Vicente Torres
Director General
PTV Group

Mobility Revolution the New Industrial Revolution

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 11:37


There is a common misconception that Mexico’s Smart City infrastructure is years behind that of developed countries. Industrialized countries have been working on their city infrastructure for 50-100 years and have invested trillions of dollars in creating efficient networks. Many believe this is a good basis to create a Smart City and that developing countries will take many years to catch up.

Not so, says Vicente Torres, Director General of Smart Mobility software company PTV Group América Latina. In fact, he believes Mexico and other Latin American countries actually have the advantage in this regard. “I like to use the example of the telecommunications boom in Africa where there were no landlines and the investment was never made to build the network,” he says. “Instead, the country did a leapfrog jump right into cell phone technology simply by installing some towers.” He says that smart mobility in Latin America will work on the same premise. “If there is something that is moving, PTV Group has a way to optimize that process and make it work better.”

For almost 40 years, the company has been developing modeling, simulation and optimization software and Torres predicts a very aggressive growth trajectory over the next few years. “In our first year, we expected losses but had earnings,” he says. “Over the next few years, we grew at steady rates and have ambitious projections for those to come."

Torres is constantly striving for bigger and better things. “Five years ago, running a substantial model could take between two and 24 hours depending on its complexity,” he says. “Now, the complexity of technology and power competition allows us to run models in real time.” PTV’s technology is capable of measuring information about how the city is running, including highways, subways and even bike lanes. It then extrapolates this information to form a complete overview of the city that can predict patterns five, 10 or 60 minutes into the future.

“This technology is groundbreaking in terms of traffic management,” Torres says. “In the past, the authorities worked with cameras and had to wait until a problem like a traffic jam happened before they were able to react. Authorities can now be proactive rather than reactive.”

The authorities, Torres says, have been extremely receptive to the software. PTV is working with various government bodies, both at the state and federal levels, to help them plan the next infrastructure investments they need to make. For SCT and the General Directorate of Highway Development, PTV helped to create a model of the entire country and the ministry can now measure vehicle volume on the highway network, meaning it can predict strategic projects for the next NIP. Similarly, with PTV technology, the Mexican Transport Institute can model and research Mexico’s freight patterns, meaning it can accurately measure the impact of NAFTA.

At a local level, PTV has been working with SEMOVI, SSP and SEDEMA within Mexico City for the last four years. “Initially, SEMOVI began to run microsimulations to better understand the impact of some of its projects,” says Torres. As SEMOVI began to show this technology to the corresponding authorities, others began to request modeling software such as SSP. PTV was also able to create a model for SEDEMA with integrated emissions factors for Mexico City’s cars.

PTV believes that mobility is moving away from focusing solely on cars and more toward mobility systems. It strives to be at the forefront of that movement as the operating system of choice for cities.This potential was also identified by Porsche Automobil Holding SE (Porsche SE), a company that acquired PTV Group in July 2017 in a €300 million deal. “This was a strategic long-term investment because Porsche SE understands the future of mobility,” says Torres.

He believes this acquisition will only have a positive impact on PTV’s operations in Mexico, a country that accounts for roughly 45 percent of all the company’s Latin American income. Having operated in Mexico for five years, Torres predicts the fast-growing market will be one of the most interesting in the world for Smart City technology.