Quick Question: What Challenges Are Smart Cities Facing?

In this Quick Question segment, we asked our members what challenges smart cities are facing

Supporting an increasingly urbanized population through smart city initiatives may be necessary, but it's certainly not easy. The realization of the smart city concept comes through creating efficiency across complex networks, but what challenges does this present? How can these challenges be negated? We ask our parking experts about the challenges of implementing smart city initiatives.

Evelien O’Sullivan, Proposition Manager at Nedap Identification Systems Headshot of Evelien O'Sullivan

"Parking is often a part of a smart mobility plan for a city. As part of this plan, often the use of alternative modes of transport are motivated. In practice, this means, for example, that parking bays are sacrificed to create cycling lanes and green in the city. However, cities grow, also the number of cars grows accordingly. Cities are therefore facing growing parking need and reduced parking capacity. In order for cities to manage parking capacity, detailed data on parking occupancies required to create and evaluate the parking policy. Obtaining parking data is often a challenge to cities and available parking data is often not reliable or incomplete to realize a true data-driven parking policy."

Headshot of Emanuell TomesEmanuell Tomes, CTO at LTS AG

"Smart cities need to provide effective smart mobility solutions while supporting innovation, fostering a collaborative ecosystem and achieving sustainability goals. In terms of urban mobility, we have to contend with increasingly crowded streets. In this context, one-third of the traffic volume is accounted by parking alone. With the help of intelligent systems, free parking spaces at the roadside are detected and this data is made available anonymously to other drivers via cloud. In this way, drivers who are currently looking for a free parking space are guided to the next free gap without detours, loss of time and unnecessary carbon emissions."

Maarten Mijwaart, Business Developer Benelux, Scandinavia, UK and Ireland at TattileHeadshot of Maarten Mijwaart

"The smart city as a concept is related to many things. Technology-driven ideas are used to take on the challenges that come with growing city populations, like security, safety and mobility. Many smart city initiatives depend on a successful combination of smart idea and technological innovation. Turning a new idea into reality is a challenge in itself. But when the idea depends on new technology it can really be a recipe for disaster. Our advice is to use innovative, but proven technology, like ANPR is. And then focus on the smart ideas with some endurance and effective project management."

Headshot of Charlie DegliominiCharlie Degliomini, Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Corporate Communications at Rekor Systems

"Cities need to think of their smart city efforts as infrastructure, no different than roads and sewers and such. And they need to think about investing in it, owning it, maintaining it and controlling how it’s used, much in the same way as they do for other typical infrastructure. Important to remember, smart city deployments affect citizens and citizens will have a lot to say about any implementation. And in some cases citizen backlash can kill a project, so the process should include that of getting feedback and respecting citizens’ rights and means that municipality should own a procurement process and control the implementation and make sure that their constituents and citizens are well-informed."

Pete Alcock, Head of Product Marketing at NMI Headshot of Pete Alcock

"What challenges are smart cities facing? Big promises, but also big issues. Most metropolitan cities have had their busy shopping streets devastated recently with more retail closures on the way. The smart city benefits like pleasant and safe and thriving streets and free-flowing traffic have given way to a far bleaker even dystopian outlook. Building and maintaining the smart city infrastructure is costly and difficult and sensors and cameras need 24/7 data and power. This is hard to justify when there is so much competition for scarce public funds and privately financed initiatives struggle to project a return on investment. Security of public data remains a concern and lastly the lack of public awareness and trust – are all these cameras really designed to improve traffic flows or simply to spy on us?"