“We must reinvent mobility”

Some good points about #smartcity #sustainability and #health.

Transport Policy Matters

Michael_Cramer square CroppedMichael Cramer of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport talks about the imbalance between transport modes and the lessons from “Dieselgate”.

A lot of innovation is happening in transport right now – headlines about self-driving cars and electric vehicles abound. Are we finally on the path towards sustainable mobility?

Cramer: Billions are still invested in forms of mobility that ruin our climate. And it’s still all about cars. Without reinventing mobility we will not be able to stop climate change. A veteran German politician, former Munich mayor Hans-Jochen Vogel, said it well as early as 1972: “Cars are murdering our cities. Those who sow streets will harvest traffic”. Even if one day all cars will be electric, they will still be murdering our cities. When all cars are self-driving, they will still be murdering our cities. We must reduce emissions, sure. But it’s not only about energy efficiency, we must also…

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OMG, yes smart cities can be hacked!

I ended my last post saying that “new technologies create new opportunities for cyber attackers and new challenges for cities as they must prevent attacks and guarantee the perennity of public services”.
I did a bit of google research and could find some example of cities or public services being cyber hacked in some way:

Though it looks like these are minor attacks and that we are far from witnessing a city being completely paralysed by hackers, still it seems that cyber risk is a major concern modern cities. As they deploy new technologies and offer more services to their citizens, cities become smarter but also provide more open doors to potential attacks. Behind the services that we enjoy such as the Bicing service in Barcelona, smart street lighting, smart transportation, smart parking, garbage collection or security cameras there different technologies that may provide new opportunities for cyber attackers. This is is a new challenge for technology providers and for cities as it requires different approach to how technologies are introduced and tested, how people and administration are trained, how budget are allocated and how cities are planning their growth and evolution as well as how do they incorporate the cyber risk in their own thinking.

Prevention seems to be on the to do list of everyone and I guess that my beloved Barcelona is safe as I write. I wish you a nice summer break.

Barcelona ranked amongst top smart cities in the world, let´s celebrate and go bicing!

Yes, Barcelona is Ranked  as one of the top smart cities in the world , who would have bet a penny 30 years ago? Maybe not me, however I am proud of what has been done to achieve this number 1 position.

How does a city become “smart”? Simply by working on a project that merges urban planning, ecology, and information technology to ensure the benefits of technology reach every neighborhood and improve the lives of citizens.

Barcelona’s program is ambitious as it includes a series of strategic initiatives such as:

  • Smart Lighting
  • Smart Energy
  • Smart Water
  • Smart Transportation
  • Zero Emissions Mobility
  • Open Government

I am not going to detail all these initiatives as you can find all the information here. However I am still going to describe one pillar of the Smart Transportation plan :  the Bicing service.

I have been a big fan of the bicing service since it was launched in 2007, my statistics show more that I have used it 186 times since the beginning of this year, and spent 45 hours on a city bike.

8 years later. the city claims 95,581 registered users. An average of 50,000 bike trips are made every day, with each bike being used on average between 6 and 8 times. The 100 millionth journey was made on 4th May 2015… A real success!

From my point of view the Bicing service is the typical example to use if one needs to explain what does the Smart City concept means.  The city of Barcelona has successfully implemented a service that is a sustainable and economical form of transport, designed for citizens to travel short distances without consuming any energy. On top of that is it easy to use, maybe no so affordable though: You pay an annual fee, get a Bicing card, scan it at any of the 400 stations, check out a bike, then check it back in at the station closest to your destination. Most stations are located by other public transport stops or public parking. Last April the new Bicing app became available for users to check out real-time availability at stations, making it easier to plan a route if one station has unavailable bikes or parking spaces.

This is a wonderful world indeed. don’t you think? Well, what if…the bicing fleet management app or the centralized control systems would not operate the way it should or would be non-functioning? New technologies create new opportunities for cyber attackers and new challenges for cities as they must prevent attacks and guarantee the perennity of public services…. We`ll look into this in a next post.