If the definition of a smart city is one which focuses on using ICT to promote sustainable mobility and improve citizens’ quality of life, a large number of cities worldwide are already well and truly smart, with alternative solutions and innovations, particularly when it comes to getting around…

smart-city-bike-rental-lyonBike sharing: sustainable and connected since 1998

Based on the models deployed in Oslo, Vienna and even the very first pilot programme in Rennes (the world’s very first computerised bike-sharing scheme, launched back in 1998) the city of Lyon developed the first smart, self-service bike hire system, Velo’V, in 2005, featuring sensors to check brakes, gears and tyre levels. Of the 20,000 bike journeys made every day in Lyon, 85% are used between users’ homes and places of work or study. (Lyon’s system ranked n° 5 in a list of the top 16 best bike shares in world on The Active Times). According to Wikipedia, by the summer of this year, over 600 cities worldwide had bike-sharing schemes, compared with just 375 in 2011.

Combined with Big Data and consumer mobile apps, the movement has spawned a host of services for users, such as route planners, station location and the number of available bikes per station (such as the Android CityBikes app which lists and locates bike-share stations in 170 cities all over the world and indicates bike availability). The humble bicycle can thus be credited with introducing connected, smart mobility to towns: similar service concepts have since been rolled out for parking, public transport and traffic thanks to the availability of real-time data in cities.

Smart-work-center-amsterdamSmart solutions to reduce commuting time

In order to offer greater flexibility for workers, reduce commuting time, encourage non-motorised transport and thus reduce CO2 emissions and traffic congestion, the Netherlands has set up a network of ‘Smart Work Centers’ since 2008, ultra-connected shared workspaces with high-speed internet, PCs and tablets, as part of Cisco’s Connected Urban Environment programme. Cisco estimates the programme should reduce carbon emissions by up to 33%. The concept of workplace “as a service” has also been widely deployed in South Korea, Belgium, which has its own dedicated website with a map of smart work centres all over the country, France and the US.

Mobility and smart cities: further reading on emedia