- How should cities make the case to its citizens for funding smart city investments?
Investing in a smart city is not just about technology, it is about improving the lives of citizens. Urban migration has increased the need and demand for public transit options. Transportation connects us to opportunity. Transportation puts people to work and makes us more competitive in the global economy. People want infrastructure that reduces congestion and provides flexibility while protecting the environment. People want high-speed trains that shuttle between cities and light rail systems that connect to jobs. They want bike paths, bike shares, buses, and streetcars that give them the option to leave the car at home. They are looking for flexible car sharing options with less financial and logistical burdens. The proof is in the numbers. People are taking a record number of trips on public transportation. Amtrak ridership has grown more than 40 percent in the last ten years. Over 20 American cities now operate bike shares, and each program has been met with incredible popularity.
Every year, 1.3 million people die in road accidents around the globe. The implementation of V2X and other intelligent transport systems will significantly reduce accidents, hours spent in traffic jams and CO2 emissions. However, safe and secure mobility can only come to life if there’s a commitment to collaboration, new technology adoption and enhancedinfrastructure.
With the enablement of intelligent traffic systems, roadways will become safer for all of us. It can improve fuel economy for larger vehicles like semis and buses, and allow us to choose routes based on distance, time and environmental impact. Vehicles will communicate with infrastructure to clear a just-in-time path through traffic. With expanded availability of modern transportation options with bus, light rail, heavy rail, car share, or bike share, that all may be accessed via a common credential, our daily commutes become less tedious and more productive. ITS and mobility modernization lead to an improved environment for today and tomorrow.
Additionally, our urban environments are populated by more and more connected “Things” equipped with many different sensors for data capture and analytics. A city that invests in smart solutions can kick-start a wider technology ecosystem, enabling innovation in city services to thrive. A simple example like a connected trash dumpster that notifies the city or contractor that it is near full, can enable a city to significantly reduce the number of times dumpsters are emptied simply because that is the routine. There are also additional examples of intelligent power grids, water, and street lighting that can reduce wasteful resource over-utilization.
- What role do private partners and businesses play in the realization of smart cities?
The private industry plays an important role in the planning and development of smart cities. By way of example, NXP as a technology leader and application solutions provider, provides city planners and traffic engineers overviews of technology, products, and application solutions such as DSRC for V2V and V2I, intelligent roadside units for V2I, with bicyclist and pedestrian detection, and secure mobile transit fare solutions. The private industry provides further benefit to city officials when they combine their technology and product overviews in-concert with selected ecosystem partners that can deliver complete solutions applicable for smart city planning and implementation including product maintenance support during and post implementation phase. The knowledge and product/service support that the private industry in a partnership can provide is invaluable for city departments lacking the technical knowledge and resources to scout, define and execute to implementation complete solutions.
- How should policy makers approach the planning of smart cities?
Policy makers need to understand the causes to problems faced by citizens of different urban and suburban corridors in a city. For example, many cities have aggregated shipping hubs that can benefit from implementing intelligent traffic systems by giving increased priority to larger vehicles while also making thoroughfare safer for pedestrians, lower harmful emissions into the environment and reduce traffic. Impoverished areas may be improved with increased access to mobility options to enable workers to move to and from workplaces, healthcare facilities or social service locations without being reliant on owning a car.
Rather than competing for ever scarcer resources, states and, at a more granular level, cities should work together to learn from best practices, seek synergies, and where possible co-develop solutions with industries for the future.
- Some argue that, since rebuilding infrastructure is costly, retrofitting is where the design of smart city initiatives may truly shine. Do you agree, and if so, how can companies approach "retrofitting?"
Rebuilding infrastructure on municipal, state, and federal levels may become a self-limiting exercise. Even with the President’s proposed massive investments in the renewal and buildout of the nation’s infrastructure, there is only so much concrete that can be poured, rebar that can be embedded in that concrete, and structural steel that can be readily sourced before significant funding gaps arise. The incipient decline in federal motor fuels taxes, which are a major source for transportation-related project funding, is just one cause for the anticipated funding shortfalls. That said, existing roadways can be made smarter to handle traffic more efficiently and safely. Pavements and bridge spans can be outfitted with sensor technology to help local departments of public works best manage maintenance and prolong infrastructure lifetime. It will take close cooperation between industry and government and a series of public-private partnerships, as well as educational campaigns to garner the necessary citizen-stakeholder buy-in to make a new era of smart cities a reality.
- What do you think of the DOT's Smart Cities challenge?
