But what is a smart city, and how does it differ from other cities?
There is no sole definition of what a smart city is. There are, however, a number of common components, including smart health, smart government, smart buildings and open data. Smart transportation is one of the most important.
Mobility hubs in Bergen
Cities take the lead
Oslo is not exactly a huge metropolis by global measure. Nevertheless, with well over 650 000 inhabitants, it is home to 23 per cent of Norway’s population.
Ruter – the company that covers the greater Oslo region – has stated that all the modes of transport it operates, including buses, boats, minibuses and taxis, will become entirely emission free in the next decade.
Ruter produces a lot of the solutions it needs using open source and off-the-shelf software, and is eager to share its digitalisation expertise with any country that is interested.
Bergen is Norway’s second largest city, and the unofficial capital of Western Norway. With a population of just over a quarter million, it is designing a smart city where shared mobility is one of the keywords. The city has recently opened two of about 10 mobility hubs – the first of their kind in Norway.
The core of each mobility hub comprises permanent, reserved parking spaces for car-sharing cars, primarily electric ones. Mobility hubs are located close to public transport and ride-sharing stops, and offer secure bicycle parking, access to city bikes and chargers for electric vehicles (EV).
ZapCharger Pro charging system for electric cars
Innovative transport solutions
All across Norway, companies are developing solutions to meet the needs of smart cities, both in Norway and abroad.
ZAPTEC is one example. The ZapCharger system can be used for any type of EV and can charge up to 100 cars on a single circuit per day. The system handles both slow and fast charging simultaneously, thereby optimising power use while preventing grid imbalance.
Bike sharing is also essential in a smart city. The startup Urban Sharing has developed an easy-to-use software platform for bike sharing, which has been integrated into Oslo’s public transport system via Oslo City Bikes.
The cities of Edinburgh, Bergen and Trondheim, meanwhile, are implementing Urban Sharing’s new hybrid lock system. The locks work in “virtual stations” defined by geo-fenced areas, as well as in traditional docking stations.
The Norwegian Centre of Expertise (NCE) Maritime CleanTech is developing the zero-emission Urban Water Shuttle to take advantage of waterway mobility. The Urban Water Shuttle will run on battery power and connect city populations without needing roads.
Urban Water Shuttle
Effective flow of open data is a cornerstone of smart cities. The Norwegian Government has established the company Entur to run the national registry for all public transport in Norway. Data from 60 public transport operators is collected in a registry that contains data about 21 000 daily departures on 3 000 routes. This data is open and free for use by app and service developers.
Oslo by Night