Building the smart city by plugging transport in to its urban environment

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The leading cities in the deployment of smart cities solutions across the world have announced ambitious objectives to increase their energy efficiency and correspondingly decrease their CO2 emissions to attempt to contain climate change.

UITP has demonstrated that a shift towards public transport would contribute very significantly to achieving this objective. But the contribution of public transport can go beyond an increase of its market share in our transport system.

With the deployment of new electromobility solutions in public transport, smart cities are enabling the connection between transport and the energy system.

This connection can rely upon the existing public transport infrastructure. Urban transport interchanges are the natural place for connecting public transport and the energy network in the smart city. From Osnabruck to Madrid, a new generation of stations is both more energy efficient and offers to manage energy more smartly. In Madrid, energy regeneration from metro braking allows for the charging of electric vehicles. In other places, the energy braking regeneration enables a more efficient energy management in transport hubs.

In Vienna, electric buses are able to charge en-route using the overhead tramway electricity network, thus reducing battery weight and costs. With their network of substations, tramway networks, under certain conditions, offer interesting perspective for the deployment of other types of electric vehicles. Through these interfaces and connections, energy and transport management will be increasingly integrated in the future. ICT will provide the data and the tools to enable this management.

Through its integration with the energy network in the city, the public transport sector can be a city-wide integrator and be the backbone and catalyst of smart cities, as stated in UITP’s official position on smart cities.

More information about smart cities and electromobility

This will be further explained and debated, through the examples of leading cities in Europe and beyond, at the next UITP seminar: ‘Planning tomorrow’s smart city: Turning plans into reality,’ which will take place in Brussels on 22 January, with the participation, amongst others, from high level representatives from Munich, Vienna, Tom Tom, Microsoft, etc.

- NODES interchanges 

Contact: sylvain.haon(at)


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