Singapore has been ranked as the world’s top smart city in research based on a series of innovation criteria with a focus on Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and Freight-as-a-Service (FaaS).
ABI says the innovation maintains its “leading role as a transportation and freight hub” with driverless taxis, autonomous shuttles and platooning trials and projects, as well as its Smart Nation initiative which addresses a wide range of urban issues linked to high-density living.
The Smart City Ranking by the market-foresight advisory firm ranked ten megacities across developed regions: New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Seoul. Each city was analysed according to their innovation programmes, strategies and implementation achievements measured through verifiable metrics for congestion, air quality, GDP, crime rates, and cost of living. ABI says that in terms of innovation, cities are assessed on the extent of which they are embracing “out-of-the-box thinking and planning” to deploy disruptive technologies to fundamentally address the issues and challenges of megacities of the future across areas like mobility, transportation, energy, education, healthcare, and public services.
“Singapore and second-placed Dubai emerge as smart city leaders, excelling in innovation in terms of the adoption of next-generation technologies and disruptive smart city paradigms as structural solutions for hard problems. Dubai is leading the way in the implementation of distributed ledgers with all government transactions to be processed via blockchain technology by 2030,” said Dominique Bonte, Vice President End Markets at ABI Research. “Both cities also score high across most of the implementation criteria like congestion management, crime prevention, and safety. Dubai actually has a “Happiness Index” which monitors the quality of public services and is aimed at improving overall citizen satisfaction.”
London’s third place is largely due to its advanced open data policies enabling a wider ecosystem of smart city application developers and start-ups. It forms part of a larger group of followers with New York, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, and Los Angeles engaging in multiple smart cities programmes but “often lacks a more ambitious vision to adopt transformative technologies and paradigms, usually linked to the legacy nature of their ageing infrastructure”. The report says they also typically struggle with one or more implementation metrics like crime, congestion, or cost of living.
Somewhat surprisingly, the analysts say, Shanghai and Beijing were assessed as laggers, coming in at rank nine and ten respectively. Despite both cities’ efforts to deploy technologies like smart meters and smart grids, bike sharing, vehicle electrification, smart parking, and smart cards, they continue to face “formidable issues” related to congestion and pollution and trail the other cities on economic development in terms of GDP per capita. At the same time, the researchers say, “both cities have huge potential to improve their ranking in the future as they continue to evolve their smart cities solutions from basic sensor-centric technologies to more advanced approaches while benefiting from expertise gained during trials in smaller cities in China”.