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If the only time you’ve heard of Helsinki was during an episode of Money Heist, you’d very much be forgiven. The capital of Finland is far, far, far away from Singapore – 9,248 km to be exact.
That said, according to the Smart City Index 2020 published by Switzerland-based business school Helsinki has plenty in common with Singapore. The two cities have consistently ranked amongst the top 5 smartest cities in the world.
And while the city has quite a lot of projects going on, we’ve decided to focus on ‘smart mobility’ as a theme for this particular article.
Helsinki has aimed to become a world leader in smart mobility – it has set a goal of making it unnecessary for any citizen to own a private car by 2025!
Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
You’ve heard of Software as a Service (Saas) – a method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers. But how about Mobility as a Service (MaaS)?
In Helsinki, you can book (and pay for) buses, trains, taxis, bikes, rental cars, and more — all from a single app. Instead of owning a car, users pay a subscription that allows them to use a wide range of transport offerings.
The said app is Whim – developed in Helsinki by Finnish company MaaS Global and has been in operation since 2017, making Helsinki the first city with a comprehensive MaaS offering.
For users who frequently travel by different public transportation methods, a subscription to Whim — Whim Urban 30, Whim Weekend and Whim Unlimited, will enable them to make the most out of their subscription fee.
It benefits its users by offering the best bang for your buck, as it allows the use of a wide variety of different transportation at a much cheaper cost – a fixed subscription fee.
The cheapest Whim subscription will only set them back by 60 euros a month.
Along with the conveniences of having the 30day HSL ticket on your mobile phone, users can then enjoy unlimited 30-minute trips with city bikes, flexibility and comfort of flat rate taxis, affordable rental cars and access to the TIER and VOI e-scooters.
If you only occasionally need a car of your own – Whim Urban 30 offers the simplest way of renting an economy car at just 49 euros per day (according to availability).
Compared to the price of owning a personal car which costs anywhere between 233 and 260 euros a month to operate and maintain (Yle Uutiset, 2018), the cheapest Whim subscription plan will only set them back by 60 euros a month.
PS: Interestingly, Whim seems to be in beta in Singapore.
All-weather smart bus — GACHA
The first autonomous driving bus for all weather conditions, GACHA, made its debut in Jätkäsaari, a testing ground for new mobility solutions located in Helsinki.
The development of GACHA began when MUJI and Sensible collectively noticed that the first generation of autonomous buses failed to perform even in light rain. Considering the harsh winter and rainy conditions in Helsinki, GACHA aims to operate as part of the city’s existing transportation systems in 2021 to improve the accessibility of commuters in the city.
GACHA has the capacity to fit approximately 8 passengers in the vehicle at once.
In an ageing society where future shortages of drivers are inevitable, GACHA demonstrates its potential to be a safe and convenient option for commuting in both urban and suburban areas.
Does GACHA sound like something Singapore would do? You’re absolutely right.
We might not be developing a winterproof 8-seater bus roaming our roads, but autonomous vehicles are currently being trialled in several parts of Western Singapore – most noticeably One North as well at NTU. Read more about our own efforts here.
Uber for Boats
Bout, named as the “Uber for boats” platform, is another mobility service that piloted its test rides in Jätkäsaari in 2018. Bout increases the accessibility of Helsinki’s archipelago and coastal locations by connecting people who need boat rides with residents who provide them.
With over 50 pre-defined pick-up locations in the coastal areas of Helsinki and Espoo, travellers can book rides through the platform’s smartphone application.
In Singapore, we might not have the waterways needed to support such an operation, but we are trialling something that’s same-same but different: helicopter taxis, touted to be the world’s first!
Open data policy creates mobility for the blind
According to the Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, Helsinki has the most open government in the world – and that is what sets it apart from its surrounding cities – the principle of transparency.
With an open data policy, Helsinki wants to make its data available to all of its people – entrepreneurs, designers, developers, and residents included. In doing so, the city hopes to encourage the creation of new services that will improve the lives of its citizens.
One of the most successful innovations based on the open data policy is a smartphone GPS app, BlindSquare. Developed in Helsinki with the help of an open data source — Foursquare, the GPS app was designed with the visually impaired in mind.
To ensure safe and reliable travelling, the app has a self-voicing function that delivers detailed points of interest to its users. With BlindSquare, the visually impaired can achieve independence during their outdoor commutes.
An open data policy is also what Singapore believes in as well, and we’ve got data.gov.sg – our own effort to make it easier for citizens or businesses to create useful projects using data that have been diligently collected.
