How smart cities can help disabled people
Explainers

3 Ways Smart Cities Can Help Disabled People

Smart cities and its benefits to disabled people

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Highlights:

  • Smart cities use technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing Services, Machine Learning, and Application Programming Interfaces to make life easier for people.
  • Disabled people will benefit greatly from the advances of smart cities, as many routine tasks will be automated and handled by AI.

What is a Smart City?

A smart city is an ever-changing ecosystem that uses technology to enhance the standard of living for its citizens, businesses, and the surrounding area. It involves the strategic use of technology and AI to meet urban difficulties and build a more livable, sustainable, and efficient urban environment.

Some of the features of a smart city include:

  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT): This is the core of any smart city. It includes data management systems, networking for communications, sensors, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
  • Data Collection and Analysis: Sensors and connected devices embedded throughout the city gather real-time data on diverse factors such as weather, air quality, traffic flow, energy usage, and even citizen mobility.
  • Better Decision Making: Real-time analysis of gathered data empowers local governments, businesses, and even citizens to make well-informed judgments. This could include figuring out areas to improve, allocating resources efficiently, and taking proactive measures to overcome challenges.
  • Sustainable Development: Achieving sustainable development is one of smart cities’ main goals. This entails striking a balance between social progress, environmental preservation, and economic expansion. By minimizing pollution, encouraging effective infrastructure, and optimizing resource use, technology is essential to striking this equilibrium.
  • Engagement of Citizens: Smart cities actively strive to put their citizens first. To promote openness and give citizens more influence over decision-making, we should grant public access to the collected. This encourages cooperation and a sense of collective ownership.
  • Combined Infrastructure: A smart city smoothly combines a variety of systems and technology. This approach creates a unified, networked architecture, facilitating effective communication between various parts.

How Can Smart Cities Help Disabled People?

1. Smart Homes

A smart house is a residence that combines networked appliances and devices with a central management system to enable automation and remote operation. Through improved independence, safety, and general quality of life, this technology can greatly help individuals with disabilities.

This can be beneficial to people with disabilities in many ways.

Mobility Limitations

  • Automated Doors and Lights: Video-capable smart locks and doorbells provide remote access control, doing away with the need for physical effort to answer or unlock doors. Comparably, motion sensors and voice-activated light switches can automatically light paths, enhancing safety and facilitating navigation around the house.
  • Appliance Control: Using voice assistants or smartphones, you can remotely operate smart appliances like washing machines, ovens, and thermostats. For people with restricted mobility, this eliminates the need to physically access controls, simplifying daily tasks.
  • Environmental Control: By programming smart thermostats to change the temperature automatically, you can ensure comfort without having to make manual adjustments. You can also adjust light levels remotely with smart blinds.

Cognitive Limitations

  • Automated Routines: Daily chores can be made simpler with automated routines that can be programmed into smart homes. For instance, you might set your coffee machine to brew automatically, switch on the lights when you wake up, and open the blinds. This lessens the mental strain of having to recall and start everyday tasks.
  • Medication Reminders: People can be set up to get medication reminders via smart speakers or connected pill dispensers, which will help them remember to take their medications on time and not skip any doses.
  • Fall Detection and Emergency Alerts: If a fall is detected, wearable fall detection sensors can notify emergency services or caregivers. Furthermore, voice commands can be used to initiate emergency calls on smart speakers, offering greater safety and peace of mind.

Sensory Limitations

  • Visual Impairments: By using smart doorbells with built-in video cameras, visually challenged people can recognize visitors from a distance by receiving notifications and live feeds on their smartphones. Smart speakers can also announce notifications and reminders, while voice assistants allow users to operate various gadgets.
  • Hearing Impairments: Intelligent doorbells featuring flashing lights can visually notify guests, and intelligent smoke detectors can be configured to emit text message alerts or turn on flashing lights in addition to audio alarms. Customized alerts and notifications can be provided by integrating smart devices with wearable technology.

2. Smart Mobility

It can be quite difficult for people with disabilities to navigate a city. Parking, sidewalks, and public transportation can all provide serious difficulties. But the idea of smart cities, “smart mobility” becomes a possibility, promising a more inclusive and accessible transportation system.

Some of the solutions incorporated by smart cities to promote smart mobility include:

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

MaaS platforms compile data on a range of transportation choices, such as conventional public transportation, electric cars, car-sharing programs, and even autonomous (self-driving) cars.

This gives people the ability to select the most practical and appropriate choice depending on their needs, current traffic circumstances, and accessibility factors. MaaS platforms are transforming urban transportation and have enormous potential to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Locate Accessible Routes

A collaborative pedestrian GPS platform called Streetco was created especially for those with limited mobility. It provides safe and straightforward routes by accounting for impediments such as uneven terrain and roadworks, giving disabled people the confidence to plan their travels with confidence.

Locate a Parking Spot

Getting a parking spot in an urban area is always difficult for people, and it is more severe for people with disabilities. Many smart cities use software like Parquery which is a cloud-based smart parking solution, to display available parking spots to drivers.

This not only lessens the amount of useless seeking that causes traffic congestion, but it also gives crucial information to individuals with disabilities who might need parking places that are closer to their destination.

3. Safe Pedestrian Crossing

People with impairments may have serious difficulties when using traditional crosswalks. Anxiety-inducing factors that impede safe passage include busy intersections, unclear signs, and a lack of tactile clues.

Fortunately, crosswalks in smart cities are becoming inclusive spaces that encourage everyone’s freedom and safety by utilizing technology. Some of the ways smart cities increase pedestrian crossing include:

Improved Signalization

  • Extended Crossing Times: Traffic flow analysis and dynamic crossing light timing are capabilities of smart pedestrian detection systems. This makes it possible for those who use wheelchairs or canes to cross the street safely and without feeling hurried.
  • Audio Cues and Countdown Timers: By adding auditory signals or countdown timers to traffic lights, people who are blind or visually challenged can receive important information. This enables them to calculate how long the crossing will take them and navigate with assurance.

Improved Infrastructure

  • Detectable Warning Surfaces: Smart city initiatives position these textured surfaces at the borders of crosswalks to notify visually impaired pedestrians of the impending traffic by providing tactile clues.
  • Reduced Curb Ramps: Lowering the curb removes a significant barrier to crosswalk access for people with mobility impairments.
  • Dedicated Refuge Islands: At large crossroads, refuge islands can offer slower pedestrians a secure location to wait for the next phase of crossing, easing their minds and boosting their sense of security.

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David Ogbor
David is a tech guru with extensive knowledge in technical articles. He is passionate about writing and presents technical articles in an easy-to-understand format for easy comprehension. He aims to present easy solutions for day-to-day problems encountered while using PC. In his spare time, he likes traveling, playing sports, and singing.