Cities on the road to better mobility

Frost & Sullivan’s Smart Mobility City Index has ranked 100 cities worldwide on their development of better and smarter transport systems

Singapore topped Frost & Sullivan’s Smart Mobility City Index.
Singapore topped Frost & Sullivan’s Smart Mobility City Index.

Singapore has topped Frost & Sullivan’s Smart Mobility City Index, a measure of smart smart mobility solutions, strategies and uptake in 100 cities worldwide. Singapore led the index, followed by London, San Francisco, Tokyo and Amsterdam.

The Smart Mobility City Tracker tracks over 150 parameters across all aspects of Smart Mobility, including new mobility solutions, autonomous readiness, digitization, sustainability, logistics performance, policy & regulatory framework, and transport landscape and vision.

None of the cities on the index scored high enough to qualify in the top category, Leaders, but the top performing cities all ranked as Innovative cities. Innovative cities are characterised by mature and well-functional public transport systems; high adoption rate of technology-driven mobility solutions such as carsharing, bikesharing, smart parking solutions; strong policy support from government, and conducive policies, outlook and infrastructure to commercially launch connected and autonomous vehicles.

Shwetha Surender, Mobility Industry Principal at Frost & Sullivan explained: “Based on our model, ‘innovative’ cities are cities that have not only implemented smart solutions to improve their transport systems, but effectively reduced transport inefficiencies such as personal car use, CO2 emissions or congestion in the last 10 years acting as the forerunners/ model cities for transport innovation.

“An ideal ‘leader’ city would be one that has successfully achieved consolidation in all mobility services enabling all trips to be-Connected, Automated, Shared and Electric/Active (CASE). None of the cities operate at that level yet. While some cities lead in autonomous readiness, some in electrification efforts, and others have the most advanced digital infrastructure and new mobility platforms.”

Surender said that she expects to see cities reach the ideal ‘CASE’ scenario soon, through factors such as the launch of the first shared CAVs as early as 2021 or 2022, continued investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, and the introduction of dynamic smart regulations.

Cities in the Middle East are behind on some key areas of transport strategy, says Surender.

Despite featuring on the index, none of the cities in the Middle East qualified in the top two categories.

Dubai was ranked as ‘Dynamic’, where cities typically have aging public transport or limited infrastructure, meaning a need for more investment; personal cars are still the primary means of commuting and although technology for smart integration is available, policy support is inadequate.

Abu Dhabi was classed as ‘Proactive’, where cities face infrastructural barriers, lack long-term strategy implementation but are improving the cities digital capabilities, and where last mile connectivity is usually poor, meaning a high dependence on private cars.

Muscat and Riyadh rated as ‘Passive’, cities typified by fragmented transport systems, high congestion, poor use of land space and high demand-supply gap.

Surender suggested that cities in the Middle East could take a number of steps to address their transport issues, such as developing open data sharing platforms for transport data, to enable smart transport app creation, which will bring together software developers, public transit and mobility service providers to offer integrated mobility solutions.

Cities should also move towards greater use of electric vehicles by offering incentives to users like purchase incentives, free parking or charging, etc. and by investing in electric vehicle infrastructure. Transport authorities should implement controls over high use areas and central areas through systems like congestion charging and peak hours restrictions. Cities should also drive commercialization of autonomous vehicles through industry partnerships, investment in communications infrastructure and policy support.

Although autonomous vehicles may take some time to launch, Frost & Sullivan believes they will be a major factor in helping cities to achieve safer and cheaper transport.

Franck Leveque, Partner and Mobility Business Unit Leader at Frost & Sullivan commented: “Autonomous vehicles can simultaneously reduce road accidents to zero and bring down travel costs by 30% by decreasing congestion and eliminating the need for human operators. Overall, autonomous vehicles can potentially lead to a 4% savings in the gross domestic product (GDP).”

Other high impact innovations that cities can consider include new operating models and development of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).

“Strategic collaborations among public and private stakeholders in terms of operating models, car usage, multimodal journey planning, and payment options will drive innovative mobility models, particularly Mobility-as-a-Service initiatives in cities,” Surender added. “Vehicle occupancy rate is approximately 35% to 40% in cities, but shared mobility can improve vehicle utilization by 85%, which will not only decrease on-road vehicle miles travelled, but also relieve congestion and free up 20% of street space used for parking.”

“While integrated transport platforms such as Moovel, Transit, etc. are available across multiple cities in developed regions, strategic collaboration among major mobility operators and technology players (including payment solution providers), will be facilitated by supportive MaaS regulation such as terms of contract for profit sharing/ collaboration.

“As of today, Helsinki is the only city which has introduced MaaS regulations. We believe at least 30 developed cities by end of 2020 to have integrated MaaS platforms, primarily in European cities.” 

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