If anything, the projects in Helsinki remind us that there are still many opportunities that are just waiting to be explored in the exciting world of tech. Whether you live in the freezing north, or the sunny tropics, the possibilities for innovation are endless.
Photo Credit: www.tech.gov.sg
The municipality of Cardona in the Rizal province of the Philippines is preparing to centralise its internet and voice connectivity for improved public service, official business and educational delivery.
Cardona’s Mayor was confident that this initiative would benefit not only the business and public service sectors but also the educational sector, especially since the internet is a necessity due to remote learning. Certain processes in local government will also be streamlined as a result of this programme.
The mayor is convinced that the Cardona LGU has always been interested in having centralised internet and voice connectivity. Hence, when a proposal was submitted, he immediately acted on it as he knew that this project will improve the lives of his constituents. The innovative project would make it easier for their LGU to communicate with their constituents from their 18 barangays, 11 of which are on the mainland and 7 on Talim Island, because the technology they are acquiring can provide updates as quickly as possible while also being efficient and consistent.
According to a recent study, the country’s Internet quality is among the best in the world, with the Philippines ranking 20th and demonstrating the fastest year-on-year growth in mobile and broadband speed. Data shows that the country now registers an average of 25.07Mbps and 16.95Mbps for fixed broadband and mobile internet, respectively.
To that end, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) had presented to the House Committee on Appropriations its plans for further improving telecommunications and internet connectivity in the Philippines, notably the National Broadband Programme’s plan for a government-owned national fibre optic network (NBP). According to recent surveys, there has been a noticeable improvement in average internet speeds across the country.
One of the Philippines’ fastest-growing telecommunications distributors will provide the technology for this ground-breaking action plan in Cardona by utilising one of its flagship brands, which is regarded as a pioneering all-in communication platform in the Philippines today.
The project leader of the telecom distributor explains the additional benefits that their technology can provide. He mentions that it is its mission to help the community and that the company acknowledges the challenges that everyone is now facing, which has then led them to create effective and user-friendly solutions that will connect people wherever they are to institutions or organisations the fastest way possible.
OpenGov Asia reported that three months after an order issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) allowing telecom companies to construct infrastructure projects within the allowable right-of-way limits of national roads, the Philippines’ internet provider saw an improvement in its efforts to fibrise more homes and businesses.
The order has bolstered the company’s bid to extend fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) lines to more households in strategic areas across the country. Since the third week of March this year, the internet provider has been able to install FTTH lines, which are supplemented by 96 DWPH permits. The right-of-way order also enabled fiberisation to support Mobile Builds from 39 DPWH permits.
“The support of DPWH, and the government in general, will really allow us to decongest demand for internet connectivity in the highly-urbanised areas in the country. This will help us fast-track laying out our fibre cables to more households that are now more dependent on having reliable, fast, and accessible internet,” said the company’s Vice President for Programme Delivery, Network Technical Group.
A research team of the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has recently developed a self-powered wireless sensing e-sticker (SWISE).
SWISE can convert the energy of the finger touch on the e-sticker into electromagnetic wave signals for wireless transmission without batteries or wires. Taking advantage of flexible, ultra-thin, and long effective transmission distance, SWISE can further the development of smart sensing and remote-control technologies. The findings have been published in the internationally renowned journal Science Advances, and the research team will cooperate with tech companies to bring related smart products to market.
In addition, the team has invented a novel triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) the power output of which is far beyond that of the existing TENG. This invention may pave the way for using TENG to power home electrical appliances and offer an alternative renewable energy option.
Wireless sensing e-sticker
The development of the Internet of Things (IoT) is the key to building a smart city, in which sensors act as eyes and ears of the IoT system. These sensors are responsible for collecting physical variables such as temperature, pressure, speed, and convert them into electronic signals for analysis. Some researchers predicted that there will be billions of sensor nodes connected to the IoT in the next few years forming a physical information sensing network.
However, traditional wireless sensing and transmission technology still require multiple independent modules for sensing, signal modulation, transmission, and power source and management, which make the whole system bulky and rigid, with high power consumption and pricy too. This undoubtedly limits the application scenarios of wireless sensing technology and increases maintenance costs and difficulties.
The research team led by Professor Zi Yunlong, Assistant Professor of the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering at CUHK, has designed a smart material-based e-sticker SWISE, combining the four functional modules of traditional wireless sensing systems into a single unit.
