So much of modern life is a question of mobility. People need to travel from one place to another, be it for work or for leisure, and businesses need to deliver their goods and services when they’re wanted. On any given day, millions of people in urban areas drive cars or take public transportation, and thousands of items are delivered by commercial vehicles.
This massive movement of people and objects requires a complex infrastructure that doesn’t always work as efficiently as one might like. City streets quickly become clogged with traffic, highways are prone to slowdowns and delays, parking spaces are at a premium, and public transport can be a sea of people at peak travel times.
Stalled traffic is a particular frustration, causing delays and impacting air quality. Inrix, an analytics company that supplies information about traffic congestion, reported that drivers in London, which is Europe’s second most congested location after Moscow, spent an average of 74 hours in gridlock in 2017, amounting to a cost of more than £1,000 per driver in wasted fuel and lost time.
Private cars aren’t the only ones that get stuck in traffic, of course, since commercial vehicles and public buses often share the same roadways, and there are serious concerns about how all these various modes of transportation impact global warming. Global atmospheric CO2 levels are hitting record highs, and leading organizations, including the United Nations, warn that drastic action is needed to meet the targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement.
This two-fold concern about mobility – that is, the impact it has on people as well as on the planet – of many Smart City initiatives, which aim to use technology to improve mobility, by maximizing its efficiency while minimizing its impact.
Smart Cities Build on Smart Mobility
Smart mobility is about making transport more connected, more efficient, and more flexible. It is the backbone for growth in today’s urban environments, and can encompass everything from mass transit and car and bike-sharing services to private cars and commercial vehicles. Taken as a whole, smart mobility helps people and goods move more effectively and more efficiently, so everyone – long-term resident or short-term visitor – has a better day-to-day experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a basis for collaboration, offering a convenient way to bring together players in the private and public sectors, so new business models can emerge. Most of these IoT-driven initiatives focus on the end-user experience, and emphasize the importance of delivering transport services that are simple to use and provide easy access to valuable, real-time information. The widespread adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices plays into this as well, since so many people now carry or wear devices that support interactions with IoT-driven services.
Smart Mobility Builds on MIFARE
The contactless smart card technology known as MIFARE is a foundational technology in a wide range of smart-mobility applications, and is currently used by roughly 1.2 billion people in over 750 cities to access city services. A larger portion of this activity is in public transportation, where MIFARE is the leading brand for contactless tickets, and in smart-city applications that use multi-application smart cards and other devices, for things like combined payment and access functionality.
Contactless technology is unrivalled, in terms of reliability, cost of system ownership, and scalability, and is a leading choice for smart mobility applications of all kinds. As MIFARE continues to grow, and is adopted by more service providers, device manufacturers, and city services, billions of people around the globe will use it to navigate and move in urban areas and to manage the transport of goods.
MIFARE is at the core of several important trends that will move smart mobility forward.
- Delivering More Connected Journeys
MIFARE makes it easier to use public transportation. It can be fully integrated with services that help residents and visitors gather information, plan trips, purchase tickets, stay connected during the journey, and get real-time suggestions for alternative routes if there’s an outage, an accident, or some other delay.
- Support for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Because MIFARE supports secure authentication, it provides trust between consumers and service providers, so people can access services with confidence. This, together with the fast growing spread of MIFARE across end customer devices, supports the trend toward BYOD operation, where people use their own devices to make purchases, place orders, or coordinate service delivery.
- Sharing Services for Increased Efficiency
MIFARE is part of sharing services, which increase mobility by limiting the amount of time that things like bikes and cars sit idle. Instead of a car or bike being parked most of the day, waiting for someone to use it, sharing services let multiple people make use of a single bike or car, so there’s higher utilization and less waste. Bike- and car-sharing programs on the rise in urban areas across the globe, and are expected to continue growing. In Europe alone, for example, more than 15 million users are expected to participate in car-sharing programs by 2020.
- Public Transport for Reduced Emissions
Public transport makes it more practical to live, work, and play in city environments, and has the added advantage of providing alternatives to fossil-fuel consumption, so it can help lower greenhouse-gas emissions. In many countries, shifting away from fossil fuels and expanding public transport is part of the effort to meet the guidelines of the Paris Climate Agreement. MIFARE for ticketing with journey planning gives transit agencies a cost-effective way to increase throughput, and is an easily scalable format that supports expansion.
- Support for GDPR Compliance
Service providers who have IoT deployments that operate in Europe will, as of May 25, 2018, need to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which specifies guidelines for protecting private citizen data. The security features of MIFARE, which include support for cryptography and privacy protection, meet the GDPR requirements, and help service providers ensure that any private information associated with a MIFARE service can be protected according to their needs.
The Way Forward
As urban populations continue to grow, concerns over worsening congestion, pollution, and quality of life are driving innovation and accelerating the arrival of Smart City technologies. Smart mobility is an essential part of this picture, since the logistics of moving people and goods is so central to everyday life.
As a technology partner, offering secure connectivity in the IoT, NXP is collaborating with other technologists and experts in transportation around the world to define, develop, and deploy new ways to improve mobility. We’re leveraging our know-how in wireless connectivity, security, and application control – and our long-standing experience in contactless authentication, payment and rewards with MIFARE – to support the advancement of smart mobility.
It’s part of our commitment to making urban environments safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable for everyone.
Join NXP Semiconductors at IT-TRANS, the leading conference focusing on intelligent transport systems, from March 6-8, 2018 in Karlsruhe, Germany. Meet the NXP MIFARE Team at booth G8 and discover the latest mobility solutions live.