By effectively employing technology, smart cities can develop new systems and processes that can not only improve the lives of citizens, but also create new commercial opportunities for businesses. Citizens can look forward to more convenient and efficient lifestyles, encompassing almost every aspect of day-to-day life – from ease of moving about, to better public services, and better utilisation of resources. Some potential benefits include:
Improved efficiency and mobility
McKinsey estimates that smart mobility can create better transportation systems, cutting commute times by as much as 15–20%11. Smart street parking and traffic management systems can create better flows and road utilisation, and the longer-term vision for autonomous vehicles could improve public transport provision.
Energy consumption can also be made more efficient. For example, the use of smart meters (meters that measure energy consumption accurately and send the data on to an energy supplier) on a consumer level already enables better insight into – and control over – energy consumption; 55% of early adopters in the UK report positive behavioural change towards energy use following installation of a smart meter12.
Smart grids improve transmission of energy data and enable better management of energy supply and demand13. They also support the supply of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, integrating these intermittent renewables and enabling distribution systems to keep pace14. With smart grids, energy distribution can be optimised, reducing peak demand and need for bigger grid infrastructure. Public street lighting is also becoming more efficient. A number of cities are replacing street lights with more efficient LED bulbs that are equipped with sensors that adjust the lighting level depending on whether there is anyone on the street or not16.