IRF: Can you tell us about some of the underlying trends that are encouraging municipalities everywhere to design and deploy “Smart City” concepts?
Dr. Wafa Dabbas: One major attribute that interest cities of the world to implement “Smart City” initiatives is enhancing territorial attractiveness of regional areas, such that urban areas attract intellectual conglomerations. Deploying Smart systems are mainly for serving the inhabitants of urban spaces. It is about meeting their demands, but also regulating well their daily affairs. Also, it is about securing their societal health, as well as ensuring them quality well-being and happiness. Smart Cities are about optimizing the use of available natural resources, but also is about efficient utilization of the wide spectrum of social intellect in communities.
Cities are competing to remain globally competitive, due to globalization trends, demographic transitions, and rapid worldwide spreading of urbanization (predicted to increase to 70% by 2050). These features brought about opportunities, but also challenges that accelerated movements towards achieving Smart Cities. Moreover, intelligent mobile network technologies, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) that stimulate cultural societal transformations, and thus, advance progressing towards Smart Cities, and also, serve to encounter arising urban challenges and growing expectations of individuals.
IRF: What has your work revealed on the characteristics of successful Smart Mobility programs?
Dr. Dabbas: Smart Mobility programs are not long established, and evident successful characteristics are rarely documented, but reaped benefits could prove them successful, such as, improving traffic flows and relieving congestions, minimizing accident rates and maximizing safety of road users, gaining time-value advantages, and introducing different employment and job opportunities, as well as alleviating undesired impacts on the natural environment, in terms of better land-use planning, cleaner alternative energy sources and reduced pollution levels. Successful Smart Mobility schemes raise the bar of benefits captured by communities, to higher levels than of existing mobility schemes, but also, they lower the bar for undesired impacts. Successful Smart schemes are societal inclusive, and do not conflict with existing other mobility services; they consider pedestrians and the disadvantaged, as well as underprivileged areas.
The successful schemes are proactively engaging with technological breakthroughs, via T-distributed skilled-teams platform that takes the lead to manage changes of deploying Smart Mobility, such as, standards and legal frameworks, insurance liabilities and privacy, institutional silos with mobility innovators, road safety, and traffic assessments. Also, they serve well the community, in terms of better connectivity, better on-demand mobility, enhanced traveling experiences that cover last travelled distance, and improved riding conveniences and accessibilities to all. Moreover, affordability does not form barriers to the public for seizing benefits, but provide for less expensive similar alternative services, such as, riding or vehicle-sharing.
The successful programs necessarily provide for an open-data platform, global data-sharing and information-sharing, also they utilize quality operating infrastructures in terms of, technological types, speedy data-transfers, cybersecurity, and low latency time capable to transfer basic safety messages. The successful schemes positively influence public perceptions and their traveling behaviors and willingness to be part of the future.
IRF: As a researcher, what are the main advantages of presenting your work at an IRF Congress?
Dr. Dabbas: Always, am interested to participate in IRF congresses whenever chances are presented, but also very much keen to make some efforts that may contribute to advancing the road industry affairs. Thus, I attempt my best to take advantages of available opportunities at convened IRF congresses, to present new research works. IRF congresses to me are about maximizing my networking opportunities. They open wider windows of opportunities that allow me to exchange insights and findings with peers about recent researches in progress. Also, to me, IRF congresses are about meeting transport professionals of the world, and that improves my presence in the global transport arena and, also, supports to get to learn more about innovative knowledge and practices that are current in transport and road industries. Last but not least attending IRF congresses hopefully enhances my current efforts for getting job opportunities.