By Jennifer Bélissent
Last week, I attended IBM’s Smarter City Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the fourth in a series of global events highlighting the opportunities for cities to improve their systems, and themselves as a “system of systems.” This event felt different from the previous summit I had attended in Shanghai. Obvious political and cultural differences aside (not to dismiss them as they were significant), the big difference I observed here was that the sessions were more real. And, I don’t mean that as a slight on the Shanghai event. In Shanghai, the focus was on creating the blueprints for smart cities. In Rio, we had moved from blueprints to proof points. (Yes, you can quote that… it is mine.) Mayors from cities across Latin America and some from even farther came to share their experiences.
For example, representatives from Singapore, London and Lima shared the challenges and successes of implementing new transportation initiatives. Singapore deals with a growing population on an island, meaning there is no opportunity for sprawl and therefore “private cars are no longer an option.” As a result, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has a goal that 70% of all circulation or “daily trips” will be by public transport. They are almost there. The strategy was twofold. LTA makes it really expensive to drive a private car: cars are taxed at 120% and the ownership license distributed via auction was $60,000 in the latest round. Not to mention the congestion-based tolling system when you actually do use your car. On the other hand, LTA has improved the experience of public transportation through an integrate transport system, predictive arrival times, and notification of arrivals among other things.
Continued on the Forrester blog, where this post was originally published.