SWISE is a soft and flexible electronic film (the thinnest is only 95 μm, which is less than the width of two human hairs), which generates displacement current during the discharge process to achieve self-powered wireless sensing based on the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) technology.
SWISE has three layers, where the middle one is a metal film with two electrodes, and the outside is composed of a tribo-charge layer and a substrate layer. When the finger slides on the tribo-charge layers of SWISE to generate tribo-charges, a discharge effect will be generated, which converts the kinetic energy of the finger movement into electromagnetic signals. The research team has proved that the signal can travel long distances (up to 30 metres) without an external power supply.
Multi-point sensing ability, which can be achieved by distinguishing the signals generated from different design parameters, allows sensors to be widely applied in different scenarios in a smart city. Thus, the research team has designed devices with varied parameters, for instance, by changing the inductance of the device, so that SWISE can generate signals with different characteristics and spectrums, which expands its application fields.
The wireless soft keyboard and wristband shown in videos 1 and 2 can transmit four different signals 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. SWISE is also expected to be used in smart clothes, robotics, medical treatment, human-machine interfaces, body area sensor networks, and virtual reality in the future.
In addition, the research team is exploring the potential of SWISE for gas detection. They found that spectrums of the electromagnetic signal generated by the displacement current will be slightly varied when the gas composition between the two electrodes of the metal film is changed.
Through artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning technologies, they successfully distinguished the signal characteristics of ten different gas composition and concentration combinations (including argon, carbon dioxide, helium, nitrogen and general air), with 98.5% recognition accuracy.
The team repeatedly tested the SWISE sensing system and its applications, such as wireless soft keyboards and smart wristbands. The results fully proved that it has huge application potential in wireless sensing and remote control. It is expected to further the evolution of smart sensing and remote-control technologies and the development of the smart city in Hong Kong.
This project was funded by the HKSAR Government’s Research Grants Council Early Career Scheme, General Research Fund, HKSAR Innovation and Technology Fund, and Tencent University Relations Programme.
Novel triboelectric nanogenerator with high power output
TENG empowers SWISE to generate displacement current during the discharge process to achieve self-powered wireless sensing. Not only a finger touch can generate power by TENG. Mechanical motions in the environment, such as water waves, wind, rain droplets, and biomechanical motions can also be harvested by TENG to produce clean and renewable energy. However, TENG suffers from two fundamental limitations: the low charge transfer and the high output impedance, which result in low output power and limited application.
Recently, Professor Zi and his team have developed an opposite-charge-enhanced transistor-like triboelectric nanogenerator (OCT-TENG) that is capable of delivering instantaneous power density over 10 MW/m2 at a low frequency of about 1 Hz, far beyond the previous reports.
For demonstrating the high performance of this new invention, the team lit up a 180 W commercial lamp using an OCT-TENG device, as well as a vehicle LED bulb rated 30 W being wirelessly powered. These results set a record for the high-power output of TENG. The related output was published in the prestigious journal of Nature Communications.
A consortium headed up by an Australian telecommunications company will build out the NSW government’s spatial digital twin proof-of-concept in preparation for its planned state-wide expansion. The telecom has been tasked with developing the beta spatial digital twin (SDT) over the next year after scoring a $1.86 million contract with the spatial services arm of the Department of Customer Service (DCS). It will work with five partners, including an engineering consultancy, two geospatial services companies, a digital twin maker and a geospatial platform developer.
The SDT – a 4D model of buildings and utilities, strata plans, terrain and property boundaries that can be overlaid with real-time data – has existed as a proof-of-concept since debuting in February 2020. It currently covers eight local government areas comprising the Western Parkland City, Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula. NSW Spatial Services went looking for a provider – or consortia – in April to deliver the “technical components…. required to prove critical technical capabilities to [a] beta implementation”.
A DCS spokesperson stated that new capabilities to be developed include “self-service APIs, automated infrastructure data feeds and near real-time imagery and elevation data processing”. The capabilities will be developed for beta implementation to support the SDT business case currently under consideration, the spokesperson said.
Spatial Services began developing the business case in partnership with Ernst & Young earlier this year to enable the planned state-wide implementation. It followed a recommendation in the independent inquiry into the Black Summer bushfires that the government “accelerate” the build to support firefighting efforts in the future.
The report found the SDT could help the NSW Rural Fire Service to locate and protect critical assets like telecommunications towers and other utilities in remote areas. The telecom was one of the worst impacted infrastructure providers in the fires, with 329 facilitates – 70% of which were in NSW – suffering outages of four hours or more during the 2019-20 summer.
