Cities keep expanding. Every year the population in urban areas world wide is growing rapidly. In two decades it is expected that a staggering percentage of 75% of our world population will be living in a city. In the vast majority of these cities, the public road infrastructure was never designed for the enormous growth rate that they are currently experiencing. Not only does this lead to challenges when it comes to optimizing the traffic flow in cities, it also results in severe safety risks for vulnerable road users, like pedestrians and cyclists.
Over 1,2 million people are killed in traffic incidents every year. Sometimes at highways, but more often in city streets. A tragic number and unacceptable to any city administration that cares about the wellbeing of its citizens. Experts often refer to autonomous vehicles as the holy grail in options to make traffic in and around cities safer for all participants. Although the technology in this area is progressing rapidly and impressive results have been achieved, it is clear that it will take at least a few decades before all vehicles in major cities will be autonomously planning their route and guiding their passengers safely through traffic.
The urban traffic challenge
The growing number of people and vehicles, the increasingly complicated road infrastructures in cities, the persistent time pressure on people in today’s society and the resulting stress levels: making your way through urban traffic is not an easy task for most people living in that city, let alone the people that are visiting. Pedestrians and cyclists are faced with the result of that on a daily basis. Cars pollute, occupy a lot of public space when parked and also pose a potential safety threat.
Cars are weaponized
Unfortunately the trend cannot be ignored. Cars are utilized as weapons in more and more incidents of a terrorist nature. The tragic incidents in Barcelona, Berlin, Charlottesville, Paris, London, Jerusalem and Stockholm in the past few years have proven that cars are considered a high security threat in crowded areas. It is evident that crowds of people in cities need better protection than is offered in most cities today.
Cars are the most important mode of transport
Despite these challenges and the often highlighted negative aspects of cars, they are also the number one mode of transport in urban environments in the world. Most cities will see that the vast majority of transport of people and goods is carried out by cars, taxis, trucks, buses and other motorized vehicles. That absolutely makes sense: vehicles can go where they want and when they want. They move around freely and can accommodate almost any transport need. Therefor it is absolutely vital that cities can facilitate these vehicles to do their job. But surely there must be something that cities can do increase the safety and security of their citizens and visitors while they do their jobs or enjoy the shops or museums of the city?
Vehicle access control in cities
Yes, that is absolutely right. There are dedicated access control systems for vehicles, like Nedap MOOV. This system is installed in over 70 Dutch cities. Vehicle entrances to these city centers are controlled with technology. Bollards are physical barriers that effectively prevent any unauthorized vehicle from entering. Modern technology to identify vehicles enables police cars, licensed taxis, buses and emergency services to get easy access without compromising security. Suppliers can be provided with an exemption and can be allowed access in specific time zones.
Dynamic access control
The big advantage of these types of systems is that you keep the vehicles and people in the city moving, while security and safety levels are optimized. Citizens are protected without forcing the city to come to a full stop. In cities and towns, groups of people come together in the common public areas such as streets, squares and parks. In major cities, like The Hague in The Netherlands, the national parliament, international governments and organizations are housed. Many events take place that require additional security measures, like demonstrations, manifestations and VIP-visits. Tourist towns often have a complicated narrow street infrastructure and different challenges focused on events and crowd management. Big cities and small towns are now empowered to increase security levels when needed, where needed.
Of course a solution like this requires the right technology to be deployed. The system should be easily set up and maintained. It should integrate video, intercom, RFID and all technology needed. It needs to be on a communication network so it can cover the city, but still has to remain well secured. It has to be scalable and robust. It always has to work, even when central server components are (temporary) offline. And it needs an integrated event log, combined with images, that everybody can understand.
Let’s talk about how to secure a smart city
We understand: cities are facing a lot of challenges nowadays. Cities are expected to be smart and be able to deal with all those current and future challenges that relate to mobility, security and safety. Why not consider deploying a solution that has proven itself, that is using state-of-the-art technology and that is already used in numerous cities of various sizes? We’d be happy to share our experience.
Cities keep expanding. Every year many millions of people are added to the population of large urban areas. In two decades it is expected that a staggering percentage of 75% of our world population will be living in a city. In the vast majority of these cities, the public road infrastructure was never designed for the enormous growth rate that they are currently experiencing. Not only does this lead to challenges when it comes to optimizing the traffic flow in cities, it also results in severe safety risks for vulnerable road users, like pedestrians and cyclists.