Hour-long traffic gridlock on roads has become a common feature of living in a rapidly expanding metropolitan city, with no respite in sight. The United Nations has predicted that the traffic situation would further deteriorate, as by 2030 two-thirds of the world’s population will live in megacities with high population density. This draws our immediate attention towards the need to mitigate overcrowding and congestion through smart urban planning.
Intel wrote in its official blog that the concept of smart cities, which incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have the potential to drastically change the way citizens live, work and conduct their day-to-day activities.
But is there any effective way to gauge the magnitude of the impact?
It seems there is! An Intel-backed study by Juniper Research estimates that smart cities would save up to 125 hours of every urban resident each year. Moreover, the study lists four key areas related to smart cities: mobility, health care, public safety, and productivity.
“Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world,” says Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research.
“We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services, and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life,” Winsdor further added.
Smart cities will enhance the quality of life of citizens in multiple ways and reduce the taken time to commute between home and workplace as the problem of traffic congestion is dealt with.
Let’s briefly look at the crucial developments in smart cities that would expectedly save time.
Mobility: The average vehicle speed in cities with high traffic is 4 mph. This waiting time in traffic jams leads to drivers losing 70 hours per year. The study established that an integrated IoT-enabled infrastructure of intelligent traffic systems, safer roads, and directed parking can save up to 60 hours of drivers every year.
Healthcare: It was revealed by the study that smart cities with connected digital health services would play a substantial role in saving citizens almost 10 hours a year and offer lifesaving benefits for both patients and medics.
Examples such as wearable apps monitor blood pressure, pain tolerance and temperature to help people manage chronic conditions without hospitalization would help in saving time, as per the Intel study.
Public Safety: Advancement in public safety can deliver substantial time benefits for smart city citizens – nearly 35 hours per year, according to the study. For instance, in Portland, Oregon, and San Diego Intel joined GE and AT&T to deploy the Digital Infrastructure with Current. This enables the cityscape to generate valuable data, enabling a host of local departments to be safer, cleaner and increasing efficiency.