Smart cities expert stresses the importance of ‘smart mobility’

Wenjie Dong | E+ | Getty Images

An expert in smart cities has emphasized the importance of redefining “smart mobility,” arguing the most successful urbanized areas have benefited by moving away from traditional transport systems.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday, Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said the way we get around cities could be on the cusp of a significant shift.

“I think the successful cities, what they are doing is they are moving from the traditional transport system into (a) smart transport system,” he said.

Bris went onto explain this could be achieved in a number of ways such as, “car sharing, mobility solutions based on bicycles or scooters, or even by removing … the concept of a ‘drivable city’ and by improving and increasing the number of pedestrian areas.”

From contactless payments for bus rides to on demand services such as Uber and Lyft that are booked using smartphones, the way people get about dense urban environments is undergoing a change that often marries technological innovation with ideas about sustainability. 

Cycle hire schemes are also beginning to be rolled out in major cities around the world, while a number of municipal authorities are re-developing entire areas to make them more pedestrian and cycle friendly.

Bris’ comments follow the publication of the 2020 Smart City Index, which was released by the Institute for Management Development in partnership with the Singapore University for Technology and Design.

The Smart City Index ranked 109 cities in total, with Singapore coming top, followed by Finland’s Helsinki and Switzerland’s Zurich.

Bris said a smart city was one that used technology, such as smart cameras and air pollution control, while also benefiting its citizens.  

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