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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Transportation and energy upgrades are expected to be the big drivers of smart city spending over the next decade.

Why it matters: Global spending on smart city projects will reach nearly $124 billion this year, an 18% increase over 2019, according to IDC, a market research firm.

The big picture: Singapore, Tokyo, New York and London are expected to be the biggest spenders (~$1 billion each) on smart city projects this year.

  • While about a third of global investment has come from the biggest cities, IDC expects small and mid-sized cities to continue to spend on smaller-scale initiatives (~$1 million or less).

Transportation: Research firm Kantar predicts that greener modes of transportation will represent nearly half of all trips taken in cities in 2030. Globally, cycling will increase by 18%, walking by 15% and public transit use will increase by 6%.

  • Micromobility options are currently getting the most attention as e-scooters and e-bikes show up on sidewalks. This month, Lime committed to using 100% emission-free vehicles by 2030.
  • Electric vehicles are expected to make up half of new car sales by 2040, per BloombergNEF, and McKinsey predicts that about $50 billion in investment in charging stations will be needed through 2030, Bloomberg reports.

Energy: Utilities are central to making cities more efficient — a key component of what makes a city "smart."

Be smart: Intelligent grids and transportation systems need ubiquitous connectivity to respond to real-time demand and monitor traffic flows.

  • Right now, 4G connectivity can power the technologies being piloted, but 5G networks will boost the capacity and efficiency of smart city projects as more come online.
  • The 5G market is expected to be around $700 billion by 2030, per market research firm IDTechEx, powered by mobile services, fixed wireless services and Internet of Things applications.

What to watch: Cities hosting Olympic games — such as Tokyo this year and Los Angeles in 2028 — are investing heavily in infrastructure to accommodate the deluge of visitors, and will be see as test-beds for what works.

Go deeper:

  • Cities transportation ideas remain too small to deliver clear results (Axios)
  • 10 cities are predicted to be megacities by 2030 (World Economic Forum)

Go deeper

Jan 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

What Biden's EV push could mean for jobs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's swift effort to re-establish stricter fuel efficiency mandates, along with his broader push toward vehicle electrification, is as much about creating new jobs as it is protecting the environment.

Why it matters: The U.S. lags far behind the rest of the world in electric vehicle adoption. Catching up will require big investments in EV production — including battery cell manufacturing and mining of raw materials — to avoid dependence on imports and foreign supply chains.

Jan 22, 2021 - Health

Stabenow: U.S. must put pandemic relief before EV manufacturing

Photo: Axios screenshot

The U.S. needs to focus on helping people get through the coronavirus pandemic before turning to manufacturing, including electric vehicles, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said on Friday at an Axios virtual event.

What she's saying: "We've got to deal with getting our arms around the vaccine, around the pandemic with the vaccines, helping people survive. And ... then robustly reopen the economy. And certainly, clean energy, jobs, is a big part of that."

DOJ announces sweeping probe into Minneapolis policing practices

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced that the Justice Department will open a sweeping investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a "pattern or practice" of discriminatory policing practices.

Why it matters: The federal probe, which will also examine MPD's handling of misconduct allegations against officers, could result in significant changes to policing in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

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