How to advance smart and green mobility for harbor cities

Photo credit: Kaohsiung City Government

The Global Harbor City Forum 2018,  hosted by Kaohsiung City, gathered representatives of over 60 cities worldwide eager to learn and share experiences with other cities, researchers, practitioners and private sector representatives. This September, the second edition of the Forum centered on the theme Here and Beyond-Forces affecting our future, aiming to find innovative solutions to catalyze sustainable development, to create a livable and resilient environment.

Harbor cities are bustling hubs for trade, commercial and cultural activities with common thread of history. Although many harbor cities around the world have reinvented itself to be an economic powerhouse and tourist destination, two pertinent problems still persist – growth and traffic. The growth in cargo and tourist traffic at the harbor have taxed existing transportation infrastructure and created levels of traffic congestion and air, noise and light pollution levels. How can harbor cities ensure sustainable economic growth while providing quality of life for its residents?

Tackling logistics and human mobility is definitely an important issue for harbor cities. During the Session “the New Prospect of Smart, Green Transportation in Harbor City” at the Forum 2018, local governments leaders came together to discuss how they are using technologies to support the pathway to sustainable urban mobility.

Mayor Dean Trantalis from the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA opened the discussion by presenting some mobility plans and initiatives his city has implemented. To reduce traffic congestion, the city is now working to provide its residents with new rails services and rapid transit options that are affordable and accessible. The city is implementing a number of interventions, including complete street program that prioritizes pedestrians and cyclists; and greening its fleet by switching to electric, hybrid and clean vehicles.

Mr Wan-Fa Huang, Director General of Kaohsiung Transportation Bureau, presented how Kaohsiung was able to balance a rapidly developing industry while promoting a healthy and livable environment through transformation of its transportation system. Kaohsiung aims to invest considerable resources in building an integrated, seamless mobility system and shares the benefits of low carbon mobility. A new solar ferry was commenced in 2018 to transport goods and people. Besides that, the city has taken other steps to provide its residents with easy and sustainable mobility in an enjoyable living and working environment, which is well-exemplified through the EcoMobility World Festival 2017, a one-month creation of ecomobility in the neighborhood most affected by the harbor activities.

Singapore, a city-state that has benefited from its port activities during the golden years of its growth, is transforming the city in light of the ageing population. Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of the North West District of Singapore, highlighted that the city is working to improve the mobility system by taking into account the mobility needs of the elderly. The city puts a strong emphasis on active mobility, accessibility and connectivity of its mobility services. Under the Smart Nation Initiative, the city has invested heavily on the transportation infrastructure and has been exploring the application of self-driving technology to public transport as well as freight transportation and utility service sectors.

Recognizing the critical role of transport in decarbonization process, the City of Portland has focused on improving safety for pedestrians, creating an “all Ages and Abilities” cycling network as well as enhancing the quality and reliability of public transport system. Mr Chris Warner, Director of Portland Bureau, also mentioned that under the Smart Autonomous Vehicles Initiative (SAVI), Portland is currently collaborating with transportation providers and the public to implement testing and piloting of AV technology while advancing public safety and environmental protection. While many uncertainties are  surrounding AVs, the city has provided clear leadership and adopted a draft AV policy in June 2018.

For the Municipality of Sines, Portugal, much attention has been given to active mobility. With funding from European Union and the national government, the city established some measures, which include extending bike lanes, introducing bike sharing systems and improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. As the main port logistics city in the country, Sines has also integrated logistics into their sustainable urban transport strategies and started to work with logistics operators on e-mobility solutions, addressed by Mr Carlos Silva, Chief of Mayor Staff.

All in all, harbor cities face different mobility challenges compared to other cities, having to cope with more freight traffic.  As such, it is all the more important for local governments to integrate sustainable logistics into their sustainable urban mobility policies and actions. Cities need to also define how technologies can be leveraged to support the transition to sustainable mobility that is people-oriented and environmentally-friendly to achieve its goal of sustainable development.

 

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This post is based on the ”New Prospect of Smart, Green Transportation in Harbor City” session at the Global Harbor City Forum 2018.

Photo credit: Kaohsiung City Government
Photo credit: Kaohsiung City Government
Photo credit: Kaohsiung City Government
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