Transportation and cities go hand in hand. Many of today’s biggest cities can trace their origins
back to early trade routes, at points where cargo and travelers could move easily from one mode of
transport to another, such as a river, a seaport or a railway line. As cities evolve,
transportation continues to make a difference, since the smooth movement of goods, people and
information, into, out of and within city limits, makes it easier to conduct business, exchange
ideas and spread prosperity.
Cities now represent the majority of the world’s population and the bulk of global economic
activity. The World Bank, in their
2021 report on urbanization, finds that 55% of the global population lives in urban areas today and estimates that 80% of
global GDP is generated in cities. By 2045, they predict another two billion people will call
cities home. Many of these people will live in what are termed megacities, with a population of
more than ten million people.
For those of us at NXP, working on smart mobility solutions, the World Bank’s predictions for
urbanization and economic growth comes as no surprise. We’ve been working in this segment for
decades, collaborating with the world’s leading businesses and governments to create urban
environments that are more livable and more sustainable.
Our long-term experience guides us when it comes to intelligent transportation solutions, and one
thing we’ve learned is that smart mobility is really about providing smart choices – giving the
freedom to use a variety of solutions to enhance movement.
Moving People, Goods and Data
When talking with our partners about intelligent transportation, the conversation may begin with
cars and trains, but it doesn’t end there. The current definition of urban movement needs to
include all the ways people navigate a city, even if they’re not physically going anywhere.
Today’s city dwellers use mobile devices to access city services, whether they’re at home or on
the go, and more people are using Wi-Fi for remote work and distance learning. Solutions for
intelligent transport need to take into account all of these requirements.
Another important consideration is that intelligent transport relies on data to function, and that
means transport solutions need to emphasize security. When city services successfully manage,
control and safeguard solutions, smart mobility becomes more reliable, easier for people to use
and more sustainable.
In essence, the goal is to add safety, security, efficiency and capacity to present-day transport
mechanisms. That way, we can help transform all the ways we move, whether we’re traveling over
land, sea, air, or increasingly, over communication networks.
How to Leverage These Trends
When we work with civic leaders and urban planners to develop strategies for intelligent
transportation, we recommend thinking creatively, being open to new technology and looking at ways
to empower people to choose the best, most convenient and safest ways to move themselves, goods
We suggest looking at each category of transport – the movement of people, the movement of goods
and the movement of data – and considering the technologies best suited for each. Here’s a quick
look at what that means and what kind of trends will shape urban mobility.
Public transport helps people access opportunities and advance their quality of life. The focus
here is on convenience and making it as easy as possible for people to use public transport when
getting from point A to point B.
Different processors and software help transport systems anticipate situations and automate
decisions based on the movement of other vehicles and pedestrians, for safer journeys. This makes
it easier for commuters to manage fares with smart cards, mobile phones and traditional tickets.
At the same time, rental car and bike services can be improved for easier access and more
personalized journeys. Contactless solutions are used in the majority of mass-transit systems
worldwide already today, supporting paper-based, smart-card and mobile tickets, as well as the
mobile wallets that securely manage fares and authorize purchases.
On the road, different technologies support the transition toward automation and secure
connectivity in vehicles. That includes advanced driver assistance Systems (ADAS), radar to
support self-guided functions, V2X technology to support connectivity between vehicles and the
infrastructure and ultra-wideband (UWB) for secure smart keys and in-cabin monitoring.
Efficient, reliable transport for all kinds of cargo, from raw materials to finished goods,
supports economic growth and makes business more sustainable, with better use of time, money and
shared natural resources.
Item-level tagging for asset tracking and inventory control is enabled by RAIN RFID and NFC
solutions which are already being used worldwide by major manufacturers of label converters, tags
and readers, as well as a global network of solution providers and system integrators. Secure ID
solutions are part of air-traffic management systems and enable Drone-to-X communication for
interplay between flying vehicles and their surroundings. In commercial vehicles, digital
platooning helps to optimize speed to take advantage of green lights and other V2X operations, for
more efficient, safer travel on city and exurban roads.
When data moves securely across cities, it can be trusted to form the basis of operations that
sense, analyze and anticipate or respond to user needs.
Wi-Fi 6 solutions make Internet routers safer and faster, and do a better job of managing energy
use so devices can combine Wi-Fi and 5G. The advancements of Wi-Fi 6E and utilization of the 6 GHz
bandwidth enables deployment of flexible 5G solutions, no matter where users are located. At the
same time, UWB solutions provide safe, secure and precise location tracking with data security.
Choose Freedom of Choice
In many ways, the first step toward defining smart mobility, and planning for the future of
intelligent transportation, is to recognize that there’s no single solution for moving people,
goods and data. In this blog alone, we’ve mentioned nearly a dozen different technologies that can
be used to add efficiency, automation and security – and we’ve only scratched the surface.
What all these various technologies we mentioned have in common, though, is this: they give people
choices. That is, they help make it easier for individuals, business and communities to select the
best, safest and most environmentally sustainable options for their particular transport needs.
By focusing on flexibility, freedom and choice, we can build a better future for transport and,
ultimately, help smart cities find more effective ways to move forward.
Take the Next Step
To learn more about the future of transportation and how NXP can help define strategies for
intelligent transportation systems, visit
www.nxp.com/transportation and connect with us
at the upcoming
ITS World Congress
(11-15 October) in Hamburg.