It has been widely recognized that our cities will thrive with not only physical infrastructure development but also with intellectual and social infrastructure which requires the use of latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and fast and reliable communications medium. A symbiotic relationship must exist between people and technology so that efficiency is maximized in whatever we do, may it be going from point A to Point B or applying for a driver’s license. This is the basic concept of a smart city that allows people to thrive with a sustainable environment and efficient execution of day-to-day demands of a modern society. Schneider Electric is at the forefront of this Smart City revolution as it already has the knowhow and assembled various pieces of the Smart City puzzle such as smart grid, smart buildings, smart governance with the latest being the SmartMobility transportation solutions.
In the next 40 years, Smart City concept will proliferate and ITS infrastructure should be developed to accommodate this great concept. So, question is what should be done now and what are the key technologies that the Federal and State DOT’s should consider for eventual up gradation to the smart city concept? Should the current technologies used for integrating the field devices to the TMCs be upgraded and follow a certain open topology that could be leveraged and expanded? Should there be provision for dark fibers to accommodate future deployments? I think the answer is resoundingly “yes” as the existing ITS infrastructure will be leveraged by the Cities for developing the smart transportation solutions needed for the Smart City to operate. But a lot more needs to be done. First, the good news is that most infrastructure developed by the state DOTs, Cities and Counties use fiber optic with an unlimited bandwidth for integration of various technologies deployed along freeways, arterials and other roadways, however, this bandwidth is limited by the use lower speed switching and less than optimal end equipment. So, what are the technologies that should be considered now for easier migration later? The list below could be a great start:
- Deploy open and expandable architecture consistent with National ITS architecture and standards
- Use of secured and reliable wireless technology for better motorist information and weather related advisories
- Fast switching through the use of 10 gigabit network instead of one (1) gigabit network currently common place
- Leverage the use of Fiber to home (FTH) deployment that is happening and this infrastructure will change the way ITS information can be disseminated in real time and fits extremely well with the smart city concept
- Use of better predictive algorithm and technologies with state of the art software platforms for better assimilation of data
- Better use of Center to Center (C2C) technology sharing, data fusion, and personalized dissemination via a variety of means most important being the smart phone and the in-car radio broadcast of emergencies.
So, clearly more needs to be done but we have a great foundation. With the mainstreaming of the Smart City concept, Schneider is well positioned to make use of and develop the above for a functioning Smart mobility platform needed for a Smart City. Cases in point: Schneider is developing innovative solutions for major infrastructure projects in Florida with the design of the SunGuide Phase 3 expansion in Jacksonville, Miami-Dade Expressway (MDX) Open Road Tolling, Crosstown Connector in Tampa and steering the design of the Port of Miami Tunnel (POMT). We are ready for tomorrow today!