WM5G’s Transport programme consists of a portfolio of projects that have been developed specifically to support new 5G-enabled products and services, explained Holmes. “The outcome of these trials will make a significant difference to transport across the West Midlands region and have national relevance.” While other high profile transport projects in the UK and Ireland have eschewed 5G for the more traditional 4G (which in itself shows just how quickly the world of digital communications is changing if 4G can be considered “traditional”), 5G is very much the technology of choice for the West Midlands and despite the Coronavirus epidemic interrupting everyone’s plans and lived in 2020, Covid-19 hasn’t impacted upon the achievements of Holmes and his Birmingham-based team.
“Even before the pandemic, WM5G was committed to accelerating mobile and super-fast fibre broadband connectivity in the West Midlands in the hope of making it the best-connected region in the country. Although we have some distance to go before realising 5G or superfast connectivity for all, we must continue to support our local authorities. This will ensure resilient connectivity for now and for years to come by taking the necessary steps to create a better-connected future.”
Kapsch’s Seybold focused on how his company were focusing on Turning Challenges into Opportunities provided a summary of practical use cases for cities to achieve their targets.
Among the areas of specific interest were the limiting of vehicular traffic, optimising travel times, providing relevant data (where less is indeed more), improving modal split (and therefore providing more readily available options) and the all-important bullet-point: to communicate with your citizens.
Also key to a successful roll-out of a digital infrastructure project is to minimise invasiveness, i.e. keeping disruption to citizens’ lives to a bare minimum. Easier said than done, of course, but Seybold insisted that a combination of sufficient warning of planned and unplanned events and the smart use of existing and new data can play a significant role in assistance cities to achieve their mobility targets.
Mastercard’s Okcuoglu extolled the virtues of the company’s City Possible project, part of the wider Global Cities Strategy. “A New Model of Urban Innovation” uses a blend of global networks, urban co-creation and solution scaling to meet cities’ mobility challenges head-on, co-develop innovative solutions and align objectives.
“Mastercard’s City Possible is helping over 200 cities make technology work for people,” she said. “Cities, communities and companies are collaborating to address our more pressing urban challenges.” The Global Cities Stratgegy facilitates a new model of public-private partnerships to harness their collaborative power, as much through communication as thought leadership, citing Los Angeles as an example of a city that is being proactive rather than reactive in its response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Watch the full webinar recording for the complete picture and make a note that our final webinar for 2020 takes place at 2pm on Tuesday 15 December with the focus on the path to autonomous driving, featuring, among others, one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject, Richard Bishop.