What Does a Smart Data-Driven City Look Like? Deloitte Explores the Future of Mobility in Its City Mobility Index.
If the future of mobility started yesterday, the picture is only now coming into focus. What does a truly smart, liveable, economically vibrant city look like?
Last January, Deloitte announced its Deloitte City Mobility Index (DCMI), a research initiative aimed at helping city officials gauge the health of their mobility networks and readiness for the future. The company launched the second phase with 29 additional city studies in June.
The collection of “conscious choices” offered the first holistic view of our urban mobility ecosystems according to the report. “Most of the technology is already there,” says Slavko Savanovic, co-director of Deloitte’s Future of Mobility initiative for the Netherlands. The big question is how you build that ecosystem with so many different service providers and stakeholders, he says. “It’s also what makes it very complicated. It is all data-driven.”
Partnerships and Integration
It’s no surprise that data is playing a critical role. The Dutch automotive leader for Deloitte Netherlands says any platform solution needs as much location intelligence as possible to unlock the potential of what the study is forecasting: a fully integrated ecosystem capable of creating seamless urban transportation across different modes and jurisdictions.
Both Savanovic and HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek point to a simple objective. “How can we deal with movements,” Savanovic asks, “whether it’s with people or goods.” The challenge, Overbeek says, is aligning interests, understanding trends, and bringing it all together. “Today, platform operators can rely on databases to provide a more accurate picture in a much shorter time frame at a lower cost,” the DCMI notes. “Unfortunately, when it comes to designing and implementing a long-term vision for future mobility, it is all too easy to ignore, misinterpret, or skew this data to fit a preexisting narrative.”
Taking the Long View
The future of mobility is more than just location intelligence or bike lanes. Electric cars alone won’t solve the problem of congestion when 75% of us are living in cities by 2050. But the solutions are here — and surprisingly corollary.
In 2016, Deloitte produced Ben’s Journey, a fictionalized rendering of what an automated, personalized day might looks like in a frictionless ecosystem. The video touched on many of the topics addressed in the study: older cites can change, integration is key, private transportation isn’t always the solution, and geography is a factor, to name a few. The report uses three key metrics: performance and resilience; vision and leadership; and service and inclusion.
Savanovic says mobility requires a long view and one that might question certain assumptions: Why is there a rush hour, for instance? Why do schools start at the same time? Moreover, how can current trends provide insight into an environment we might not even recognize in the near future?
The market shift from the desirability of ownership to a desirability of access is one example. The economics of curbside parking is another. The benefits of a citywide hyperloop is a third. “You need to think differently,” he says, noting the rise of on-demand pay-per-use services from phones to insurance. For Savanovic, there’s no reason why the market won’t support these developments when they come with such positive impacts. “Not only by the younger people but generations to follow,” he adds.
Work in Progress
Our future might be clear, but the effort is far from concerted. According to Savanovic, both Europe and Asia are leading the initiative with respect to sustainability and environmental issues. Deloitte has partnered with individual markets like Columbus, OH, to address mobility issues directly. The result included a roadmap for building a single digital platform called the “Smart Columbus Operating System” where all smart city applications could be integrated.
Still, pertinent questions remain. Issues like network security, regulations, and general oversight, variables arguably underpinning our entire ecosystem, are at stake. Simply, who is responsible? Savanovic says the concerns are clear, but the answers are slow to materialize, in the Netherlands and elsewhere. “If you’re responsible, you need to do something about it,” he says, adding that private companies are certainly affected by regulations.
There’s also the question of emergency planning and the debate between public and private ownership. “There’s a political will, but not from a law perspective, we’re not there yet,” he says. “The laws aren’t clear.” Last May, Deloitte addressed the issue by offering its Future of Mobility Maturity Curve for Governments. In addition to outlining four key roles for the public sector — strategist, operator, catalyst and regulator — the study stressed that change is a collective effort, one that must include local government as a key partner.
The future of mobility is more than who gets to call the shots. Or who invests the most, as the DCMI notes. Our smart, data-driven cities of the future will be fully integrated ecosystems harnessing much of the technology that’s available today. Problems like traffic, pollution, and waste management stand to benefit by simply asking, how do we move from point A to point B? For Deloitte, the future of mobility plays a central role in a city’s economic prosperity. For the rest of us, the future of mobility is a better way to live.
About HERE Technologies
HERE, the Open Location Platform company, enables people, businesses and cities to harness the power of location. By making sense of the world through the lens of location we empower our customers to achieve better outcomes – from helping a city manage its infrastructure or a business optimize its assets to guiding drivers to their destination safely. To learn more about HERE, including our new generation of cloud-based location platform services, visit http://360.here.com and www.here.com.