With global urbanization rising, the need for transport and mobility is ever growing. Even the internet age does not lessen our thirst for travel and accessibility. It seems that connectivity through smart phones and social media is no real substitute for really being there, meeting people and experiencing new things in real life.
In cities especially there is a limit to the amount of mobility we can offer, particularly when it comes to using cars. Smart governments realize; the transport a city offers needs to become multi modal and intelligent. Young people, for example, are increasingly sharing cars, and cycling has gained in popularity as a fun and easy means of transport. So building and designing for these growing and changing needs of accessibility is slowly becoming the norm in smart cities.
With these developments it becomes increasingly more important to guard the quality of life in cities. This is where we at Heijmans look at what the latest technology has to offer to develop smart and sustainable answers to questions of mobility. Nowadays we expect more of our chosen modes of transport, to not only take us from point A to point B, but they make our lives easier and our journeys more pleasant.
In cities there is always a demand to improve on usage, safety, and traffic flow, whether you are talking about cars, bicycles, public transportation or any other mode of transportation. However this may never impede on the quality of life. Building sustainable, inclusive and livable cities is one of the big challenges of this age. At Heijmans we believe that we need to look beyond systems and mechanisms that we have relied on thus far and start making use of the latest in cutting edge technology and apply these new principle to building the city.
Innovation in construction is in our DNA. Developments such as double-layer pervious concrete and self-healing asphalt are prime examples of this. To us, the issue of mobility is all about offering sustainable transport solutions.
The Smart Highway concept that we devised together with artist Daan Roosegaarde is our most famous developed on the world stage. This innovative concept creates an entirely new mobility experience for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Ideas from this testing ground are increasingly becoming part of our everyday landscape. Just consider the Van Gogh Roosegaarde Bicycle Path in Eindhoven – a shining example of infrastructure that boosts both the economy and tourism. And at the same time makes cycling a more safe option.
At Heijmans we innovate not only through introducing new materials, but also by investing in new partnerships and new business models. In Rotterdam, together with BMW, we offer car sharing for the residents of the Timmerhuis building. Residents have access to three electric-powered BMWs, which they share among themselves. In this way, we combine sustainable mobility with housing.
Heijmans BikeScout helps to improve safety for cyclists: it uses smart signals to warn drivers when cyclists are approaching a dangerous intersection. At the side of the road, we are installing Heijmans Solar Noise Barriers (SONOB), which not only protect against noise, but also generates energy.
The roads and tunnels that we construct incorporate a huge amount of technology and systems that help road authorities optimize traffic flow and road safety.
In this way, Heijmans is clearly showing that we have already started to build smart cities. It is simply a case of not accepting the status quo and looking beyond the possibilities of today towards the cities we want to live in tomorrow.