Smart Mobility and Electrification in Urban Settings

Cities are getting “smarter”—or at least, they’re getting more connected and capable of supporting smart, data-driven decisionmaking. ResearchandMarkets says the global smart cities market will exceed $2.7 trillion by 2027. Part of what’s making cities smarter is smart mobility. In fact, by 2030, the global smart mobility market is expected to reach nearly $241 billion—up from about $40 billion in 2020, according to PMI (Prophecy Market Insights).

With urbanization and population growth across the globe, more pressure is being put on cities and their transportation infrastructures. PMI suggests these pressures—alongside the increased desire for connected transportation solutions thanks to climate change concerns, governmental regulations for cutting carbon emissions, and high fuel prices—have pushed many cities to leverage smart mobility solutions, spurring innovation and market growth.

This year, there have been several exciting smart mobility deployments and investments, and as more cities adopt and deploy smart mobility solutions, it will become increasingly normal and even expected that cities do so. BluSmart Electric Mobility recently reported it was closing in on $250 million from investors like BP Ventures. BluSmart is an all-electric ride-hailing company in India that aims to decarbonize ride-hailing in one of the most polluted regions of the world. In Europe, EMT Madrid (Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid) recently announced it reached its goal of electrification in 2022 by adding four more municipal lines to its 100% electric bus network. The city of Madrid has committed to reducing emissions by 65% (compared to 1990) by 2030 and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The electrification of its municipal fleet will go a long way toward hitting its targets.

A new smart mobility suite from Hitachi Rail aims to help connect even more cities and transportation systems and make them more sustainable. On the consumer side, the suite includes the 360Pass mobile app. Using the Bluetooth-enabled mobile app, passengers can hire e-vehicles, pay for parking, and identify e-mopeds. The 360Pass is also a smart ticketing app that eliminates the need to purchase a traditional paper ticket or even use multiple apps for different transport services. It uses Bluetooth to know when passengers board, how far they travel, and when they get off, charging them the appropriate fee at the end of the day.

For operators and transportation authorities, Hitachi’s newly launched Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management suite provides the ability to connect, scale, and optimize a city’s entire transportation network. The management suite leverages a digital twin of a city’s transportation network, giving realtime visibility of passenger and multi-modal transport flows. Hitachi says the solution can help operators identify issues that typically deter public transport usage, like congestion, emissions, crowding, and gaps in services. And if they can identify these issues, operators and authorities are in a better place to address them.

Combined, the 360Pass mobile app for passengers and the Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management suite for operators connect smart ticketing, traffic flow management, and e-charging through a common analytics platform. Part of the significance here is Hitachi Rail’s solution is moving toward digitally connecting public and private hire transport across an entire city. In its launch program in Genoa, Italy, Hitachi says it connected 663 buses, 2,500 bus stops, the metro line, two funiculars, one historic hillside railway, 10 public lifts, and two suburban bus routes. By offering “as-a-service” business models to its customers, Hitachi Rail is making it easier for cities to adopt smart mobility solutions that will help urban environments transform into more sustainable, livable versions of themselves.

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