A CHANGING SOCIETY
BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE THANKS TO MOBILE DATA
The Swisscom program focuses on the analysis of transit traffic in Greater Fribourg.
The concept underpinning the smart city vision is the integration of digital technologies to enhance quality of life. The Swiss communications company Swisscom was won over by the idea and decided to exploit the full potential of its enormous volume of mobile data and use it to tackle mobility challenges. “We successively established partnerships with the towns of Pully, Montreux and Fribourg, and set about launching pilot projects there”, explains Raphael Rollier, the Program Director. The Fribourg project, which began in late 2015 and finished one year later, was jointly implemented with the engineering consultancy firm Transitec. “Traditionally, road meters record traffic volumes in downtown Fribourg. However, our data provide a more detailed yet broader picture.” Project management was especially interested in determining the ratio between the different types of traffic (transit, park-and-ride and within the city). “Unsurprisingly, our work focuses on transit traffic, the reduction of which municipal leaders have made a top priority.” Findings from the Pully project showed that transit traffic accounted for a 60% share, whereas in Montreux the share was 20%. The Fribourg results will be ready sometime in 2017.
The Smart City program optimizes the analytics by collecting anonymous digital tracks, which Swisscom customers leave behind. “Every time a smartphone connects to one of our aerials, we receive actionable information in real time. Five years ago, there was not enough data, but the arrival of 4G, which 98% of the Swiss population now has access to, means that our customers are connected on an almost permanent basis”, explains Raphael Rollier. Thanks to the Swisscom project, many mobility-related decisions in the future will be made based on accurate indicators. “Take the construction of a new park-and-ride facility, for example. The data that are collected will make it easier to determine the best location and what its capacity should be.”
A helpful tool for the public authorities
Although most now appreciate the benefits and appeal of smart city projects, “the public authorities often find themselves stuck when it comes to taking the necessary action”, notes Raphael Rollier, head of Swisscom’s smart city program. Very soon, they are inundated with offers from public or private companies. With this in mind, Swisscom and IMD (International Institute for Management Development) jointly developed the ‘Smart City Piano’ to make it easier for the public authorities to structure, implement and evaluate their smart city projects. This analytical tool, which draws on the experiences of 25 towns, companies and start-ups which were early adopters of the concept, rests on three pillars: the evaluation of the potential of a given project, the optimal preparation of its framework conditions and the provision of practical keys for managing its implementation.