Advances in new technologies allow us to make great improvements in road safety, and many municipalities in the Community of Madrid are already implementing them. Thanks to pilot projects and the internet of things, for example, streetlights light up when a person is about to pass through a crosswalk, or even the pedestrian crossing itself lights up.
Traffic lights are able to regulate traffic according to the volume of cars circulating in that area at that moment, and even thanks to big data it is possible to determine when the containers need to be emptied.
These new technologies make it possible to develop a much more efficient and sustainable management of a city, where everything is planned to improve all the items involved. In the Madrid of the future and other cities in the community, we find hyperconnected systems in cybersecure smart urban spaces.
The Internet of Things, IoT, is capable of providing the necessary tools to interconnect urban landscape systems such as litter garbage cans, street lights, traffic lights or irrigation systems with a series of sensors that determine their use. Thus, if we monitor the irrigation of an area and it has rained, its intelligent sensors detect humidity and do not activate. They can also be turned off if, on the contrary, they perceive that a fountain has been left open but no one is using it.
Or, if the sensors detect that the volume of traffic is higher than usual, the pedestrian traffic light is spaced a little further apart to clear the congestion. These are intelligent systems for efficient cities, capable of adapting in real time to specific circumstances to optimize resources.
Also to improve our preventive road safety systems, because illuminating a crosswalk only when a person is about to cross, in addition to optimizing electricity consumption, irreplaceably improves the driver's attention at that point. Traffic lights will also emit light signals and 'blink' if a pedestrian is crossing to alert drivers.
In Spain the rates of pedestrian accidents in cities are not to be proud of; in Madrid alone in 2022 more than 1,400 people were run over. So there is a lot of work to be done on road safety and, in particular, on pedestrian crossings.
A city's quality of life is also measured in its safety, and many of these interconnected elements and systems to optimize and improve economic as well as environmental and social sustainability is a must today.
Many of these pilot tests are developed in the IoTMADLAB laboratory of the Polytechnic University of Madrid to advance on issues that although they sound futuristic, are very present and essential solutions for example in the field of energy efficiency or road safety.
There are so-called 'emerging' or experimental technologies that, thanks to hubs or research laboratories, are gradually being developed into concrete applications that make their potential advantages tangible. Thus, municipal facilities can 'speak a common language' so that they can communicate with each other and this hyperconnectivity guarantees their efficiency. Either in the environmental field with a reduction of polluting emissions and lower energy expenditure, or its economic translation. Or in terms of security for the inhabitants of a municipality or large city.
Smart streetlights, panic buttons or wireless charging parcel booths are some of the 'smart' solutions proposed by the laboratory of the Montegancedo campus of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, which together with the city council of the capital are developing new pilot programs.
The digital transformation of cities is aided by new technologies such as intelligent sensors, robots or hyperconnectivity languages to improve our security and ensure the best use of all of them. The future applied in our present because technology is advancing and can already improve our lives.