An Approach to Smart Mobility

By: Ana Gutierrez Monge, Head, Comms and Public Relations, EYSA Group | Tuesday, 5 December 2023

Ana Gutierrez Monge has more than 20 years of experience in financial services, insurance, real estate, and smart mobility. Ana holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and an advanced management program in IESE from the University of Navarra, Spain.

It refers to the most efficient (from an economic and sustainable perspective) way of moving people and/or goods from one place to another. While the term "smart cities" emerged in the early 21st century to introduce the use of technology in managing urban traffic to prevent congestion in major routes, it was soon surpassed by the concept of "smart mobility." This expanded concept includes interurban transportation of both people and goods.

The broadening of this concept has led to an expansion of its objectives. It's no longer just about avoiding traffic jams and saving time; it's also about reducing emissions and noise, enhancing road safety, improving the quality of life for all stakeholders (residents, users, drivers, and carriers), and boosting the economies of influenced areas.

Smart mobility is a crucial sector in the economy. It goes beyond merely saving costs (time and resources) by embracing intelligent mobility. It should be seen as a transformative sector heavily involved in research, development, and innovation. This sector develops and implements new technologies and repurposes existing ones, continuously enhancing productivity across various industries.

Consider, for instance, Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, where all mobility information for a specific area can be managed from a single location. This enables the anticipation of consequences and the prompt implementation of necessary measures with just a few clicks.

The swiftness in decision-making and execution allows, for example, in the event of a chain accident at the entrance to a city, the prompt alerting of emergency services, the establishment of alternative routes, the reinforcement of public transportation, and the dissemination of information to all citizens, thus preventing further accidents and miles-long congestions. This avoids delays in the start of workdays, in the delivery of goods, and in service provision, resulting in significant fuel savings. Ultimately, without technologies that organize traffic and reduce fuel consumption, the economy suffers.

Additionally, measures emphasizing cost efficiency are introduced, such as pay-per-use (where users pay for infrastructure maintenance, rather than non-users) and congestion charges (where those causing negative externalities, such as pollution, pay).

This sector is crucial for sustainability. For years, the World Health Organization has warned about the undeniable health damage caused by air pollution, even at concentrations lower than previously believed. High levels of air pollution increase the risk of respiratory diseases, particularly affecting vulnerable groups such as children, the sick, and the elderly.

Efforts toward economic efficiency in mobility imply environmental efficiency, converging when unnecessary stops are avoided to save fuel and curb vehicle pollution. While the impact on air quality is most significant, other positive impacts of smart mobility include increased road safety, reduced noise levels, decreased stress, and saved time during travels, allowing for leisure, rest, or caring for dependents.

Lastly, smart mobility cannot exist without public-private collaboration. Governments and public entities must develop efficient mobility policies while the private sector contributes with design, technology, investment, and service management.