What is a smart city?

Rethinking Smart Futures: Focused on people, enabled by transport, powered by technology

As the influence of digital technologies on citizens' transport options and travel choices continue to grow, the landscape of transport and how we travel is developing. Transformative technologies are driving the transport shift and the development of data-lead travel is now going beyond traveller information towards interaction.

The rise in development of new vehicle technologies is leading to cleaner, connected and smarter transport, more integrated with a constantly evolving urban and rural environment. Already, travel is more informed, more immediate through technology usage, but the capacity for development towards a 'smarter' transport future appears limitless. But what challenges does smart travel face? How will disruptive technologies help bridge the gap to a smarter transport reality?

'Rethinking Smart Futures: Focused on people, enabled by transport, powered by technology' sets out a vision for smart cities, defining the attributes that will characterise the successful 'places' of the future.

The report examines the challenges to progress towards this agenda - the obstacles to overcome. Finally, it proposes an agenda for action - setting out how different participants can work together, and galvanise themselves and others to seize the opportunities on offer.

Produced in collaboration with PwC, the London Transport Museum, and Thales UK, 'Rethinking Smart Futures' is a significant step forward in the debate on the future of our transport networks.

Building on our 2017 research study, 'Rethinking Urban Mobility', the report examines what a smart future should look like, what the roadblocks are, and how these can be addressed.

Following a series of five research discussion events in the preceding six months, the report brings together more than 60 leading thinkers and decision makers from across the transport industry to consider the challenges and opportunities facing cities, transport and infrastructure in the UK, today and tomorrow. We explore technological change and assess its impact on the journeys we make and how we make them, including:

  • How will digitally-enabled/autonomous vehicles change mobility and travel patterns?
  • How will technology help us determine what infrastructure and transport services are needed?
  • Could advances in vehicle technologies open up new ways of financing transport networks and infrastructure, such as road pricing?; and
  • As cyber threats grow, how can we make the most of new technology while keeping passengers and their data - safe and secure?


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