Spatial Services has also signed a $362,773 contract with CSIRO’s digital arm, Data61, to provide enhancements to the SDT, which is currently powered by Data61’s TerriaJS platform. Enhancements include increasing the range of supported data formats and “introducing user-controlled symbology and features for interacting with 3D data”.
The spokesperson added that future hosting, maintenance and development work on the [digital twin] by Data61 beyond June 2022 is yet to be considered. Earlier this year, Victoria also announced plans to build a state-wide digital twin, making it only the second state or territory to do so.
OpenGov Asia recently reported that the Victorian government has set aside A$ 35 million to build a state-wide spatial digital twin to inform planning decisions and investment. The region’s Planning Minister announced $35.2 million in funding for the digital replica of the southern state recently, with the platform to become widely accessible from late 2021.
Digital Twin Victoria, the three-dimensional data over time (aka 4D) model, will centralise spatial data to visualise the built and natural environments, including utilities and farmland. The platform will be used to “transform planning and unlock efficiencies from the start to finish of infrastructure projects”, as well as to monitor real-time feed data such as renewable energy capacity.
In doing so, the government and the industry will be able to “model different project scenarios, test the feasibility of proposals, troubleshoot potential issues and share complex information across sectors”.
Digital Twin Victoria will build on the digital twin created by Land Use Victoria and the University of Melbourne for the Fishermans Bend renewal project in 2019. The government has partnered with the CSIRO to develop the online platform that will host the digital twin using TerriaJS technology developed by Data61.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Ministry of Science and Technology jointly issued a guideline mapping out key transport technology based on innovation for China through 2035. The guideline emphasises making technological breakthroughs in the transport sector. It sets the goal that self-reliance on key transport technology will be achieved by 2035.
The guideline also plans out a series of research and development tasks on fundamental research, core technology, modern engineering technology and front-tier disruptive technology to bolster supply. Adhering to the philosophy of coordinated development of upstream and downstream industrial chains, transformation and upgrading of transportation construction, equipment and service sectors will be fully promoted.
Mechanisms will optimise to spur the vitality of innovative entities as much as possible. Legislation in artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous driving, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be studied and drawn up.
China has been promoting several pioneering intelligent public transport systems in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Changsha and Wuxi. As one of the demonstration areas, Xiangjiang New Area of Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan province, has seen intelligent buses routinely on the road. Shanghai has opened an 8.5-km intelligent public transport line in Lin’gang New Area, which has eight bus stops. Passengers can make appointments via cell phone apps for using intelligent buses which run clockwise for about 30 minutes on a single trip.
Though the smart public transport service is currently limited to selected areas, they have been tried in a variety of application scenarios such as residential communities, commercial areas, and industrial parks to increase transportation efficiency and save fuel consumption.
The demonstration pioneers have been constantly fine-tuning and upgrading the systems while extending the mileage of safe operation, increasing the number of passengers, pouring investment in technology upgrading, and infrastructure construction to cope with the demand for intelligent public transport.
The transport sector will continue to improve service quality to benefit people as it builds on major progress made in the past. The ministry aims to provide more convenient, faster, and more comfortable services to benefit more people. An integrated service system will be established. People will look for a better and more convenient transfer service when they make transfers between different modes of transportation. the industry will plan transfer hubs with multiple transportation modes following the concept of “zero-meter transfer” to allow passengers to make transfers more easily.
The sector also aims to provide faster services and will continue to build high-speed railways and civil aviation facilities to enhance transportation capacity. A two-hour transportation circle will be established within city clusters. More comfortable transportation services will be provided. In urban areas, bus, metro, and taxi services will be improved. The transport system will benefit more people through the promotion of the unified development of bus services in urban and rural areas. The industry has already established a faster, more convenient passenger transport service system, which includes bullet trains and domestic aviation
China’s civil aviation regulator will promote AI and digitalisation in the industry to make flying more convenient. such services include passengers scanning their faces before embarkation, making the status of checked luggage visible during the journey, and providing services that allow checked luggage to be delivered to homes.
The transport sector has also paid more attention to environmental protection. By the end of last year, China had 466,000 new energy buses, comprising about 66% of all city buses. Research and development of green technology will be promoted to build a more efficient and environmentally-friendly railway system. China’s transportation sector has developed rapidly since 2013.
