The world around us is becoming increasingly urbanised as towns and cities rapidly expand. To accommodate this growth, cities will need to become smarter and more efficient, addressing the increasing pressures on their existing infrastructure while also investing in the technologies that will serve them in the future. At the core of smarter cities is connectivity: both having reliable and fast connectivity for the people who live and work there as well as using the data generated to understand how citizens and visitors are going about their daily lives.
As the world’s leader in digital payments, Visa has an important role to play in the development of smarter cities. We are working with partners across a range of sectors, leveraging the power of our technology to streamline the way people pay and are paid. In the transit space, we have made great strides in implementing contactless payments worldwide. To date, Visa has launched contactless transit in 20 cities across 12 countries. This technology helps to keep our cities moving whilst simultaneously delivering convenience to consumers.
With our deep experience working with transportation operators worldwide, Visa is helping to streamline the commerce underpinning transportation, as well as acting at the ‘connective tissue’ that helps cities see the broader patterns of consumer behaviour. One example of this work is our recent launch with kerbside management and smart parking technology firm, AppyParking. If we can utilise contactless technology to make travelling by train or bus smarter, why can’t parking be made easier too?
AppyParking recently launched its innovative Smart City Parking solution in the historic English town of Harrogate. Visa and AppyParking have worked together to develop One Click Parking™ which enables drivers to simply enter designated spaces, park their car and begin paying for the parking session via the AppyParking app. The session ends automatically when they drive away. Users of the app benefit from ‘linear’ pay-per-minute rates, allowing drivers to pay only for the time they are parked and avoid paying upfront for time they don’t use via a pay and display ticket. Additionally, they save time and fuel because they can identify available spaces on the app rather than driving around searching for somewhere to leave their car.
Our work with AppyParking is a great example of how transit can be reimagined with digital payments – but the benefits of these solutions don’t end with the consumer. AppyParking gives councils access to an analytics dashboard which shows parking utilisation data. As the app gets used at scale, this means local authorities will for the first time be able to view parking heat maps and demand flows, and generally gain a better understanding of how their parking assets are consumed.
At Visa we’re also working with partners to implement solutions that help towns and cities address the pressures on their existing infrastructure, while also serving municipalities well in the future too. As an example, with an increasing focus on environmentally friendly ways to travel - electronic vehicles are becoming more popular. Indeed there are now more than a million electric cars in Europe after sales soared by more than 40% in the first half of 20181. In order to serve this market and keep our towns and cities moving as they embrace this new way to travel, well-placed, easy-to-use charging stations are vital. Being able to tap and charge will help to support the expected growth in electronic vehicles. Last year, Visa and partners launched an easy-to-use payment solution for Electric Vehicle drivers on a global scale – starting in the UK and replacing a lengthy registration process2.
Looking ahead, Visa will continue to work in partnership with the transportation sector and towns and cities worldwide to help create smarter cities that foster healthier, happier places to live, work and travel.