NXP is a proud partner in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. The Challenge was a contest for mid-sized cities to demonstrate how advanced data and intelligent transportation technologies can be used to reduce energy consumption and congestion. Our secure connectivity solutions such as smart parking systems and vulnerable road user safety concepts will bring immediate and tangible results to drivers and pedestrians, cyclists, and non-traditional road users alike. As a technology partner to the USDOT for the Smart Cities Challenge we are excited about the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of everyday Columbus residents. We look forward to the working with existing and partners to enable solutions that exist today and create innovative solutions for tomorrow.
- For citizens who are unaware of smart cities, or smart cities initiatives, how can local governments increase public education of the benefits of IoT technology?
City government leaders can bring selected private industry partners together or separately to participate in IoT Technology Fairs open to the public. Such city sponsored events allow their citizens to directly engage and learn from industry experts on IoT technologies that are today and will in the future, transform their lives for the better with safer travel, less congestion and greater convenience. NXP has played a leading role in this area by deploying our IoT truck to a number of urban centers. The IoT truck, essentially a mobile lab stuffed to the rafters with a wide array of NXP’s smart cities and IoT technologies, has served to provide a vision of a new tomorrow characterized by safety and efficiency to policymakers. Just as importantly, the IoT truck – which is open to all – has exposed younger visitors to the possibilities of technology far beyond what so many of them experience in day to day life.
- What are some early success stories you've seen with smart cities? Any promising results and case studies we should all be aware of?
In the mobility space, we have international references where cites have enabled their citizens with a common credential that is capable of accessing multiple modes of transportation, social services, cultural resources, tourist locations, venues as well as universities and schools.
August 2016: Biometric cards to Increase National Security and Enhance Social and Economic eServices in Jordan. The new Jordanian citizen card is a multifunctional form of identification which can be used for conventional citizenship while offering an array of new embedded social and economic applications such as storing travel itinerary, providing access to eBanking services, and secure voting and health insurance verification. The personal data and biometric features, such as the card holder’s photo and fingerprints, are stored securely on the SmartMX chip in digital form. These new cards will also help reduce congestion and process time for renewals, as well as decrease fraud and counterfeiting while increasing security and enhancing a number of government applications.
July 2016: NXP Semiconductors, Tönnjes and Kirpestein B.V. collaborated to complete a field trial with over 100 military vehicles. After 12 months of testing in various weather conditions, with over 100 assorted military vehicles and at different speeds, presented the results of the first field trial with IDePLATEs (license plates). The field trial confirmed the secure, robust, effective, and reliable use of RFID technology for vehicle identification. In this collaboration, NXP provided embedded technology in the license plates, Tönnjes integrated the system and Kirpestein manufactured the license plates and provided project management support. The trial started in 2015 and took place at the military base in Oirschot, the Netherlands. Cars and trucks were equipped with IDePLATEs and IDeSTIXs (windshield labels) with integrated passive RFID chips. Authorized reading units, mounted on a gantry, continuously read the privacy protected unique chip IDs on the license plates and windshield labels of passing vehicles. The successful results of the field trial have already led to large scale implementation of the applied chips in electronic license plates projects in South America.
February 2016: Kenya identifies automobiles by using RFID technology. Almost 47 million people are registered citizens of Kenya. However, the government has no backed record on the total number of car owners on Kenya’s streets. As a consequence, the state misses out on tax revenues that are essential to enhance the country’s traffic infrastructure. The Kenyan National Transport & Safety Authority (NTSA) wants to change this situation. Its aim is to create a nationwide vehicle register. For that reason, the German based company TÖNNJES C.A.R.D. supplies Kenya with about 3.3 million windshield labels that entail an integrated UCODE® DNA RAIN RFID chip from NXP® Semiconductors. The technology allows the secure identification and authentication of vehicles.
June 2015 – The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and chip specialist NXP announced the launch of intelligent barriers at the HPA site. The was to process the organization’s vehicles more quickly and to enable modern, convenient, and secure parking lot access for HPA employees. Some of the vehicles in the HPA fleet were fitted with license plates containing RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. These chips are able to communicate wirelessly with a reader in the barriers, thus enabling access to be granted automatically and contactlessly – without the need for any further identification
January 2017: Badge provider ITN, utilizing the latest MIFARE DESFire EV2 chip from NXP Semiconductors, along with CEA and NXP Semiconductors enable the CES2017 badge to be the key to a smart city for both CES and Las Vegas Monorail. CES2017 attendees could pre-purchase their Las Vegas Monorail pass and pick up their badge with both the CES2017 credentials and Las Vegas Monorail pass, or use the AppXplorer application to add their Las Vegas Monorail pass to their CES2017 badge after picking it up. These options enabled greater flexibility for the more than 170,000 attendees to CES2017 to choose the Las Vegas Monorail, the most convenient and time efficient way to travel to and from the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Chris Rezendes, Founder, Managing Director at IoT IMPACT LABS