As part of Information Age's Smart City Month, James I. Chong, founder and CEO of Vidsys, looks at the importance of transport in the success of smart cities
Smart city initiatives, such as intelligent transportation, are developing rapidly around the world and for good reason. Smart cities not only promote better community service and government efficiency, but the potential for increased public safety and business success as well.
Transportation systems are a key component of any city – the arteries if you will – and, as technology has developed to create intelligent transportation systems, this critical infrastructure should be included in any smart city initiative.
As an example, passenger and freight rail systems, both national and local, are comparatively open environments without the invasive security procedures we see in other critical infrastructure areas, such as the aviation segment.
However, rail systems remain attractive potential terrorist targets, as evidenced by several prior attacks. Add to this the challenge of aging infrastructure – bridges and tunnels – and the safety and security of our rail system grow more vulnerable each day.
In addition, transportation critical infrastructure sectors rely on technology to manage daily incidents and keep commerce moving. Airports, seaports and transit agencies are complex, dynamic environments with public areas, employee-only access zones, construction sites and vast perimeters. Security is often a shared responsibility that requires coordination and collaboration among local, state and security agencies. There are a variety of overlapping authorities that demand effective communication networks.
Intelligent transportation must be a first step in the smart city movement. This could include monitoring traffic patterns, highly trafficked pedestrian areas, metro stations, coordinating train times and much more. When cities host large events that increase traffic and security concerns, it becomes increasingly clear that any smart city initiative must begin with intelligent transportation.
Intelligent transportation can improve overall situational awareness while enhancing interoperability and the ability to share information quickly. It provides a holistic approach to risk management as it fortifies emergency preparedness and response capabilities for cities, including fare evasion, vandalism or violence, medical emergencies, track obstructions and other similar types of disruptive events. Some large cities have already taken steps to enhance their transportation systems’ intelligence as part of their smart city initiative.
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