This week, The Energy Collective, a blog on energy and climate, posted an article on smart cities and smart grids. The article looks at how transportation can be made more sustainable by moving people and goods in a cleaner, safer, greener, and healthier way. Sustainable transportation includes not only electric vehicles but also location-aware vehicles and options such as Zipcars, bikes and buses. That’s where information and communications technology can come into the equation. Author Christine Hertzog uses the term New Mobility to describe the integration of transportation with ICT. By combining information ranging from traffic data to public transportation schedules and car sharing options, a city can create a single online platform for a city’s residents to make sustainable transportation decisions. Hertzog points to Bremen, Germany, as an example of a city that has created an integrated sustainable transportation system. Another great example is mobile app Greenway, which aims to end traffic jams by routing cars to nearby roads with little traffic. Greenway, which was created by a team of German students, won this year’s Imagine Cup Environmental Sustainability Award.
Elsewhere, Firstpost.com, a news site based in India, wrote on the Indian government’s plans for smart cities under an urban renewal mission. The Urban Development Ministry plans to have central government funds be used to have two smart cities in every state in India. Components of these smart cities would include broadband, intelligent transportation and carbon neutrality. The project also plans to collaborate with the Austrian Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Urban Affairs. These collaborative global efforts demonstrate the impact smart city implementation can have, especially in emerging economies. India’s effort to build smart cities throughout the world’s second most populous country also shows that smart cities are part of a recipe for using technology to lessen dependence on carbon-based forms of energy.