How you will move around in your city in 2018: Smart cities

Millions of people struggle every day to reach their workplaces and study areas in cities in where pollution and long commutes are decreasing the quality of life of the inhabitants.

Smart cities want to solve some of the most common problems that plague the big cities, but what are they? We list here some of the main concerns: pollution, traffic congestion, poor light efficiency and lack of safety for pedestrian roads.

Pollution is a global concern that is damaging the health of the population and speeding up the climate change. According to WHO it is a serious global health risk that is responsible for premature deaths and respiratory problems, especially in the most polluted cities in the world in Nigeria, Pakistan and South Arabia.cityscape-2394753_1920

It is worth to mention the quantity of vehicules circulating in massive cities. Just in Mexico City, the most congested city in the world, there are 5 million of vehicles and there are 30 millions of car trips everyday. In Jakarta 2000 new motorbikes join the circulation every day, according to a recent study by Citymetric.

In Europe Bucharest is the most congested city and a recent study of Tomtom estimated that roughly every driver spends 128 hours of extra time driving per year. Other very congested city is London, that over the past decade has taken a series of measures to reduce traffic. Those go from expanding the public transport network and bike lanes, to taxing the most polluting vehicles and cutting the city center completely to traffic.

Technologies for Smart cities in 2018 and beyond

To address these problems, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are basically collecting data from pedestrian walks and vehicles roads to better understand how people travel around the city and how to manage their flow better. There are complex devices that estimate how many people move around certain areas and at what time, as well as surveillance and sensors that do the same in roads.

There are various ways to determine the flow of people though, for example London Subway uses Wi-Fi pings to learn how passengers travel.

Citizens can also take advantage of real time location systems. For navigation, apps like Waze gather traffic in order to estimate if there is a traffic jam or an obstacle on the road.

People walking or driving to meet their friends in the crowd can also use location services in real time like Wave Application, a free app that facilitates the meetings by enabling two or more people to share their live location on a private map with their contacts.

Once cities have started to comprehend how their citizens move around the city, it is time to implement changes and improve their quality of life. These are the ones that can be visible in the smart cities of 2018:

Find a pak spot

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Studies show that finding a park spot raises the congestion. To help people park their cars Palo Alto city developed floor sensors that warned via an app users when a parking spot is available. Now the city is expanding its use over the city.

As cities are introducing timidly electric and gas cars the question on how to distribute the charge stations around the city arises. Would they been in malls, as they plan to be in Madrid or in private parkings as the Hong Kong Baptist University suggests? Well, it really depends on the city as smart technologies are very adaptable. 

Light the city

The light consumption of the cities can be more efficient and better distributed thanks to the ICT information to determine when and where it is better to turn a light on or off. Thus, in areas with more traffic or with greater incidence of crime, the application could alter the brightness of the streetlights. In 2018 several cities around the world will use this system, like Wellington in New Zealand.

Safety of Pedestrians

The safety of pedestrians is another measure that we can begin to notice in Columbus, Ohio, that will implement an efficient crossing system in one of its streets. In Dubai we will see a passenger counter in one of its crossings to reduce the waiting time of the traffic light if there is a crowd. On the other hand, we will see new crosses adapted to people with less vision, thanks to a system of lights and signals in New York.

Reduce waste of water

The parks and forests of the cities are necessary for everyone’s health. Increasing their extension could be feasible if the consumption of irrigation water is reduced. To do this, cities such as Barcelona are implementing humidity sensors in urban parks that will determine how much water is actually needed to irrigate the parks.

As you can notice, smart cities are not only electric cars or Wifi Spots. The possibilities are endless and the New Year is bringing us amazing technologies to improve our daily life. What is your city doing to be smarter in 2018? Drop us a line!

Travel solo woman tips

Travel solo: How to prepare a trip with the best apps and information

Traveling and getting to know new cultures is always inspiring, but if you also merge with the local tastes, the gastronomy and the public affairs, you will have acquired as souvenir a huge cultural and personal growth. There are several ways to travel as an expert and one of the most popular lately is to travel alone.

One of the reasons to travel solo is because it is considered a great experience of personal growth. It is also popular for those who have simply reached a point in their life of some economic calm, curiosity to travel and free time that they don´t share with their friends or partner.

The reasons are varied, but the experience is unique for each of the travellers. Traveling alone is a much more conscious act of moving, analysing other cultures and being aware of what happens around us, so we should be prepared for it.

You will have moments of loneliness, extravagant conversations and awkward moments with people, even times of frustration in which you won´t find the restaurant or the accommodation you wished. However, experts say that the advantages far outweigh the vicissitudes, such as the freedom to go wherever you want when you want, the need to leave your comfort zone and talk to local people, to understand their customs and the opportunity to mature and become strong and independent.

If you are going to start the adventure and travel solo the age or sex don’t really matter, as long as you consider some tips to make your trip easier. The technology in that case is your great ally, so take note of the following applications that you will need to carry on your smartphone.

Plan the solo trip beforehand

There are those who say that planning a trip is already part of the adventure and it might be true, because the organisation of holidays is a stage of discovery, illusion and many emotions. One of the apps that make it easier is Tripit, a complete directory in which to write all the destinations in the calendar along with the itineraries of flights and transportation, notes, tickets, budget and expenses to have in the end a great travel guide with all the details. The best part is that it works across all platforms.

Creators of Tripit say that in fact it’s like taking with you an assistant, because you can also see how to get to your hostel, send the information via social networks or see on the map what’s interesting near you. It is free and available for iOS and Android.

Locate yourself and your travel mates

Traveling alone is actually a very social experience, travellers are constantly getting to know people, whether they are from a hostel, people met on social networks and forums or just in the queue of some cultural attraction. In addition to friends, travellers will have interaction with receptionists, couchsurfing members, tour guides, travel agents and son on, therefore if you are in a new city it can be difficult to reach the agreed meeting point, recognise the person with whom you are meeting or find her/him in a crowded place.

To avoid these unpleasant situations, download Wave Application, a free app in which two or more people share their location in real time on a private map, so that they can follow each others’ steps and chat with them. It has millions of users worldwide and it is free for iOS and Android.

Know the good neighbourhoods

Strolling, getting lost in the crowd, passing through that rickety alley, ending up on the less touristy shore of Venice, discovering an abandoned monastery and a thousand other places are a delight reserved for travellers alone or for the more curious. That is, for those who have the time and the desire to wander without haste.

Something so simple can’t be done lightly though, not every city is going to go easy on us when it comes to the skin color, the gender, the way we dress or how we wear belongings and this sensation increases outside of the city centre. To cope with it, download Livesafe Map App, an app that analyses the main cities of the world and classifies its neighbourhoods as dangerous, dangerous for women, full of thieves and many other filters, so any traveler can always get lost in a safe place. It’s available for free for iOS and Android. 

Discover the city with your headphones

As a solo traveler, you probably are soaked with information tourist offices, forums and personal recommendations. A new and interesting way of discovering the cities through the headphones comes with the Detour app, an auditive tour guide that will tell you all the aspects of the cities in which you travel, from history, customs and politics, to curiosities, tourist attractions, gastronomy and other interesting facts. This app already has hundreds of cities and the list grows continuously. It’s available for free for Android and iOS.

Now you are all set, are you ready to try this new way of traveling the world? Let us know your thoughts and we wish you the best experience!
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