What it's about:
New York City has successfully used smart technology to tackle urban challenges such as congestion and inefficiency, the city’s first director of innovation says.
A large number of city buses have been fitted with GPS sensors that can send real-time signals to traffic lights, enabling them to turn from red to green as the bus approaches.
The implementation of smart buses in the U.S. city has led to a 20 percent reduction in commuter times, said Jeff Merritt, who now runs the Internet of Things (IoT) division at the World Economic Forum.
“Technology helps us order the chaos [in cities], find efficiency and improve quality of life,” he said in a video interview with Cities To Be, a digital platform for urbanisation experts.
Smart buses provide a faster, more environmentally friendly alternative to cars, Merritt argued. “We are addressing concerns of increased congestion and densification,” he said.
Why it's noteworthy:
Global urbanisation has brought with it a whole host of social and environmental challenges such as traffic congestion and air pollution.
Smart technology helps cities tackle their most pressing urban challenges by improving efficiency and quality of life. But its implementation is not without risks.
Data can be abused and create new vulnerabilities and threats for residents. Urban planners must find a way to harness smart data without infringing on people’s privacy, Merritt said.
The cyber risk debate is timely as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force at the end of this month. The new legal framework will give EU citizens more control over their personal information and place greater restrictions on data collection by companies.
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Cities To Be