Traffic Congestion in a transport system can be best explained as a very slow or no movement of vehicles. Amidst rapid urbanization, vehicular congestion has become a woe to city-life. A smart approach has proved to be a friend in need for civilians.

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Please note, a smart city is not only made up of smart technology but is informed by smart strategies. A smart approach to a city can help citizens in multi-fold ways like finding parking spots, lesser traffic congestion, know if the approaching public transport has vacant seats or standing positions, know about alternate routes to a destination, inform them about last-mile connectivity to a destination, etc. If used wisely, a smart approach is a boon to society. It helps the city function in a more sustainable and organized way.

Let’s look into 10 smart approaches that have proved a boon to help reduce traffic congestion.

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1. Integrated Mobility

Integrated Mobility focuses on linking various transportation options to travel from origin to destination. Under the umbrella of Integrated Mobility, all the mobility providers collaborate and promote a unified travel service.

Integrated Mobility has played a vital role in making Public Transport lucrative to civilians.

A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet1
Integrated Mobility in Bangkok ©The Star
A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet2
Integrated MRT and LRT system in Singapore ©The Star

2. Last Mile Connectivity

Last Mile Connectivity should be an important aspect of the Public Transportation System of any city. As the name suggests, Last Mile Connections refers to the start and end of an individual’s trip, made primarily through Public Transport.

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It plays a vital role in determining the efficiency of the Public Transport System in any given city. Poor last-mile connectivity would encourage the use of Private vehicles over Public Transport.

3. Alternate Routes during congestion/peak hours

A smart city not only uses smart technology but also smart strategies while planning street networks. And a good street network is one where there are alternative routes to travel from origin to destination for a civilian. This would distribute the traffic to alternate routes and help decongest a single road at a given time.

This strategy is typically difficult for linear cities like Mumbai to adopt as they survive on a few linear connections to move. On the other hand, a grid city like Ahmedabad has access to at least 2 alternate routes to reach from point A to point B.

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A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet3
Lack of alternative routes in Mumbai ©Indiaglitz

4. Encouraging Active Mobility

Walking and Cycling are the most common forms of active mobility. Providing a safe environment and infrastructure for active mobility would encourage people to walk/cycle to closer destinations and not depend on motorized vehicles.

A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet9
Active Mobility in Amsterdam © ahavelaarGetty Images

5. Decentralized planning to distribute civilians to different parts of the city.

There should be not one, but many business magnets strategically distributed over the city to avoid congestion in any given area at a time.

6. Adaptive Traffic Signals

Using real-time data to improve the timings of traffic signals. It depends on understanding the pattern of traffic flow and their idle-stop timings at a signal to modify signal timings throughout the day.

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7. Introduction of Congestion Charge

Congestion Charges are an excise imposed on drivers choosing to drive to a certain area. It is generally timed during peak hours to avoid congestion on the streets. The aim of levying a congestion charge is to improve public transportation services and encourage civilians using motorized private vehicles to opt for public transport.

A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet5
Congestion Charge Zone in London ©TheCityFix

8. Details of availability of parking just a phone tap away

Real-time data available for civilians to know if the parking spots are empty or occupied. Such data would help them decide whether to take their private vehicles in the area or use public transport.

A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet6
Parking Information for different areas in Singapore © GovInsider

9. Tracking different modes of Public Transport

Real-time data available to track the advance of different modes of Public Transport will help civilians make efficient use of their time. The civilians seem to be more satisfied as he/she knows when the mode of transport is going to arrive and what their estimated time is to reach the destination. If the public transport of the city functions efficiently, there is a higher chance of people using it over private modes of transport.

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A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet7
Bus-Bike Car Road Usage Comparison in Australia © We Ride Australia

10. Making Public transport more lucrative (alternatives to private vehicles)

Public transport is the key to a sustainable future. It promises a better lifestyle to the civilians. It has the potential to carry a large number of civilians from different origins to different destinations within the city in an orchestrated way while reducing the carbon footprint of the civilians. It should be an economical solution for civilians. And, it should allow you to reach your destination quicker than a private mode of transport.

A smart approach to the designing of a transport system to regulate traffic congestion - Sheet8
Local Trains is lucrative mode of Public Transport in Mumbai © Financial Express

Not only does a smart approach eases the way of life, it enhances security of citizens as well with use of cameras and integrated emergency alarm systems. With the kind of innovations we see today, it is exciting to think about the future of smart approach and how it will benefit the society and the city.

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use Public Transportation.”

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  • Gustavo Petro
Author

Forum Shah swims on waters of Architecture, Art & Cities post her job-ly routine of working as an architect. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Urban Design from CEPT University. Often, she will be smilingly looking at you speak while fantasizing about Parisian cafes, Italian pizzas, and some red wine.

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