Smart cities are the future of urban living because technology will play a significant role in governance, making social services available, and ensuring that the future is sustainable for future generations. As the country strives to create more eco-friendly smart cities with improved livability and quality of life for all, there is still work to be done as new technologies and other innovative ideas for city living emerge in the coming years.
The Philippine government had recently pledged to complete its six smart city projects during the 4th ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) Annual Meeting, which was held virtually, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). While the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis slowed the introduction of smart city projects, the Philippines – through its participating local government units (LGUs) – remains committed to pursuing its smart city initiatives, according to DILG Undersecretary for Local Government, who represented DILG Secretary at the meeting.
Meeting challenges in the implementation of our smart city projects was inevitable primarily because of the Covid-19 crisis as local government resources were poured into pandemic response and imposition of health protocols.
– DILG Undersecretary
During the meeting, the DILG highlighted smart city projects such as the City of Manila’s Command Centre Upgrade and E-government Services, Cebu City’s Bus Rapid Transit System and Digital Traffic System, and Davao City’s Converged Command and Control Centre and Intelligent Transportation and Traffic Systems with Security. During the meeting, DILG Undersecretary for Local Government also stated that the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for local economies to shift to information and communication technology-based solutions to reduce health risks and increase coping capacities.
“Maintaining the symbiotic relationship between the network and its member countries and smart cities will help them ride out the pandemic and catalyse economic recovery,” he said.
According to the undersecretary, smart cities have realised that forging partnerships are necessary to overcome the challenges and to move forward. “The Philippine Government expresses its appreciation for the opportunities for partnerships extended through this platform. However, we would like to seek the ASCN’s support for the completion of the smart city projects needing digital infrastructure and applications support,” he said.
Given the country’s location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, he asserted that the design of these projects is centred on the need for an efficient emergency and crisis response centre that provides real-time information for safety, constituency protection, and increased resilience. According to him, efforts are being made to improve traffic management and transportation systems, as well as to provide e-services in government transactions, to reduce travel trips and provide efficient mass transportation systems to address the long-standing problem of mobility and traffic congestion in urban cities.
The city government officially launched the PHP200 million Smart City Command Centre, which was funded by the President’s Office (OP). The Philippine President, in a message read by a Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary during the launch, congratulated the city on coming up with the innovation despite the pandemic.
“Transforming the city into data-driven and technologically –able during the time of emergency is worthy of recognition. Considering the many challenges that all local government units locally and globally are facing,” said the President.
The mayor, meanwhile, said the project will allow the city to respond to emergencies and improve the social and health system. The command centre will revolutionise how the city manages its critical assets, increase capacity to prevent and respond to emergencies and disasters, preserve the environment, speed up government services, improve social and health systems and protect lives and property. The government will be able to govern more efficiently by gathering data to identify, analyse, and solve problems.
The future of work is going to be different from any current workplace. AI, automation and advanced systems assure improved safety, simplified routine tasks and a higher level of productivity across companies. In addressing this, construction companies, which are struggling from a prolonged workforce shortage, will soon receive up to 80% financing to adopt robotics and automation solutions. The initiative is part of a joint project initiated by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
In the scale pillar of the Construction Industry Transformation Map (ITM), which is supported by the Construction and Facilities Management Industry Digital Plan (IDP), R&A initiatives will be the key facility for industrial transformation in broad-based SME scanning. The digital revolution can also help to build the resilience of BE as well as to improve productivity. The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to speed up R&A solutions to reduce dependency on inadequately low-skilled manpower.
Work-intensive tasks such as painting and drilling can, for instance, be automated and accelerated by adopting such solutions. The risk of falls and injuries caused by the lifting and transportation of heavy equipment at work sites could also be reduced by robotics and automation.
It’s not just about growing a talent pipeline for tomorrow, it is (also) about upskilling our existing workforce.
– Minister of State for Communications and Information
The Minister for National Development unveiled the Integrated Robotics and Automation Solutions Initiative for the Environmental Building Sector in a speech. He urged suppliers to submit their proposals to help companies in the industry with ready-to-use robotics and automation solutions and called upon companies to tape the solutions when available. The qualifying costs for the adoption of such solutions can be funded at up to 80% by SMEs and larger firms.
State Minister for Communications and Information also pointed out, from early research and innovation to deployment, how the BCA has put in place an ecosystem for supporting robotics and automation providers. The Building Innovation Panel, set up in 2011, has also helped to establish test-bedding opportunities, to facilitate the regulatory clearance of innovative solutions, and broaden into further areas, such as robotics and automation in 2019.
