With a population near 21 million people in the greater metropolitan area, Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world. And, according to projections, that population is likely to increase. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live within city limits. In Latin America, that number is expected to be closer to 90 percent. So, for cities like Mexico City, it is essential that they make the move toward a “smart city” status. While Mexico City leads the way in Latin America, urban mobility and sustainability expert Daniel Madariaga hopes to help Mexico City reach the top of the list when it comes to smart cities worldwide.
What is a Smart City?
When it comes to defining a smart city, there is no clear definition. For example, a 2015 report in the Journal of Urban Technology noted more than 20 “smart city” definitions. In short, a smart city is a designation given to cities that widely incorporate information and communication technologies in order to better provide for its citizens. Technological improvements can offer benefits in terms of energy, connectivity, transportation, utilities, healthcare, housing, and more. In addition, smart cities work to reduce overall resource consumption, waste, environmental impact, and overall cost.
With growing populations and the pressure to address overcrowding, all while working to address climate change, many cities are adopting these new technologies and working toward a smart city status.
Traffic and Emissions are Major Obstacles for Mexico City’s Smart City Goal
For major cities, such as Mexico City, large population densities can contribute to extreme traffic congestion and the air pollution that it generates. Unfortunately, when it comes to traffic congestion, the major problem is often parking availability. In busy cities, residents spend a large amount of time and fuel simply driving around looking for a place to park. Many cities battle with available space for parking structures, leaving many residents unable to find a place to park. A 2018 report in the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy reported that approximately 15 percent of a city’s traffic congestion comes from drivers in search of a parking space.
Not only does the lack of parking availability contribute to congested traffic and frustrated drivers, it also greatly contributes to greenhouse gas and air pollution. In Mexico, over 973 million tons of CO2 are generated each year, with the majority coming from car emissions. As traffic congestion increases, so does fuel consumption and emission levels.
In order to help reduce traffic congestion, the inconvenience to city drivers, and the environmental impact of emissions, city developers must look for answers. This is where Daniel Madariaga believes that automated parking structures can make a big difference for Mexico City.
Daniel Madariaga and Automated Parking Structures for a Smart Mexico City
An automated parking structure offers the answers to traffic congestion, limited available parking options, and limited available real estate. Traditional parking structures have levels and levels of parking spots but require drivers to drive around looking for parking spaces. They are limited to the amount of spaces they can have based on the size of land, as well as having enough space for drivers to search and park. As cities expand and populations grow, there is often not enough real estate to create parking structures with enough spaces to accommodate all drivers. Often parking structures must replace green areas within a city as well. Automated parking structures solve all of these problems.
An automated parking structure is a multi-story building, often with 20 or more floors. Technology within the structure allows a driver to bring their car to the parking kiosk where an automated machine then moves the car into designated parking spaces with a lift. The parking structure looks similar to a book shelf where each car is placed into its space. When the driver returns, the machine simply returns the car to the kiosk. Because everything is automated, the need for driving space is eliminated, enabling more parking spaces. These smart technology structures require less real estate while offering more available parking. This allows cities to maximize urban space and makes way for the development of more green spaces throughout the city.
In addition to minimizing traffic congestion and reducing emission levels, Daniel Madariaga Barrilado plans to include green construction within the parking structures. As a leading urban mobility expert and sustainable construction leader, Daniel Madariaga sees the importance of using sustainable materials and green building practices in order to provide additional benefits to the environment of Mexico City.
Automated parking structures in Mexico City are a crucial step in reducing traffic congestion, reducing the fuel costs of drivers, improving air quality, and helping Mexico City reach their smart city goals.