What is at the Heart of a Smart City?

Some say connectivity is the heart of a Smart City; others say government and many point to technology as the heart of a Smart City. The very wise say that citizens are the heart of a Smart City. I agree with the latter, but if I think about the first thing a Smart City would break down without, I turn to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Don’t get me wrong-without power there will be chaos and without IoT, the circular economy of a Smart City becomes a linear economy almost instantly. Nevertheless, without the safe movement of people, goods and services, all the above gets outright dangerous quickly.

First, let’s define what a Smart City will encompass. The Smart Cities Council “envisions a world where digital technology and intelligent design have been harnessed to create smart, sustainable cities with high-quality living and high-quality jobs.” The Smart City concept consists of three concepts including:

  • Livability to provide clean, healthy living conditions without pollution and congestion;
  • Workability allows cities to provide the enabling infrastructure — energy, connectivity, computing, essential services — to compete globally for high-quality jobs;
  • and Sustainability provides services without stealing from future generations.

Overall, building a Smart City aims to provide seamless connectivity, improved systems delivery, and a better, more equitable quality of life for citizens. This is why the Smart City Pavilion at the ITS World Congress in Montreal is so intriguing to me. The Smart Cities Pavilion will be the epicenter of the ITS World Congress in Montréal and showcase how cities across the globe are using technology to create their vision of next generation integrated mobility solutions in urban settings.

The Smart City Pavilion will focus on how Intelligent Transportation is the heart of Smart Cities’ critical infrastructure, including traffic management, roadways, rail, parking, bike share, transit, car share, traveler information, connected and autonomous vehicles and integrated mobility.

You see, Intelligent Transportation is what makes a difference in the daily life of commuters by moving them faster, smarter and more efficiently. It is also how we reduce traffic fatalities for drivers, bikers and pedestrians. Intelligent Transportation also provides the framework for freight to move vital food and supplies, which are essential for the world’s citizens. Intelligent Transportation keeps us all moving daily, without realizing it’s taking place.

The Smart City Pavilion at the ITS World Congress in Montreal will be a real life demonstration of successful ITS deployments that work together to deploy Smart Cities. It offers us the chance to see Smart Cities united by common ITS threads sharing what they are doing. Smart Cities from multiple continents will present and display and allow attendees to better understand the challenges, opportunities and technologies that interplay in a Smart City. The Smart City Pavilion will also introduce sponsors and vendors outside of the traditional ITS players that also contribute to this world. Every man and his dog has a Smart City show these days, but how many have a show with the common thread of arguably the most indispensable piece of the puzzle?

ITS World Congress in Montreal is October 29 to November 2, 2017. Register here to attend the event or better yet, learn about joining us as a Smart City Pavilion Sponsor here.

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