With urbanization in full swing, how to provide a better living environment to residents has become a major challenge for municipal administrators. More and more, they turn to smart city initiatives to help in this regard. So what will be some smart city trends this year?With urbanization in full swing, how to provide a better living environment to residents has become a major challenge for municipal administrators. More and more, they turn to smart city initiatives to help in this regard. So what will be some smart city trends this year? Below are some trends identified by Smart Cities Dive in a recent blog post.
New mobility offerings
According to the post, 2019 could be a big year for maglev and other train systems. “The Northeast Maglev that would connect Baltimore and Washington, DC is the subject of an environmental review, the first draft of which should be made public this year. And the much-derided California high-speed rail project believes it is on track to have a successful 2019 despite budget overruns and construction delays,” it said.
As for the personal mobility space, more innovative ways for people to get around by, for example new electric bikes, may be seen, the post said.
With the popularity of shared mobility in the forms of dockless bikes and scooters, ride-hailing operators and automakers are looking at acquisition deals to get a piece of the pie, the post said. “In early December, Uber hinted it may soon make a multibillion-dollar purchase of Lime or Bird, which would solidify Uber at the top of the market share rankings. It is also likely some automakers like GM may make their first foray into the dockless vehicle market in 2019, following shifts in operations to prioritize next-generation mobility options,” it said.
The changing face of parking
Given the trend of encouraging residents to use transportation means others than driving vehicles, municipalities may start to reexamine the issue of parking, the report said. “San Francisco became the largest city to eliminate parking mandates for new housing developments, and shared mobility companies are also leaning into this trend, not only by pushing consumers away from personal vehicle usage but also by encouraging new uses of individual parking spaces,” the post said. “Car parking will not be wiped out entirely, but it will likely transform in the new year as automated parking systems and ‘smart parking’ becomes more popular.”
Scooter predominance over bikes
Given their immense popularity in cities across the world, 2019 could see dockless scooters gain even more ground, even at the expense of dockless bikes. “In 2018, several companies appeared to favor developing their scooter offerings and emphasize bikes less, potentially a continued trend in 2019, even as bikes retain their importance,” the post said.
New ways to pay
With the era of ubiquitous smartphone use and a societal shifting away from cash payments, cities are expected to update payment options across various departments, from transportation to public works, the post said. “Many cities began experimenting with this transition toward digital payments in 2018, most notably in regards to subway and bus fares. Cities like Washington, DC have piloted cashless bus routes to reduce ‘dwelling’ on trips, while Los Angeles unveiled platforms like TAPforce to introduce new payment methods on LA Metro,” it said.
Continued emphasis on 5G
According to the post, in 2018 telecom companies and cities both made cautious, slow moves towards rolling out 5G, a rollout trend that should accelerate this year.
“Already, Verizon has begun its 5G Home service in select cities, while AT&T has switched on 5G service in 12 cities, albeit only available through one of its own wireless hotspot devices. Meanwhile, T-Mobile continues to make bullish promises on its own 5G rollout,” it said. “In 2019, keep an eye out for whether companies keep their promises to roll out 5G technology in more cities, and if they make mobile 5G available.”