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When it comes to data sharing, cities should lead the way

Leen Balcaen

Head of Cities at HERE

The New Reality is global. It is mobile. It is interconnected and always moving forward.

At HERE Technologies, we provide data and technology to unlock new opportunities and solutions for our partners. We're creating a live, digital representation of the real world to radically improve the way everyone and everything lives, moves and interacts. All powered by location intelligence.

Within a smart city, location data is the glue that holds everything together. I compare location intelligence to a body's nervous system because not only does it connect everything together, but it makes it all work efficiently.

However, even with the best information, something that inhibits this progress is a lack of collaboration; too often companies and cities work within silos. Frequently, departments working right next to one other don't know each other. When looking at the public sector today in major cities around the world, a portion of them have already digitized a lot of data, but many have not, or are keeping it securely within their own department.

It's absolutely vital that data is opened up to other stakeholders and departments within the city, because no one party can do it all themselves. Cities and new mobility companies are starting to unite for more harmony on our streets. But to truly help citizens, both parties must let down their guard and work together with full transparency.

Learning from others is invaluable

A great example of public and private sectors working together takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark. In order to achieve its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2025, the city is working with multinational conglomerate company, Hitachi, to encourage a city data exchange encompassing traffic and building management, smart lighting and beyond.

In Vienna, Austria, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology funded a fleet of autonomous electric buses, auto.bus - Seestadt, as part of the "Mobility of the Future" scheme. To prove it can work, the city is testing it in one area to start. The members of this collaboration are Vienna's public transport provider (Wiener Linien), Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), the board of trustees for traffic safety (KFV), TUV Austria, Siemens AG Austria and Navya.

The takeaways? First, I believe public and private sectors working together to open up and share data for a city's greater good is instrumental when it comes to breaking down silos and evolving. Second, testing a solution in a small area before fully rolling it out is the ideal way for a new mobility company to bring a risk-averse city on board, and for a city to build a relationship with a company before committing large sums of money. The more cities and companies start collaborating and sharing data, the more insights will be generated so that important changes and developments can become a reality.

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Cities must embrace innovative mobility solutions and consider how they can create spaces that are clean, safe and sustainable. 

Embark on your collaboration journey

It's no doubt that collaboration drives a competitive edge in urban mobility and development. If you're looking to dive deeper on the topic of collaboration and the benefits of data sharing, you can download our free eBook, The good collaboration guide.

I'll be continuing this discussion along with colleagues at Directions Europe 2019 in Berlin. Directions Europe makes for a ripe learning ground where thought-leaders and partners can discuss with others who have a stake in urban planning and mobility about what works—and perhaps more importantly—what doesn't. I hope to see you at an event in the future!