26 September 2019

Achieving Energy Savings by Intelligent Transportation Systems Investments in the Context of Smart Cities

Written by World Bank
Developed by The World Bank
26 September 2019
Investments in intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are beginning to take place in the context of smart city initiatives in many cities. Energy efficiency and emissions reduction are becoming essential rationales for such investments. It is important, therefore, to understand under what conditions investments in ITS in the context of smart cities produce energy savings. We reviewed existing literature, conducted case studies and interviews, and found that the smart cities context has transformed traditional ITS into “smart mobility” with three major characteristics: people-centric, data-driven, and powered by bottom-up innovations. We argue that there are four main steps for smart mobility solutions to achieve energy savings and that several institutional, technical, and physical conditions are required at each step. Energy savings are achieved when users change their behavior and result in less travel, modal shift, and reduction of per-km energy consumption in the short term. Smart mobility solutions also enable other energy saving policies or initiatives, which would otherwise not be feasible. In the long term, users’ lifestyles could change and lead to further energy savings. For cities in developing countries with lower motorization, less-developed infrastructure, less financial resources, and less institutional and technical capacity, our recommendations to achieve benefits from smart mobility investments are: (1) involve all public and private players in a collaborative and transparent setting; (2) develop the technical capacity to procure and monitor information services; and (3) focus on basic infrastructure, including a coherent road network and basic traffic management measures.