In March 2014, Paris made the headline forseveral days as “the most polluted city in the world,” more than cities likeBeijing or Zabol, which usually occupy the top of the chart. The chronicpollution peaks faced by Paris draw attention to its health and economicconsequences. Although air pollution is due to a combination of pollutants withcomplex stakeholder, attention was called on the problem cars andtransportation.
So much so that diesel car from before 2005 will be banned in2019 and all combustion engine definitely exclude from the capital in 2030. Ifthe inhabitants will no longer use cars, it is time to really change the way wethink about public transportation. Cities of the future are being developedaround us, leading to more efficiencies and conveniences, and listening to theneeds of their residents.
And for cities to improve and face the future, theymust become smart. A smart city is an urban area that uses different types ofelectronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used tomanage assets and resources efficiently. Theproblem Paris is increasinglyaffected by a level of pollution well above the safety limit that has been setby the World Health Organization. The last pollution peak, that happened only a month ago, on February11, has proved again that the current situation is not sustainable for theParisian population, whose quality of life has worsened recent years. Everyday, 300.000 Parisians were exposed to levels of pollution above officiallimits. These particles cause many health damages: indeed, breathing extremely toxicair has been linked to an increased risk of asthma, heart disease, respiratoryinfection, and cancer of the bronchus, trachea and lung. Particulatematter also affect the environment, degrading buildings and influencing theclimate.
Indirectly, they are thought to have immense costs in healthcare,productivity losses, agricultural losses, and tourism losses. Physically, they are manifest through haze,decreasing the visibility in the city. There might also be a synergy at playwith climate change raising the average temperature in Paris.
Warm weather withlittle or no wind is particularly susceptible to a pollution peak. A warm lidover Paris effectively prevents the particulates from dispersing. Climatechanges reinforces the dangers posed by air pollution.Political and economic aspects ofthe situation Diesel use hasbeen encouraged in France because it is more fuel-efficient than gasoline. Itproduces less CO2 emissions but emits nitrogen oxides that react with sunlightto produce fine soot particles that cause bronchial irritation and cancer. Only after the World Health Organizationclassified diesel fumes as carcinogenic in 2012 did a widespread awareness ofdiesel’s health consequences develop. After having encouraged the use of dieselfor decades for economic and environmental reasons, it is difficult for theFrench government to turn around, especially when most the population owns adiesel vehicle.
Moreover, no one would voluntarily take part in improving thequality of the air if other benefit from it. Despite a sharp decrease inparticulate matter emissions in the past 15 to 20 years, due mostly totechnological improvements and renewal of equipment, concentrations have stayedstable. Parisians and inhabitants of the suburbs might be reluctant toundertake harsher efforts whose results are dubious. Paris Alreadybanned cars registered before January 1 in the capital from driving between 8am and 8 pm. Cars registered before1997 will soon be joined by models bearingthe vignette “Crit’Air 4” and diesel vehicles from 2001 to 2005. This decisionby Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is set to be the first of a wider range of policy. Shealso recalled, that a “citizen vote” would be organized regarding thecity’s climate plan and the end of the thermal vehicles by 2030.
“Twelveyears, this allows to project and prepare. No one is caught off guard “.No one wants tobe the only one to refrain from polluting and pay a double cost: having to findnew means of transportation, heating and construction while still breathing inthe polluted air if nobody else acts. It is in everyone best interest to keepclean air at or below the carrying capacity, but this incites everybody to freeride on the potential efforts of others without undertaking any action himselfor herself. Identical to a prisoner dilemma, collaboration would be moreefficient in general, but the individualistic state of mind conducts to a Nashequilibrium. The logical solution would be to propose a free transportation systemprovided by the state. Policies in place The currentregulatory situation is complicated, because different levels of authority areinvolved; there are European, national and local regulations, which sometimeshave been added on top of each other in an inefficient and confusing way.
