Innovative financing needed for smart city infrastructure, report finds


Cities are turning to technology experts to help finance smart infrastructure and integrated transport solutions, which in turn slash congestion and raise rail capacity, a report reveals.

Local authorities can achieve up to 20% greater traffic flow and 30% more rail capacity using solutions that integrate area-wide mobility and transport controls, according to a whitepaper from Siemens Financial Solutions (SFS).

And while accessing finance for technology upgrades is proving 'challenging' for some, forward-thinking authorities are using the 'very specific' knowledge of technology financiers to support such dynamic transport solutions and infrastructure. 

Chris Wilkinson, head of sales for healthcare and public sector for SFS in the UK said: 'We are seeing a rising demand for intelligent financing techniques from public and private organisations.

'Increasing technology sophistication has driven a need for tailored financing methods that can address specific requirements such as financing non-productive setup periods or future upgrade options.'

Dynamic systems joining all transport modes and operators to better manage local use - such as automated metros that react to passenger volume - can support passengers to plan their journey through real time data. This can help reduce congestion, accidents and CO2 emissions by up to a fifth.

Rather than using standardised or 'vanilla' solutions to fund such upgrades, bankrolling packages must reflect the technology and employ wide-ranging solutions including performance-based financing or the total cost of ownership.

The whitepaper adds that funding methods for dynamic road traffic controls and transportation infrastructure can be newly developed to suit the particular scheme or be applied on a case-by-case basis.

It highlights an Asian city where a technology-savvy private sector financier helped asses the return on investment from each smart city initiative and supported the metropolis to plan for future costs with no possibility of increases in spending.


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