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Archive of posts published in the category: Cities
May
8

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing Cities To Rethink Public Transportation

As parts of Europe and the United States begin to lift coronavirus lockdown restrictions and allow people to go shopping, visit relatives and return to work, public officials are facing a new conundrum: How can people travel safely in crowded cities?

Italy is poised to serve as a major test case. On Sunday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that many restrictions on daily life will be eased starting next Monday, but he warned that people would still need to avoid large gatherings, maintain social distancing and wear masks in certain circumstances.

“If we do not respect the precautions, the curve will go up, the deaths will increase and we will have irreversible damage to our economy,” Conte said in a televised address to the nation. “If you love Italy, keep your distance.”

People walk to the San Giovanni metro station in Rome on April 24 during a three-hour testing period of new measures designed



People walk to the San Giovanni metro station in Rome on April 24 during a three-hour testing period of new measures designed to reduce congestion on public transportation, April 24.

Some 2.7 million Italians are expected to return to work next week, with 15% of them anticipated to use public transportation, according to Italian authorities.

Thus, government officials and business leaders are scrambling to develop protocols to allow people to move about freely without triggering a surge in coronavirus infections.

Under new guidelines that are being considered, the number of people allowed on buses and trains is likely to be restricted. Markers will be placed on the ground in metro stations to enforce social distancing, and camera systems and personnel will be deployed to help count passengers and prevent overcrowding, according to HuffPost Italy.

Italy’s transport ministry has suggested that electronic ticket machines will likely become standard, with hand sanitizer dispensers installed nearby. Trains and buses will be disinfected regularly, and the way passengers board and exit vehicles and stations will be adjusted. Moreover, a key goal of any plan will be to spread out daily commuters in order to reduce congestion.

Already, new measures are being tested in Rome. During a three-hour testing period on Friday, only 30 passengers were allowed into stations every three minutes at two of the city’s metro lines, and the number of passengers on each train was capped at 150, HuffPost Italy reported. On the train platforms, blue stripes with small dots indicated how far apart passengers needed to stand. Passages connecting the two lines were closed to prevent people from crossing each other and creating crowds.

A man rides a bicycle on an empty Corso Garibaldi, a main road in the center of Milan, on February 26. In response to th



A man rides a bicycle on an empty Corso Garibaldi, a main road in the center of Milan, on February 26. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the city plans to increase bike lanes and pedestrian paths and discourage car use.

In addition, many cities are hoping to encourage people to use alternate forms of transportation. Bologna has requested support from the federal government for the purchase of e-bikes and electric scooters, for example, and Milan has unveiled an ambitious plan to remake

Apr
24

Digi International Introduces New Routers and Software to Address Next-Generation IoT Connectivity and 5G Needs of Retail, Digital Signage, Transportation, Smart Cities and Beyond

Digi now has routers that include 5Ge / Gigabit LTE (Cat 18) radios, Band 71 and CBRS connectivity, 5G readiness, and are FirstNet Ready™.

Digi has created its new cellular connectivity offerings to match the shifting needs of the IoT marketplace and revamped their features to align with customer needs: whether TX for transportation, IX for industrial, or EX for enterprise, Digi has the right routers for the market’s needs. On supported Digi devices, additional flexibility is available with the Digi CORE® plug-in module: no need to replace the whole unit, just swap the Digi CORE to the LTE standard needed.

While designed for different applications, Digi’s new TX54, TX64 and EX12 are built on a strong foundation that is shared by the rest of Digi’s routers, including:

  • Digi Accelerated Linux (DAL), Digi’s secure operating system for the most demanding business-critical and mission-critical applications. This release adds multicasting, expands routing protocols, and – critical for transportation applications – offers dual APN capabilities and supports dynamic DNS updates.
  • Edge Compute, as each new router comes with Python built-in, allowing users to add intelligence on the device – from simple scripts to full-fledged IoT applications.
  • Digi Remote Manager® for centralized device deployment, monitoring and control. With Digi Remote Manager, organizations can easily automate firmware, software and configuration updates of all units in the field – for complete asset tracking and compliance, including security protection. Also available as an Android or iPhone mobile app.
  • Digi TrustFence®, the built-in security framework, protects internal and external I/O ports to prevent unwanted local intrusion. Digi TrustFence also provides data authentication and device identity management options. Digi TrustFence utilizes the latest encryption protocols for data in motion and over-the-air (OTA) transmissions to ensure the integrity of data flowing across a network.

