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Intelligent transport system imperative for crowded HCM City: study

Update: January, 19/2015 - 09:00

Siemens Vietnam President and CEO Dr Thai-Lai Pham.

Siemens and consulting firm Arup recently presented a study on intelligent transportation system, which shows how intelligent infrastructure can help cities address rising demand for transport, and at the same time offer transport networks better protection against extreme weather events.

Viet Nam News speaks with Siemens Vietnam President and CEO Dr Thai-Lai Pham about the study.

Can you share with us the key findings of this study?

This research project was carried out by Siemens and the consulting firm Arup with an aim to show how intelligent infrastructure can assist cities like Ho Chi Minh City in addressing the increased demand and at the same time offer better protection to their transport networks against extreme weather events.

HCM City was selected because this city is witnessing a dynamic phase of economic growth, industrial expansion and land use change, which is raising the city's fortunes and attracting business opportunities, but it is also facing significant weather-related risks and severe road congestions.

As you know, around 45 per cent of HCM City is less than a metre above sea level, rendering the city and, in particular, the transport system highly exposed to flooding. Regular flooding in parts of the network compounds the challenges of congestion by reducing the total capacity of the network and diverting traffic on to alternative routes. And according to Siemens and Arup's analysis, with public transport representing only 5 per cent of total traffic in HCM City, the number of delay minutes is forecast to increase by 620 per cent over the next 30 years assuming no investments are made in transportation infrastructure.

The Intelligent Transport System's management centre. — VNS Photo

The study also shows that HCM City could generate economic benefits of US$1.4 billion by investing in making its transportation system more resilient in extreme weather conditions. Calculations based on a review of HCM City's transportation network illustrate that – without intelligent solutions – its traffic congestion is estimated to have a direct cost to the city's economy of approximately $97 billion between 2015 and 2045. An economic appraisal shows that an Integrated Management System (control centre) would take only eight years to become net positive in terms of costs and benefits. This could lead to a net benefit of $1.4 billion over the next 30 years.

The results from this report may be applicable within the context of any city, regardless of infrastructure age or scale of operation. For these cities, technology solutions and an intelligent framework for their implementation would not only help improve the functionality and efficiency of the future system, but also enhance resilience by creating redundancy, responsiveness, co-ordination and flexibility.

What can Siemens do to help cities like HCM City become more resilient and sustainable?

Siemens has a broad portfolio for urban infrastructure that helps cities become more resilient and sustainable. Solutions like smart grids and software solutions for rail automation, traffic management, evacuation management and building management systems contribute the most to minimising the impact of natural hazards primarily because intelligent automation of infrastructure is a key success factor in making systems more flexible and easier to control and co-ordinate.

Can you highlight some key steps to improve the resilience of transport networks in HCM City?

Routine upgrades and new investments in HCM City's transportation system represent a unique opportunity to improve resilience of all of the city's future services and create a more inclusive environment in which economic and social demands can be met.

A first step to increase resilience could be to establish an integrated traffic control centre and associated street-based technologies that incorporate the infrastructure and equipment required to effectively manage traffic flows and the city's transport system remotely and in real time.

In addition, an inter-operator fare collection solution that functions across public transport modes may reduce delay resulting from passenger payments, while also making it easier to access. This would also stimulate a shift away from private vehicles and contribute to increasing resilience by providing flexibility, redundancy and an alternative means of travel to the motorcycle.

Last but not least, there should be effective co-operation between stakeholders at various levels of city administration, ensuring the development and delivery of an integrated multi-modal transport plan. This may require updated policies to guide the development of urban planning, the evolution of new bodies to co-ordinate cross-sector activities, the training of staff to operate new equipment and analyse the output data and trends and the pursuit of new approaches to secure alternative sources of financing. — VNS

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