We will look at how technology is improving the morning commute, what it is doing to make our working day better, how it will transform our evening’s entertainment and what goes on at night in the smart cities that increasingly never sleep.
There is little that technology can do to cut down on the number of people in cities, but it is increasingly being relied on to keep traffic moving.
Car-sharing schemes, such as ZipCar and UberPool, can cut the number of cars on the road. In Glasgow, the government has spent £12m on an operation centre that monitors 500 cameras and can intervene at more than 800 traffic lights across the city.
Real-time alterations to the red-and-green cycle can cut congestion time by up to 50% and make a city drive much more agreeable, says Prof Christos Cassandras, a smart cities expert from Boston University, who helped develop the system.
In Copenhagen, half of all city residents get to and from work or school via bike, helping with the city’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025.
Semcon has a self-drive car that interacts with pedestrians by displaying a graphic that makes it look as if it is smiling, while cities such as Lyon are experimenting with cute-looking self-drive buses.
Cities are at a crossroads when it comes to easing congestion – should they invest in expensive, hi-tech infrastructure schemes, such as China’s straddling bus, or sit back and wait for the era of driverless cars to solve the problem?