How to make a city more liveable [Podcast]

Yunex Traffic is a global leader in the digitalization of traffic management and was recently recognized in the Top 100 New Brands 2022 report from Clarivate™. In our recent podcast episode, the future of sustainable mobility, we spoke with Ingrid Gogl, the vice president of marketing and communications at Yunex Traffic. Ingrid discussed the goals and ambitions of the company, making it clear how and why they have quickly become a leader in their field.

Recent data from the automotive industry shows that road vehicles account for a significant majority (74.5%) of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions and 15% of total CO2 emissions.

Significantly reducing transport-related carbon emissions is a global challenge, and countries worldwide are adopting new policies to reduce the reliance on cars and ensure the rapid adoption of low-emissions vehicles within their bustling cities. Implementing these policies and more can support more vibrant, resilient and prosperous places to live and work.

Central to this effort is Yunex Travel, headquartered in Munich, Germany.

Yunex Traffic supports customers around the world by developing efficient infrastructure and transport systems for more environmentally friendly, livable cities.

In our recent podcast episode, The future of sustainable mobility, we spoke with Ingrid Gogl, the vice president of marketing and communications at Yunex Traffic.

Ingrid shares how the company moved from under the Siemens umbrella, redefining what the company wanted to stand for and be known for. Listen to our podcast to learn more about their journey and how they are winning back the streets for the people, their neighborhoods, and for a greener, more sustainable environment.




Podcast transcript:

The following portion of our podcast transcript has been edited for clarity.

Neville Hobson [Host]: I read recently that your Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Markus Schlitt, is convinced that only green and safe cities are liveable in the long term. How will this vision be realized, Ingrid? If we are talking about a mobility revolution to enable this, what does that look like?

Ingrid: Well, our whole portfolio is about reaching these liveable cities, where traffic is orchestrated around the needs of those who live in the city, the people. There is the saying, that our CEO and I love to say, which is: “the cars stole the streets from us.” If we look at how cities are built, many cities are built around the needs of cars.

Now is the time to win back the streets and orchestrate traffic around everyone’s needs: cars, public transport, bicyclists, pedestrians and so on. This is where we come in because it is about rethinking mobility so that everyone wins; the people, the communities and the environment.

Neville: That is a huge topic that governments in particular talk about: reorganizing the urban landscape away from combustion engines, cars and other vehicles towards pedestrians and cyclists. Is that at the heart of what you are talking about? What examples can you tell us of where that is already in place?

Ingrid: Absolutely. Our traffic management systems ensure that diverse types of transport can be used in the way that best meets the needs of a particular situation, so public transport at one time, and then individual means of transport such as cars, bicycles, et cetera. What we do is help the cities orchestrate the traffic so that traffic light circuits and dynamic traffic signs ensure traffic flow, a green wave, and safe road crossing. This avoids not only congestion, but also accidents.

For example, we have a big project in the city of Wiesbaden called DGV (Digitalization of traffic in Wiesbaden). That is a very comprehensive reorchestration of the whole traffic system in the city, with dynamic signs that adapt to traffic at a specific time. They can also automatically monitor the traffic lights and adapt- give a green wave or prioritize public transport over cars and so on, and so forth.

We also have the clean air zones in London and Birmingham in the U.K. Also, topics like congestion charging are a lever for this. It is about the comprehensive approach to traffic management.

Neville: You mentioned prioritizing traffic flows. That would involve things like certain vehicles being able to influence the traffic lights by their presence. So, changing the traffic lights according to the volume and the congestion that is building up, or not, as a case might be. Is that how that would work?

Ingrid: Exactly. It works in diverse ways. Traffic prioritization, for example, for public transportation. Here, the bus can communicate with the traffic lights via an onboard unit, and can tell the traffic light, “Hey, I am a bus. Prioritize me because I am more environmentally friendly because I can carry a hundred people.” The traffic light then goes, “Okay, hi, bus, here you go.”

The more holistic view is giving the city all the data about the traffic in the whole city, including congestion and emission levels. Then they can see, “Oh, in this area, our emission levels are going up. Let us redirect traffic somewhere else in the city,” or, “Let’s use our dynamic signs to better distribute the traffic.” There are diverse ways to achieve this.

Neville: Got it. You have given us a good sense of where this is going and indeed what is already in place. I can imagine that to get to the picture you outlined, where everything is holistically done and it is all integrated, I would imagine, A) it is going to take a while and, B) it is going to be quite an investment for governments and cities to do this. Would that be the case?

Ingrid: It is quite a momentous change, but we need to start somewhere. There are also certain small measures that can help, like upgrading your existing traffic lights to one-watt LED technology. That can save a lot of energy. It is a slight change that has a significant impact, so if you start with many slight changes, then you can start connecting the dots.

Neville: Is there one thing about all this that really stands out to you that you could share with us? What is it that is the ‘wow’ element to all this?

Ingrid: What stands out to me is the holistic approach to this. Also, seeing the individual players in this big ecosystem that we call traffic, like the good old traffic light. We all know it. For many people, the traffic light is just a dumb traffic light that goes red, yellow and green. A traffic light is so much more. It can be smart, and it can adapt to our individual needs. For me, as a cyclist or as a pedestrian, it can recognize me. It is not a dumb piece of infrastructure. It is a powerful tool that is part of a larger orchestra.

You can access the full podcast here or read our Top 100 New Brands 2022 report for more.