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PRESS RELEASE: How mobile is the smart city?

28 January 2016

On 28 January, the European Commission's DG MOVE has invited 200 Smart Cities stakeholders to discuss take up of smart urban mobility in Europe. Polis has issued a policy paper emphasising the role of transport in Smart City strategies. During Wednesday's Smart Mobility Breakfast in Brussels, Polis members Île-de-France and Helmond shared their experiences with making transport smarter, to which Axel Volkery of the European Commission’s DG Move responded.

Already at yesterday’s Polis Smart Mobility Breakfast, more than 50 stakeholders came together to share their views on the current European framework for Smart Cities and the key contribution that urban mobility can make.

Smart is more than technology

Polis Secretary General Karen Vancluysen said: “A Smart City represents more than just the typical combination of Transport, Energy and ICT. Urban development, road safety, social equity and resilience are also part of what a Smart City should become. ICT is an enabler, it cannot be an end by itself. A Smart Cities definition is not static, should be adapted to local circumstances and can develop over time.”

The transport sector is currently shaping and experiencing a paradigm shift, with coinciding transitions in the field of energy use (electrification), technologies (ITS, RTTI) and behavioural change (sharing economy, focus on active travel). Françoise Guaspare, Île de France: “In the Paris-Saclay project, we bring all these elements together: electrification, automation, active travel and shared bicycles. The mobility system will be accessible by the use of a single smartcard. The mobility system is developed even before the buildings are constructed, so that new uses of the Saclay facilities can adopt a new travel behaviour from the start.”

Small and smart

The Dutch town of Helmond is home to 90,000 inhabitants and well recognised for its ambitions to develop and test new transport solutions initiated by research and industry. Helmond’s ‎Innovation Manager Mobility Gert Blom said: “As a smaller city, we have opened on several occasions our road network for ITS tests. We start our innovations from real concerns of citizens and companies. We test and trail ITS solutions, but the story doesn’t end there: we commit to keep successful applications in service, also after the projects’ lifetime and engage in a dialogue about European upscaling of urban ITS.”

Put citizens at the heart of Smart Cities

Polis members emphasise the importance of putting the citizen at the heart of Smart Cities policies. The Polis policy paper calls for a Smart City to enable every citizen to engage with all services on offer, public as well as private, in a way best suited to his or her needs.

The debate continues

The Smart Mobility Breakfast was hosted by Île-de-France’s Brussels office and organised prior to the European Commission’s “Transport for Smart Cities 2016: scaling innovation in Europe” Conference taking place today in Brussels. Polis and its members will continue to highlight the relevance of transport in Smart City strategies along with the necessary extended scope beyond technology, user involvement and the potential also of smaller cities and agglomerations.

For more information:

Ivo Cré, icre@polisnetwork.eu
http://www.polisnetwork.eu/Smartcities

[Download the press release in pdf here]