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How can cities prepare for the influx of another 2.5 billion people?

smarter transport infrastructure smarter transport infrastructure
Photo credit:

Marta Diarra

With more people heading towards cities than ever before, transport infrastructure is set to be put to the test. More traffic? Dennis Wang of Easy Taxi has other ideas.

Over the course of the 21st century, global cities are set to go through immense change. Forces beyond our control will see huge shifts in the world’s population toward urban areas.

The UN predicts that 66% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050.

That means current city dwellers need to ready themselves for another 2.5 billion people.

Our only choice is to look forwards toward smarter transport infrastructure, and simultaneously curb the congestion and pollution that go hand in hand with busier cities.

“We’re starting to see megacities emerge and it’s time to think about how we are going to deal with that,” explains Dennis Wang, the CEO of Taxi-hailing service Easy Taxi.

With 17 million users across 30 countries, and 400,000 taxi drivers across their vast South American and Asian network, Easy Taxi wants to be at the forefront of easing the congestion set to come in cities around the world.

Appropriately placed, Easy Taxi’s headquarters is in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Sao Paulo faces the challenge of accommodating an ever expanding number of 19 million residents, without the transport infrastructure required to do so.

Our only choice is to look forwards toward smarter transport infrastructure, and simultaneously curb the congestion and pollution that go hand in hand with busier cities.

The matter isn’t helped by car ownership increasing either. The knock on effect of which is described in this self explanatory article from the BBC, entitled: ‘Sao Paulo: A city with 180km traffic jams’.

And as it stands, the Brazilian government is trying to move towards smarter transport infrastructure, through more bikes and electric cars.

But the whole thing is thwarted by something very simple.

“It is not as convenient”

Smarter transport infrastructure is the answer

“We are seeing a lot of trends heading towards finding sustainable means of transportation in cities,” explains Wang.

“Smart cities are a huge topic right now, and not only will it ease congestion and improve cities dramatically. But it will also improve our quality of life too.”

“We’re starting to see other methods of transport which are genuinely cleaner, cheaper and easier.”

And whilst there’s a utopian dream amongst many of the world’s leaders to rid the roads of fuel guzzling machines once and for all, the thought of a country made up of bicycle-sharing evangelists just isn’t that likely.

Instead, Wang envisions a better means of supplementing the hordes of people set to descend upon cities in the near future.

By leveraging the powerful effects of the sharing economy, Wang stresses that “with Easy Taxi, we have made it easier not to have a car”.

Taking an Uber like approach to taxi hailing, Easy Taxi leverages the geolocation services of smartphones, to help find the closest taxi driver to you in minutes.

“Our view is that public transportation will grow a lot as more people arrive in cities. The amount of infrastructure it takes to truly supplement all of this will take too long. Taxis can take care of this faster”.

Think about all the couriers that are driving around all day, picking up items and taking them back. Pick up after pick up.

“Why not use a taxi that is passing your house instead?”

Wang’s view on smarter transport infrastructure is one which he believes should be transferred to Europe as well. Such a huge number of drivers can be put to use for more than just taking people one place to another.

Less cars on the road tick all the boxes on the way to a more harmonious place to live.

Even in the most developed cities on earth, the strain on transportation systems can be unbearable.

Evidence of the issues of an over over reliance on a two dimensional transport system was when London’s full scale tube strike in early July brought the city to its knees.

Every commuter was a left in a state of hysteria.

In a single blow, Transport for London workers wreaked havoc in one of the most developed cities on earth.

It highlights the need for smarter transport infrastructure, because mobility is key to a strong economy.

The London Tube strike cost the British economy around £10 million per day.

Travis Kalanick are you listening?