“We’re unveiling a number of new networking devices today and that will only continue throughout the year as we work to align with customer needs and the next generation of IoT applications in public safety, transportation, smart cities, retail, and beyond,” said Brian Kirkendall, Vice President, Product Management, Digi International. “The Digi TX54, TX64 and EX12 routers are ready to begin that process out of the box today, but also as we continue into the future. We intend to make Digi the IoT connectivity player of choice as the generation of IoT we’ve heard about for years becomes a reality.”

Designed for transportation, intelligent traffic system (ITS), and public safety applications, the Digi TX54 and Digi TX64 are built to make smart cities a reality. In traffic systems, these routers lay the connectivity groundwork needed for traffic monitoring and optimization for connected and even self-driving car capabilities in the future. Dual cellular and dual Wi-Fi makes them ideal for on-transit-vehicle connectivity by both eliminating network downtime with immediate cellular failover and providing simultaneous, firewalled passenger and administrator connectivity to meet the demands of modern riders without jeopardizing the transit organization’s operations.

Additionally, the Digi TX64 with its dual Gigabit LTE (Cat 18) radios is ready

Apr
3

Why Cities Should Apply Data Analysis to Transportation Systems

Chicago Examines How Curbs Are Used via Analytics

In Chicago, the City Tech Collaborative launched a months-long project to collect data related to curb activity to help the city better manage how curb space is used, according to Government Technology. 

The initiative is designed to create a “practical, usable, scalable analytics tool to better understand the curb,” which has been described as phase one, Jamie Ponce, director of strategic partnerships at City Tech Collaborative, tells Government Technology

The publication reports:

The project will include private sector partners like Bosch and HERE Technologies to provide various levels of support and expertise. For example, HERE Technologies will analyze traffic movement, congestion and other data points to identify bottlenecks “and areas of friction,” Ponce explained. The data gathered will enable the researchers to take a closer look at what’s causing some of the curb space management problems, all part of Phase I, which will largely be a mapping exercise to digitize the curb. 

The next phase of the project will analyze all of that data and help the city craft new approaches. Curbs are often used for parking in cities, but data analysis of curbside usage can help them determine how curbs are used and how to price access to them differently, Billy Riggs, a researcher and professor with expertise in transportation and smart mobility at the University of San Francisco, tells Government Technology

“It’s also important to think about the curb as barrier but a continuum of the street,” Riggs says. “And given the trends in many locations to support car-free cities, many municipalities also need to take a hard look at what type of travel should be allowed on certain corridors — not just thinking about using the curb, but thinking about if it should even exist.”

MORE FROM STATETECH: Find out why connected intersections are the backbones of smart cities. 

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, just seconds after a rider unlocks a dockless electric scooter with a smartphone app and starts motoring around, information about the trip is fed to a city-operated database, according to the New York Times

Then, just after the trip ends, another alert updates the database, noting the location. A day later, the Times notes, the exact route the rider took is uploaded and logged for analysis. 

As the Times reports, that kind of data is also a key to solving congestion in cities, since knowing “what route riders have used historically makes it possible for policymakers to plan infrastructure.”

“Cities have to assure that their resources are used efficiently, and that includes the shared spaces,” Stephen Zoepf, chief of policy development at Ellis & Associates, a consultancy that advises cities on the intersection between transportation and technology, tells the Times. “The effects of crowding, in noise and emissions, are a tragedy of the commons.”

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