Senior Editor, SmartCitiesWorld
Urban space is at a premium as urban populations continue to grow. More and more services need to be rolled out to match supply with demand.
Among the most crucial of these areinfrastructure needed is transportation services, but as demand grows, so does the need to ensure these services are green and sustainable.
With the electrification of mobility comes the need to reassess how we utilise existing infrastructure in the form of street furniture, kerbsides and roads to make better use of those spaces, deliver on charging infrastructure and promote more active means of travel.
Reclamation of the urban kerbside
The urban kerbside is ripe for disruption and, more importantly, reclamation. Historically, these spaces have been primarily used only for car parking, meaning there are hundreds of thousands of square feet of kerbside space that cities could reclaim, with the application of the right policy and programmes.
Investment in the infrastructure that is required to make the transition to green mobility a success has to be made now.
Kerbsides are set to change from car parking to car charging infrastructure with the implementation of technologies that can transform idle kerbsides into useful space. Among these is electric vehicle charging technology, which can be standalone chargers or integrated into smart poles to make more efficient use of space and existing infrastructure.
Technology vendors, such as Nokia, have worked on projects across Europe to take smart poles to a new level, integrating vehicle chargers into them. This latter approach not only boosts a city’s EV infrastructure credentials, but also brings other smart applications, such as smart lighting and air quality monitoring.
Active and share mobility options needed
However, private mobility is only half the battle in terms of the transition to greener mobility; active and shared mobility options are going to be critical in reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Public transport has perhaps the biggest role to play here, with fleets being gradually transitioned to electric and hydrogen power.
However, the infrastructure must match the vehicles and can come at great expense, making collaboration an important part of the process. A good example of this is the Bus Eireann’s hydrogen bus rollout in July 2021, in which it agreed to use hydrogen from BOC Gases Ireland, with refuelling at the supplier’s Bluebell facility.
Investment in the infrastructure that is required to make the transition to green mobility a success has to be made now; without it, the climate action plans that cities are now announcing will have significantly less chance of succeeding – especially in the short timeframes they have to complete them.