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Smarter cities of the future

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 11/01/2016 | 5:53 AM

Guest Post by Kandis Wyatt, Transportation & Logistics Associate Professor, American Public University

Traffic Congestion seems to be a common occurrence in major cities. Traffic Congestion, over time, can increase pollution rates, heighten noise levels, threaten economic growth, and increase commuting times. In fact, some studies have shown that traffic congestion can lead to health risks due to increased pollution levels.  Several techniques have been implemented to reduce traffic congestion including implementing telework policies for employees, widening roads, creating high-occupancy vehicle lanes, offering subsidies for employees to take mass transit to/from work, installing bike lanes, and carpooling. However, here’s another technology – smart technology- that can help lower traffic congestion as well.

How does it work?

Using smart technology, simple, everyday outdoor items such as a traffic light or a trash can help reduce congestion (Segraves, 2016). Trash cans will let the city know when they need to be filled. As a result, garbage trucks would be deployed on an as-needed basis. Also, motion detectors on street lights can help notify drivers when a parking spot is available. On a larger scale, cameras can monitor and predict traffic patterns. Think if this smart technology was connected to your phone or your vehicle – it could help re-direct you in real time. Smart technology has many advantages (Segraves, 2016). For example, motion detectors installed on street lights can save money over time. Also, the light can notify the dispatch location when they need to be replaced. All this technology can be input into a master system to optimize routes (Segraves, 2016).

Smart technology is already being developed by companies like SmartUp Cities in Europe to implement and deploy these smart technologies in urban centers.  In fact, Barcelona has already implemented many of these technologies and currently is one of Smartest City in Europe.  The advantages are clear, and so we should expect that more metropolitan areas will move to becoming smarter sooner than we think.



Segraves, M. (2016). D.C. Plans Streetlights that Save Money, Offer Wi-Fi, Help with Parking. Retrieved from http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/tech/DC-Smart-Streetlights-Save-Money-Wi-Fi-Help-Parking-Smart-Trash-Cans-397648271.html



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About Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is program director of the Reverse Logistics department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over twenty-five years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. He holds a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA. Dr. Gordon has spent more than 14 years teaching reverse logistics, transportation, project management, and human resources. He has published articles on reverse logistics; supply chain management; project management; human resources; education, and complexity. He has also published four books on Reverse Logistics Management; Complexity and Project Management; Virtual Project Management Organizations, and Successful Program Management..

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