By Aira Mae Olivar, AUN Intern
Prof. Dr. Pekka Leviäkangas of the University of Oulu in Finland delivered a keynote speech on his thoughts regarding Intelligent Transportation System in Smart Cities at the recently concluded CSID AUN-SCUD International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure and Urban Development (CAIC-SIUD) via Zoom Video Conferencing.
Prof. Dr. Pekka Leviängkas is a part of the University of Oulu’s Civil Engineering Department and is the leader of Infrastructure and Transport Systems. The CIV Department focuses on the possibilities of existing and emerging technologies, systematic understanding, and human-centered solutions over the life-cycle of structures and the built environment.
A smart city is defined as sustainable by gauging its advancement in technology, suitable governance parameters, and generally high quality of life. In his presentation, Prof. Dr. Leviäkangas emphasized that Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is a smart city. Practices such as a regional public transport ticketing system, controlled public transport fares, and effectively administered parking policies are present.
The underlying success factor of these smart cities is the political will of consensus-making within the government itself. Furthermore, the necessity of a great city management vision and an active pursuit for innovation are also necessary. An example of this would be how neighboring cities collaborate on a regional basis—in this case, Finland’s membership in the European Union (EU) and following EU policies on regulation regarding transport systems, mainly tackling climate change issues through international agreements.
The main lines of action for a smart city are achieving sustainable mobility through the procurement of an urban mobility plan. Another line of action would be increasing the intelligent mobility and resilient mobility of a city. These targets should be dedicated and concrete for a smart city to actualize.
Towards the end of his speech, Prof. Dr. Leviäkangas emphasized that smart cities are only beginning, yet targets should be achieved by 2030. He calls for an active and dedicated response to building more intelligent cities while considering environmental sustainability. This can be done by looking for other renewable energy systems like solar, hydro, and wind energy generators. Investments in digital infrastructure, collaborations and agreements, and inclusivity are essential in building smart cities.