Meeting Urban Challenges in Amman with a Smart City Plan
Rapidly expanding cities in the Middle East and North Africa are undergoing critical urban transformation. As such, access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation has become a top concern. In recent years, the city of Amman, Jordan’s Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has been increasingly focused on improving transportation multimodal services and access to all Jordanians—including most specifically women, the elderly and the handicapped—to better service the city’s economic development, mobility and safety goals.
To bring these concerns into action, GAM partnered with CDM Smith to adopt a comprehensive Smart City strategy that harnesses the latest in artificial intelligence and big data innovation to solve the city’s urban planning needs.
Smart cities focus on deploying digitalization and technological innovations (like electronic data collection sensors and cloud-based data integration) to manage infrastructure assets and improve operations in urban areas. These concepts allow cities to track system performance, optimize resources, invest in capacity and proactively plan for future network maintenance decisions. By integrating the operations of every critical infrastructure asset—roads, tunnels, airways, waterways, railways, communication power supply, maintenance and security—these cities can ensure a more sustainable and connected environment for the future.
From the get-go, GAM made it clear that they view the Smart Cities project as a platform to afford Amman’s residents and visitors alike with better access to transportation systems, which is a vital element of economic development in any city. This gave the city the opportunity to make multi-modal mobility decisions in real time and better plan, invest and operate all services within its authority: transportation, water, utilities, parking and many other governance-related programs.
The Smart Amman project is a strong reflection of our work and priorities to make the world's cities greener and more efficient.
Implementation via a Smart City Roadmap
CDM Smith developed a 10-year Smart City Roadmap to serve as a long-term reference to guide Amman’s implementation of Smart City programs, services and infrastructure investments that advance the economy and quality of life. The roadmap included priorities of potential investments and technical requirements, broken into short-term (0–3 years), medium-term (3–5 years) and long-term (5–10 years) priorities. It included several main approach methods:
- Assessing the current transportation, urban growth and infrastructure situation in the Amman region
- Ranking, rating and selecting 10 potential smart city investments to move into piloting stage based on GAM priority areas
- Determining anticipated costs/benefits, analyzing technical risks and assessing availability of investment financing
- Assessing compatibility of each potential investment with Amman’s existing information system infrastructure
- Conducting a 1-day workshop in Amman to present roadmap results
Since the creation of the Smart City Roadmap in 2019, the team has begun developing the design and implementation requirements of the key investment projects identified in the project plan.
Building Architecture for a Traffic Monitoring Platform
Amman faces significant urban traffic challenges including new vehicle registrations expanding at 10% per year, decreasing parking availability and rising numbers of traffic accidents and speeding violations. While transportation improvements in the city have focused on roads and bridges, investment in public transportation has grown in recent years to develop a reliable multi-modal transport system and services.
To define the architecture of a Traffic Monitoring Platform for Amman that will manage and relieve congestion challenges, the project team has focused on:
- Assessing the current transportation system and recommending smart traffic components
- Defining computer and communication network requirements and traffic monitoring improvements
- Determining anticipated costs and benefits, environmental impacts and technical risks
- Preparing a detailed implementation plan, including labor/financing needs and available financing options
Harnessing Data Innovation for Proactive Planning
CDM Smith’s digital solutions experts are helping the city develop an integrated data platform that will allow GAM to manage its programs and services. Better still, the platform will enable Amman to support smart planning and decision-making.
Today’s emerging technologies have given us the ability to design, plan and interact with our infrastructure like never before. By applying the right combination of foundational technologies with digital solutions like artificial intelligence and big data analytics, the team can understand, present and deliver data in a comprehensive manner so the city can confidently make data-driven decisions to ultimately improve the socioeconomic lifestyle of these Jordanian communities.
When complete, GAM’s Smart City program will help Amman achieve a sustainable infrastructure network and improve accessibility for local underserved populations.
“Across the globe, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USDTA) is working with forward-looking municipalities such as Amman to plan their Smart City needs. Through our funding of project preparation activities, USTDA is facilitating data-driven governance to enhance municipal operations, public services and quality of life for tens of millions of people in emerging markets,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s acting director. "The Smart Amman project is a strong reflection of our work and priorities. We are supporting a transformational infrastructure project overseas in a way that supports American exports and jobs. By introducing our global partners to innovative U.S. technologies, we are also addressing the climate crisis by making the world’s cities greener and more efficient,” she said.
"I am proud of CDM Smith’s ability to listen to our client’s needs, understand the situation at hand and deliver effective solutions to enable GAM to address the challenges that come with managing a growing city,” said CDM Smith’s client service leader Ammar Daoud. “I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program and would like to thank the Greater Amman Municipality for their partnership in this transformational change of Amman.”