We all hate getting caught in urban traffic jams; especially those with semi-trailer trucks everywhere. A Computer Aided Lean Management (CALM) approach to traffic congestion in the cities of the world creates win-win solutions to such complex problems. My favorite is to lower the volume of vehicles on the roads by voluntarily moving people to electric cars, subways, buses, and rail systems by making them faster, more energy efficient, cheaper, and most importantly, more reliable than driving to work. If the remaining cars, taxi’s and delivery trucks on the roads use electric power trains, we also lower emissions of particulates and CO2. That improves both our chances of stopping global climate change and our health (tuberculosis and asthma).
Converting our cities to electric transportation systems requires conversion from gasoline and diesel service stations to electric recharge sites and e-parking garages;
And that requires that the electric grid must deliver electricity ever more efficiently to cities in environmentally and carbon neutral ways;
And that requires massive, renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar farms and new transmission lines;
And that requires integration with distributed generation and storage facilities, such as photovoltaics on every rooftop and Universal Power Supply (UPS) type batteries in every garage;
And that requires integration of the electric grid with other vital infrastructures like transportation, water and sewage (electric pumps are critical to these systems);
And that requires cities to modernize their entire infrastructure system in order to integrate them into a smart system-of-systems with enough controls, monitors, intelligence, and above all security, so that the power never goes out;
And that requires collaboration among the great cities of the world to make such an intelligent, efficient, clean, green, affordable infrastructure management system available to all inhabitants, whether in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, , Dallas, Houston, or Shanghi, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Mumbai, Moscow, Cairo, Jerusalem, Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid, Rio, San Paulo, Caracas, Lima, Buenos Aires, or your city.
The “good” news from the current global economic meltdown, if you can call it such, is that for the first time since after World War II, we might have the focus required for an urban infrastructure makeover that is global in scale and scope. In order to get it right, CALM tools and techniques must be used for such major surgery to the energy systems of the world.
Roger Anderson is with the Columbia Center for Computational Learning Systems, SEAS