Mitigating traffic and improving air quality are hot issues for many densely populated Cities around the world, but defining effective measures and solutions might be trickier than expected. Many local governments have different departments involved in mobility, traffic, road safety and environmental pollution, all of which operate independently, with little coordination and data exchange.
As commented by ITS International, in the UK this separation leads to a certain degree of confusion even from a regulatory perspective – for instance, there are different pieces of legislation related to the use of CCTV cameras for remote traffic surveillance, the management of clean air zones and low emission zones, the enforcement of traffic and parking contraventions. Inconsistent and somehow contradictory legislation is confusing both City councils and drivers, and even adding complexity to government departments, as it is not possible to leverage cameras for more than one application.
This siloed approach leads to more costs for procurement and maintenance, as well as increased street furniture clutter. At the end of the day, being forced to install separate cameras for different applications, Cities are frustrated in their effort to streamline services and face budgetary restrictions.
The conclusion is almost the same if silos are applied to the management of multiple urban services: having one network to control streetlights, one network to connect and manage parking facilities, one network to provide video surveillance or public WiFi, etc. is really inefficient and counter-productive. Many Cities are therefore shifting to an interoperable approach, choosing multi-purpose technologies and infrastructures based on open standards and data models.
Breaking down silos has more than one benefit – last but not least, it offers City governments the opportunity to invest for the future of their communities, and the good of their people.