Smart city systems will substantially reduce CO2 emissions, claims report

London trafficA new report from Juniper Research claims that traffic management and parking systems in the new generation of smart cities will reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by some 164 million metric tonnes (MMT) over the next five years, equivalent to the emissions of 35 million vehicles annually. The report also claims that this will transform the lives of those who live and work in cities as it manages the 700 million vehicles that will travel around the world’s cities in 2019. The report, Smart Cities: Strategies, Energy, Emissions & Cost Savings 2014-2019, claims that high levels of city traffic congestion combined with advancements in ‘Internet of Things’ sensors and software solutions has driven plans to reduce high traffic levels through smart initiatives.

The report argues that as well as reducing CO2 emissions, the establishment of a sensor-networked and monitored city communications infrastructure – efficiently phasing traffic lights, and providing real-time guidance to drivers – can aid significantly in reducing congestion. Furthermore, digitally monitored parking spaces able to dynamically alter prices according to available spaces will help to control time spent cruising for parking.

Additionally, the report found that while purpose-built smart cities, such as Masdar and Songdo, can be considered a technological success, the benefits have not yet been fully realised owing to lack of citizen participation. “Cooperation between all parties, as we have seen in Amsterdam for example, is essential” added report author Steffen Sorrell. “Furthermore, cities need standards and open data to avoid information roadblocks.”

Other key findings include:

  • Smart grids will dramatically reduce energy consumption in cities through rapid smart meter deployment and intelligent distribution automation.
  • Smart street lighting is also expected to produce significant cost savings, aided by the fall in LED fixture costs. Smart networked control systems will further add value.
  • The whitepaper, Smart Cities ~ System of Systems, is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full report and Interactive Forecast Excel (IFxl).