Smart Mobility

The fables of reconstructing Greek cities

Friday, 23 December 2022

What makes two of Greece’s smartest cities smart? Intertraffic goes behind the scenes of two conurbations at either end of the population scale: 1m-strong Thessaloniki and Trikala, with just over 80,000 inhabitants.

Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki fosters initiatives that encourage smart and sustainable mobility while promoting co-creation and open-innovation through strategic planning and participation in relevant nationally- and internationally-funded projects. 

The development of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and the participation in initiatives supported by EIT Urban Mobility (European Institute of Innovation & Technology), the program Horizon Europe and by National funds are just a few examples of the coordinated efforts of the city ecosystem to enhance behavioural changes and improve the quality of urban living towards creating a more liveable urban space for the citizens.

A City In Control

More concretely, says Maria Mirtsopoulou, an Environmental and Transportation Engineer at the northern city’s Department of Sustainable Mobility & Networks, Thessaloniki has installed a new Controlled Parking System, developed decision-support platforms enabling policy design, implementation and evaluation (CUTLER & MOMENTUM), implemented new on-demand and shared mobility services (Cleanergy, Multidepart and RideSafeUM) and a new traffic management system during the last few years.

“The Municipality of Thessaloniki (MoT) is proud to be part of the Thessaloniki Smart Mobility Living Lab (ThessM@LL), one of the largest living labs in Europe and a core member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL),” says Mirtsopoulou. “ThessM@LL is a user-driven innovation environment that lies at the centre of an ecosystem of mobility-related stakeholders in the city. It relies on knowledge of mobility patterns obtained through big data analytics and AI techniques in order to plan and operate the mobility system. It includes the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM), the MoT, public and private transport operators and service providers, technology suppliers, universities and research centres/labs. It aims to provide technological solutions for smart sustainable mobility and to support the industry in issues related to smart mobility.” 

ThessM@LL is a user-driven innovation environment that lies at the centre of an ecosystem of mobility-related stakeholders in the city. It relies on knowledge of mobility patterns obtained through big data analytics and AI techniques
 

Getting Its Priorities In Order

ThessM@LL provides services to end users, companies and organizations and thus, the system’s overall stability, continuity and reliability levels are among its basic priorities. Both mature and cutting-edge technologies are used side-by-side in order to efficiently handle the data streams and to export the maximum possible value providing guidance for decision-making.

Both mature and cutting-edge technologies are used side-by-side in order to efficiently handle the data streams and to export the maximum possible value

Adds Mirtsopoulou: “In Thessaloniki, the EIT Urban Mobility RIS Hub Greece has been established in order to connect EIT Urban Mobility, with the local urban mobility ecosystem and to integrate the extended Knowledge Triangle (industry, academia, research and cities) in Greece aiming to accelerate the transition to climate-neutral city mobility and meet the relevant EU targets for 2030.”

 

Working Together Towards A Common Goal

Αs a result of the coordinated efforts of the MoT, in cooperation with a special working group set up by city institutions and civil society, with the participation of, among others, the Hellenic Institute of Transport of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH-HIT), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and the Major Development Agency Thessaloniki (MDAT), the City of Thessaloniki has been selected by the European Commission as one of the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030. Using EU funding tools, MoT will be able to implement investments to expedite transition to climate neutrality and digital transformation, promote holistic urban planning solutions, apply smart technologies, and flexible energy management systems, also in the field of mobility among other sectors

 

Trikala: Far From Pedestrian Progress

Trikala is a city of just 81,000 inhabitants located in the northwest of Greece, some 200km south of Thessaloniki. Despite its relatively small size it has the reputation of being a frontrunner as a smart city, being labelled in 2004 as Greece’s “first digital city”. Today under the name “Smart Trikala”, public authorities have developed a wide range of digital solutions to help improve the lives of citizens. 

Partnering with companies such as Cisco and Vodafone, Trikala now hosts innovative services, such as an e-complaint system for residents. Through these new smart tools, the city is now also able to amass a growing amount of data on daily operations. Through analysing this data, authorities are able to have greater insights into the running of Trikala, and how the different public services can be made more efficient and sustainable.

Trikala aims to ensure that it remains at the cutting edge of new smart digital solutions that has helped it retain its frontrunner status for almost 20 years

Trikala aims to ensure that it remains at the cutting edge of new smart digital solutions that has helped it retain its frontrunner status for almost 20 years. One such solution is the smart pedestrian system, SPC-S® that was installed in the Municipality of Trikala. The system consists of:

  • A Pedestrian Detection Sensor passing through the crosswalk.
  • Self-illuminated, mast-mounted signpost LED technology, the brightness of which fluctuates depending on the ambient light.
  • Mast-mounted warning lights that are activated only when a pedestrian using the crossing is detected.
  • Interface with LED street lighting and fluctuation of lighting intensity when passing the pedestrian crossing

The system can be upgraded to SPS-M® by adding:

  • Microwave sensor (radar) for the detection of vehicles approaching the passage and collection of traffic data throughout the day.
  • Environmental measurement sensors (Temperature, Humidity, Atmospheric Pressure, CO, NO, PM1, PM2.5, PM10 etc).

Consequently, the Municipality of Trikala has the possibility to create not just a safe passage but also a station for receiving traffic and environmental data for all uses.

 

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