By David Rodriguez, CMO at GreenRoad
Will there come a day when car accidents are so rare that even major cities can count annual road-based fatalities on one hand? Better still, is it possible we’ll live in a world without accidents altogether? This may have seemed like a pipe dream just a few years ago, but as smart mobility technology evolves, city planners, startups, fleets, and citizens from around the world are working together to make this vision a reality.
This “zero-fatality” goal was the topic of a recent panel I participated in at the Enterprise IoT Summit in Austin, Texas. Rui Costa of Veniam joined me on the Autotech Council Startup Review panel, along with moderator Liz Kerton of the Autotech Council, to discuss how our tech companies are focused on supporting Vision Zero initiatives in innovative ways for smart cities.
Since 1994, the Vision Zero Initiative has been driving toward a singular, yet complex goal: to put an end to road-based deaths and major injuries. Just three years after it started, Sweden’s government passed a Road Traffic Safety Bill with the Vision Zero Initiative as its backbone, reforming the way that country approaches road safety. Since then, companies and government agencies around the world have adopted the same goals, working hand in hand to change the way drivers and the road system interact to reduce risk. The zero-fatalities goal may seem lofty, but when you consider that more than 1 million people worldwide die each year from traffic accidents, it seems absurd not to entirely rethink how we’re approaching road safety on a community level.
Citywide safety is not only a significant issue, it’s one that’s close to my heart as a member of the GreenRoad team. Our vision has always centered on reducing fatalities and accidents for fleets and mobile workforces, and it’s exciting and rewarding to see entire cities from all over the world joining the conversation with such dedication and fervor.
There were a couple of topics of discussion repeatedly raised at the panel, mirroring the conversations I often have with cities, other companies, GreenRoad customers, and their drivers:
How mobile technology is changing the way we think about driver safety.
Mobile technology has paved the way for smart mobility by making technology that was once only available for large commercial companies affordable and practical for smaller fleets and even private citizens. Because mobile technology takes away the need for an investment in hardware, anyone with a mobile device and a vehicle can simply download an app to benefit from commercial-grade analytics and technology.
While we are already seeing the usage of this type of technology grow among smaller businesses and individuals, this technology needs to be leveraged on a large scale if we are going to successfully take on the global problem of driver safety.
How driver behavior data can help cities shape and improve their vision zero initiatives.
The data denoting the most dangerous “safety hotspots,” or the streets and intersections where a high number of driver errors happen, already exists; cities simply need to take advantage of it. Safety hotspot data can go a step further than just pinpointing where the most accidents have happened. It can help cities identify locations where risky driving behaviors take place, such as harsh braking, speeding, unsafe cornering, and rapid acceleration.
This data allows cities to be proactive in creating measures that combat trouble spots, for example reducing speed limits or forewarning drivers of a coming stop.
The global conversation on mobility is undoubtedly shifting to focus primarily on safety and efficiency, and we’re honored to have a seat at the table. As fleets and mobile workforces, you also play an important role in deciding the future of smart mobility, as you and your drivers represent a large portion of the traffic flow on global roads.
Get involved in the conversation. Research your city’s Vision Zero initiatives and learn how you can make your voice heard. We’re heading full speed ahead into the future of smart mobility. It’s up to all of us to help define what it will look like when we arrive.