban transport system proposed by the company Bulweria in which trams essentially hang from rails suspended in the sky. The concept is estimated to cost nearly half the price of building and regulating a tram or railway system built on the ground of a city, and is predicted to produce significantly lower emissions.
JustPark proposed another innovative feature designed to help individuals find parking spaces in modern cities. The app allows users to locate a space in real-time predictive information on availability, and even allows for drivers to pay for the space itself or to list a space that others could pay for when you’re not using it.
The UK will be hosting a similarly themed event next week, entitled ‘Future Cities Catapult’, where data specialists, software developers, user experience (UX) designers and service designers join us for a fast-paced weekend at the Urban Innovation Centre to explore how city authorities could improve how they use data to address urban challenges.
The event hopes to find, discuss and develop similar innovative ideas to the recent Future Cities Jam. Afterwards, there will be a month-long competition, where teams can further develop their proposals. A panel of City Experts will select and reward the winning solutions. We look forward to revealing and talking about some of the results in the near future.