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Publications & Media

What is smart transportation?

Smart transportation includes the use of several technologies, from basic management systems such as car navigation; traffic signal control systems; container management systems; automatic number plate recognition to speed cameras to monitoring applications, extending to more advanced applications that integrate live data and feedback from multiple external sources.

NEC New Zealand leverages ICT to solve social and economic issues such as traffic congestion with the goal of increasing the use of public transport. From multi-modal Integrated Ticketing and Automated Fare Collection to our public safety solutions including Passenger Information Systems and Transit Management Systems, NEC continues to lead the market in smart transportation solutions both globally and right here in New Zealand.

In November 2020, we signed a long-term agreement with Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council to evolve their current bus network into a smart transportation network using a modern real-time information (RTI) system to accurately track and inform passengers of buses and journeys in their network.

But what makes transportation smart? We take a closer look below.

What makes transportation smart?

Back in August, we wrote a detailed post about what it is exactly that makes transportation smart, however, to summarise, here are some of the key findings from that post. According to three mobility experts interviewed at the New York Smart Cities event in 2019, there are three themes that make up smart transportation:

1.      Infrastructure

Here at NEC, we work with Transit Agencies and Public Transport Operators to provide effective, data-driven tools for fleet and vehicle planning, helping to contribute to the overall effectiveness of transportation infrastructures.

2.      Sharing

One of the main reasons why sharing is at the heart of Smart Transportation is accessibility. Sharing opens the possibility for anyone, from all walks of life and across the social spectrum, to ride whenever they wish.

3.      Governments

Governments must facilitate this shift towards on-demand and app-based mobility by putting in place the infrastructure to support the transport model.

What are the benefits of smart transportation?

Whether it is specific smart transportation solutions or creating ‘smart cities’, incorporating ICT and other relevant technologies into a city’s transportation network is not simply done to tick a few boxes. Governments and local councils work closely with smart transportation solution providers on solutions which will provide citizens with a better, safer, and more enjoyable place to live and work.

Deciding which solutions will provide the greatest benefit to the most people is often the biggest challenge faced by decision-making authorities. However, with the right planning and investment, governments and city authorities can make cities more liveable, more workable and more sustainable – both economically and environmentally.

Here are some of the key benefits of smart transportation.

Liveability

People regard an efficient, convenient, and reliable transportation and mobility network as one of the most highly valued features of any modern city. Smart transportation solutions allow people to travel more efficiently, both for work and leisure, meaning less time in traffic and a more diverse range of travel options which are also typically all interconnected.

Smart transportation solutions also help reduce congestion leading to cleaner air in and around ‘smart cities’, enhancing the liveability of city living and improving the overall standard of living.

Workability

Most of us, spend a huge amount of time at or commuting to work. A smart transportation network provides citizens and visitors with convenient, affordable and reliable ways for getting to and from where they work, expanding employment options — and that applies to all citizens.

Truly smart transportation networks are inclusive and able to provide access to employment opportunities for low-income and marginalised segments of the population who might not otherwise have such opportunities.

In addition, smart transportation solutions also help to attract businesses to a city or region. Businesses take into consideration the transportation network when making location or relocation decisions as they understand their employees will depend on it. This leads to new employment opportunities for citizens as well as making a city a more attractive proposition for people looking to settle.

Sustainability

Sustainability is such an important issue for all businesses and governments and local authorities are no different. Smart transportation solutions are clean and efficient. Reduced traffic congestion results in cleaner air, less wasted time and reduced energy consumption. In addition, interconnected bike and pedestrian walkways entice people to leave their vehicles at home more often, contributing to a more sustainable environment.

With the increase in electric vehicles, cities are also having to work to accommodate sufficient charging stations to ensure owners can charge conveniently, again contributing to the overall sustainability of a city.

Summary

Smart transportation solutions are becoming more prevalent, both here in New Zealand and overseas. In the next 5-10 years, we can expect more cities to embrace smart solution technology to improve the overall standard of living.

Smart transportation networks are also safer as they are connected, flexible and able to respond to emergencies quickly, thanks in part to video and sensor technology that allows city transportation system operators to constantly monitor traffic flow and respond to potential disruptions before they occur.

NEC New Zealand is excited to be part of the Smart Transportation narrative here in New Zealand and we look forward to working with more local authorities and businesses to develop and implement smart transportation solutions that help to improve the lives of Kiwis and international visitors to New Zealand.

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