City diagnostics - enabling intelligent mobility

All cities have one common feature: they are unique. They will have similar issues such as traffic congestion, aging infrastructure, social segregation and this is where applying an intelligent mobility mind-set can start to unlock value but each city administration will have a different set of priorities and goals. The journey towards creating a city fit for the future begins with identifying those critical risks, issues and opportunities. Then local governments and city administrators can make informed decisions on transformation and re-prioritisation which align with their vision for their city including what policies, legislation and regulations are required to enable where they want it to be in the world.

Cities often track their performance by assessing their year on year ranking in published global indices, which includes transport related indices (such as the Arthur D. Little’s Urban Mobility Index) to economic strengths focused indices (such as AT Kearney’s Global Cities Index). These can provide a high-level indicator of the cities’ gaps but are not comprehensive enough in terms of dimensional coverage from which to draw conclusions.

What’s needed is a step back to look at what’s in place, what’s relevant - a bigger picture view. To that end, Atkins Acuity has developed a diagnostic methodology to identify the important gaps across multiple city dimensions. Also providing a list of recommended initiatives and programmes to bridge these gaps as well as prioritising them. We see this approach as a key enabler to unlocking the value and potential for intelligent mobility.

As a base, our diagnostic tool contains a set of key dimensions we are covering for global cities – these include energy, transportation, waste management, urban development, telecommunications, water, human services and economics. For each of these dimensions, a set of sub-dimensions is also provided for further analysis (i.e. for transport the sub-dimensions include mobility, affordability, modality, operational efficiency of transport system and environmental impact).

This dimensional and sub-dimensional diagnostic analysis will allow us to measure and assess the performance of the subject city of choice, against other global cities and come up with standardised scores and ranking for the subject city for each area. It also has the ability to quickly assess the subject city’s top and bottom performing metrics (i.e. metrics can be anything from “kilometres of public transport system per % of population” to “availability of green area spaces per % of population”).

The end result is a composite diagnostic dashboard assessing a city against a select number of local, regional and global counterparts.

The next stage is to check out a city’s capacity to act – its readiness to implement any change and measure such parameters as operational costs, stakeholder management, service delivery models, strategic direction and alignment, budget model and specifications. At this point, our specialists will assess the programmes/initiatives that can assist a city in bridging gaps and offer recommendations across the dimensions based on the diagnostics and capacity to act review.

An essential part of a smart city is the ability to provide a range of travel modes that are efficient, sustainable, safe, enabled by data and technology. Using an intelligent mobility approach to connect people, places and services is fast becoming the way forward for future travel. How do people move around cities, how would connected and autonomous vehicles affect the city, would it be open to a sharing economy, how would this affect the infrastructure.  For an emerging city, where there is little to no infrastructure in place, it's more about getting traffic moving and adopting the right infrastructure, and considering new technology such as traffic lights with sensors to measure traffic movement, weather conditions.  

As a third step, we will filter the initial list of recommendations that were provided by our specialists (and/or existing initiatives that are currently considered by the city municipality) to come up with the high priority initiatives/programmes. We have a number of portfolio management techniques that can be combined to build a customised strategic value measurement tool for a city, such as determine the best implementation for the programme looking at resource demands, readiness and time scale, and determine its strategic value and impact on a city e.g. strategic relevance/benefit, ROI, resource demands and risks.

The end result is a concise portfolio prioritisation matrix that outlines the quick wins and strategic opportunities for city administrators. 

Find out more about Intelligent Mobility(iM) here.

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