Moreover, some of them are short-termmeasures used during pollution peaks while others are permanent regulationsto improve the situation on the long term. Short-term measures are mostly theresponsibility of local authorities. They include a mandatory reduction incars’ speed in and around Paris during pollution peaks and the installation ofalternate circulation, whereby cars can only be used on certain days, dependingon their plate. These are command and control regulations since they enact arule whose violation is punished by a fine.
Many of the approaches that havebeen used until now have been temporary or short-term, and have focused onlocal sources of the problem. It might be because of political reasons: thesemeasures are more visible and give the impression that the government is actingwithout requiring structural changes in the economy or important technological investments.However, it also makes them less efficient. What to do? An effectiveapproach to pollution would be to use subsidies that make public transportation free in order to fight one of the worstsources of particulate matter emissions: road traffic.
Free public transports encouragedrivers to use more sustainable transportation modes by removing the costbarrier. This should be combined with a modernizationand extension of the current public transport network, which might be muchmore successful in reducing road traffic. Given that 50 % of particulateemission comes from car traffic, the unique goal of this policy would be to createa shift from use of cars to public transports, thus lowering the pollutionemission. The macro-control would be obtained, andthe modernization would be done with previously gained knowledge on the way thecity population moves in the city. A margin of error would be left since thefree public transport is only an incentive for people to use them: it is not anobligation. There are no clear target number to be obtained through thispolicy, and a more data could be used to improve the system.
The level ofpollution will only decrease. The historical starting point can be used as an advantage,Paris was never designed for cars, and has a great metro system. France doesnot have a “car culture” and people usually just go with the most convenientmeans of transportation, which will hopefully be public transports due to thispolicy. This policy would adapt to changing condition because thegovernment can constantly monitor the movement of the habitants and additionalinformation would then be available. Thus, the transportation network can beconstantly improved and evolve with the city.1. Use of data Data issued fromthe usage of public transportation can be anonymized and used to produce mapsshowing when and where people are traveling, giving both a far more accurateoverall picture, as well as allowing more granular analysis at the level of individualjourneys, than was possible before. As a large proportion of Paris journeysinvolve more than one method of transport, this level of analysis was notpossible in the days when tickets were purchased from different services, incash, for each individual leg of the journey.
For example, the metro, passengers are used to “checking outand checking in” – tickets are validated (by automatic barriers) at the startand end of a journey. However, on buses, passengers simply check in.Traditionally tickets were purchased from the bus driver or inspector for a setfee per journey.
There is no mechanism for recording where a passenger leavesthe bus and ends their journey – and implementing one would have beenimpossible without creating an inconvenience to the customer. So, can we useBig Data to infer where someone exited? We know where the bus is, because wehave location data and we have data for entry, what we do next is look at wherethe next tap is. If we see the next tap follows shortly after and is at theentry to a tube station, we know we are dealing with one long journey using busand metro. This permit to understand how crowded a particular bus or range ofbuses are at a certain time, and to plan interchanges, to minimize walk times.
Wecan also use big data to study origin-destination pairs at different levels andthus optimize the transfer times if big chunk of population faces the same “inefficiency”2. Collaboration between the citizen and the cityThe citizens must be involved in the city mapping we must therefore promote the acquisition ofsensors by citizens and the development of tools for feedback and analysis ofinformation. *****give information to the user ********collaborativemapping can be used as a tool for urban development and resilience. Finally,this mapping will be conceived as a true public service of the data ensuringthe reliability, the free and the guarantee of a benevolent use of the dataproduced on the territory.3.
Free public transportationPublic transportation of metropolitan cities is a crucialpart of the solution to the nation’s economic, energy, and environmentalchallenges – helping to bring a better quality of life. In increasing numbers,people are using public transportation and local communities are expandingpublic transit services. Free public transportation will encourage people usingit rather than choosing the option of private vehicle which will result inoverall low pollution emission.
Free public transportation can also create other positiveexternalities such as a more efficient labor markets since it is easier forpoor people to get to jobs. This is a benefit to employers for it makes iteasier to hire people and it is a benefit to the people without cars who nowfind it easier to get jobs. But it is also a benefit to the society at largebecause it contributes to a long-term reduction in poverty.