An autonomous robot carrier, which will be implemented in the Mount Alvernia Hospital expansion later this year, is one project that has received in-principal approval. The robot will be able to assist in the transportation of heavy construction materials on-site and is expected to increase site productivity by 30% while also improving worksite safety. He added: “Oftentimes, it is not just about innovation at one worksite. But innovation allows us to benefit… a wider group of stakeholders at the precinct level, and sometimes (it is) only at the precinct level that we can get economies of scale at critical mass to try out new solutions.”
More than ten companies have submitted over 30 proposals to test new emerging technologies under the Built Environment Living Laboratory Framework, which was launched last year, and these proposals are currently being evaluated. The Minister of State for Communications and Information has also stated that as more technological tools are adopted in the built environment sector, the nature of jobs will change and that this shift must be supported by a strong pipeline of talent. This is being developed in part through collaboration with institutions of higher learning and industry professionals to attract talent to the industry.
Automation and engineered systems are powerful forces in shaping the future of work. These engineered systems fuel increased innovation, and as computing power grows in the coming years, so will the applications of these technologies. Automated software is progressing beyond simple, repetitive tasks and will soon be capable of performing cognitive tasks.
Every day, new workflows are automated in industries ranging from recruitment to workplace safety. Regardless of industry, these technological advancements all have one goal in mind: to create a safer, more inclusive future.
Building on the recent successful conclusion of the Smart City Challenge (SCC), the City of Columbus has announced it is looking forward and Smart Columbus will become a collaborative innovation lab as it continues the development of new innovations to benefit its residents.
The SCC was created by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to evaluate a holistic approach to using new technologies to improve transportation performance, and how that approach could be integrated with other smart city domains, including public services, health, safety and energy.
The government was really looking for that mid-sized city to accelerate technology deployment that was focused on data in transportation mobility. We really looked at some of the challenges we were facing as a community and developed an application around that.
Smart Columbus program manager
Over the five-year program, using the $50 million SCC awards from the USDOT and a Foundation, along with $19 million in the city, state and county cost-sharing, Columbus deployed a comprehensive portfolio of mobility technologies that showed how safer and more equitable transportation options create opportunity for residents now and in the future.
Before the pandemic, approximately 85% of Columbus residents drove personal vehicles to where they needed to be, so some projects were connected to vehicle technology, designed to give people more information when they drive.
They also looked at shared mobility and deployed Pivot, a trip-planning app for people using the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) system that helped connect people with first/last mile options like scooters, rideshare and ride-hail options. Pivot is available at kiosks at smart mobility hubs in the city as well.
Smart Columbus also launched autonomous, self-driving shuttles in February 2020, but the outbreak of COVID altered plans because people suddenly did not need to be moved around. Columbus added about 2,300 direct and indirect jobs, they were able to account for over $700 million in aligned investment and it is had some tangible economic impact.
However, the situation also made Columbus more visible as it is ‘America’s Smart City,’ and companies are coming there to do more business. U.S. Department of Transportation has shared that they are the number one autonomous vehicle testing centre in the country now. They can help the residents, invent more cutting-edge technologies. They are being a leader in the transportation space, bringing in more jobs and opportunities.
The City of Columbus and the Columbus Partnership have announced that Smart Columbus will be sustained as an agile, collaborative innovation lab that benefits the Columbus Region by anticipating and advancing what is new and next at the intersection of technology and community good.
When we deploy technology in partnership with the community, we can address some of our most pressing challenges. Smart Columbus will continue to explore how mobility innovation, climate technologies, digitalisation and other emerging technologies can help us address complex societal problems, respond to disruption and generate economic opportunity.
Smart Columbus is partnering with the city and the Columbus Foundation in a methodology that they are adopting into their innovation practice called Human Centred Design, which reaches out to residents for feedback on what problems the community needs solutions to.
Equity and inclusion are a big part of what the Human Centred Design is all about, such as making sure lived experience experts are at the table, shaping this, providing feedback, getting at the core issues, and weighing in, so this is not just technology for technology’s sake and blind of all sensitivities. This allows moving forward with the community.
Throughout the SCC and beyond, Smart Columbus and its partners have put community involvement at the forefront of developing and implementing new technologies, making them an example for cities across the country, and the world. The city is one of 50 Champion Cities selected by prestigious philanthropies as part of the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge.