Telekom’s new urban mobility concept reduces congestion and create more liveable cities for everyone.
The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic had an instant impact on city life. The hustle and bustle of retail, packed commuter trains and the omnipresence of cars in the city centre all disappeared, almost overnight. Adapting to that early-pandemic, locked-down world was a huge challenge which none of us are keen to repeat.
As we emerged from the strictest phase of lockdown, however, I couldn’t help but notice some welcome changes. Where I live in Bonn, city planners had responded to a reduction in car traffic by designating new cycle lanes around the city. Former parking spots were now awash with outdoor seating for cafes and restaurants. This allowed the hospitality sector to keep business going in the safest way possible. Despite the ongoing pandemic, it’s difficult to avoid a sense of optimism around this opportunity. A sense that it is within our hands to rebuild urban life for the benefit of citizens. With fewer cars, cleaner air, and less time spent sitting in traffic.
Reports of younger, urban citizens around the world turning away from car ownership have been circulating for years. City-bike programmes, and lift-sharing apps are expanding. This shift in attitudes achieved democratic expression in this region of Germany at the end of September. Green Party mayors promising to reduce car traffic in their cities were elected in Bonn, Aachen and Wuppertal. In Bonn, new mayor Katja Dörner has committed to delivering a car-free city centre as early as 2025. Regardless of who wins elections, in every city new solutions for urban mobility are a top priority for citizens.
Technology will be crucial in the transition away from cities dominated by cars and Deutsche Telekom is positioning itself at the forefront of this change. Following discussions with mayors and local government officials in Germany and around Europe, it has become ever clearer that getting citizens out of their cars and reducing congestion is a top priority. These discussions form part of the successful co-creation strategy in the field of Smart City. The result is a new, expanded urban mobility portfolio. This range of offerings provides end-to-end solutions for cities. From consultation services, to building sensor infrastructure, through to monitoring relevant urban mobility metrics with a customer dashboard solution.
“Urban mobility” has already arrived in some places: Telekom is digitising the park & ride infrastructure in and around certain German cities, for example Hanover. Parking sensors will be built to monitor capacity at large car parking facilities outside of city centres. This service can be combined with information on public transport, bike sharing and taxi capacity. This allows citizens to seamlessly plan their onward journeys. These transport hubs feed cities with holistic, real-time data. As cities monitor their progress over time, they can take informed decisions to improve urban mobility. Telekom can use its data expertise to create a “digital street twin” of a city. The street twin acts as a digital inventory of a city’s entire mobility infrastructure. From cycle routes and disabled parking capacity, to e-charging stations and loading bays for goods. These solutions are intended for cities of all sizes and even rural areas looking to manage congestion and create mobility hubs. They were designed together through co-creation sessions to best meet citizens’ needs.
Cities – those essential components of how we live together as a society – are changing. All of this is reason for optimism. I’m proud that Telekom is designing the future of urban mobility and making more liveable cities a reality.