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How technology will reshape transportation in 2022

Illustration: © IoT for all

The market size of intelligent transportation is expected to reach $130 billion by 2024. This reflects a CAGR growth of 20% from 2018 to 2024. Even though such a pace of development can hardly be called explosive, intelligent transportation systems intelligent transportation are gaining momentum around the world. Rapid urbanization, always-connected vehicles, environmental protection initiatives and traffic optimization technologies are the main drivers of new mobility. Residents and city authorities expect the emergence of smart infrastructure, as improved road and passenger safety is a must in the much-desired smart cities.

Intelligent transport consists of intelligent infrastructures capable of providing passengers and drivers with advanced services for better coordinated and more efficient transport networks. These software infrastructures allow new means of transport to evolve through intelligent parking management, improved traffic performance, automated monitoring systems and fuel saving solutions. Some of the examples of intelligent transport systems mentioned below show how digital technologies are reshaping the way people move around in urban areas.

Benefits of Transportation Technology

Smart transport solutions contribute to the capabilities we all expect from future smart city infrastructure, including enhanced security. The integration of digital communication systems into the city’s transport infrastructure results in better passenger information through real-time ticket management, smart parking and congestion avoidance. Technologies such as GPS and IoT sensors enable intelligent traffic monitoring to reduce the risk of accidents; therefore, getting to the necessary destinations becomes faster and safer.

Improved management

Intelligent traffic management systems can redistribute transport flows away from busy areas via push notifications which can provide a comprehensive picture of city traffic to drivers in real time. Chatbots can act as smart ticket sales channels capable of providing automated ticket management.

Efficient performance

Intelligent transport can leave a reduced carbon footprint thanks to fuel-saving solutions capable of dispatching vehicles more rationally when the shortest possible route can be found with machine learning algorithms enabled by data from urban traffic collected via GPS and street sensors.

Reduced Costs

Transport companies, shippers and passengers can save a lot by using intelligent traffic management systems that can significantly reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption, empty kilometers and many other factors causing redundant expenses. Always-connected transport is not constrained by the narrow confines of the maritime transport sector when widely adopted telematics and communication technologies provide intelligent urban transport with extensive data collected from various sources. The more data road users can obtain and process, the lower the cost of travel in smart cities.

How does intelligent transport work?

The most recognizable problem in city traffic is traffic jams that occur due to inappropriate behavior of traffic lights. Conventional traffic lights are not “smart” when operated via timers or buttons pushed by pedestrians. These simple electrical devices cannot read, monitor and react to the actual traffic situation on the road.
In contrast, intelligent traffic monitoring systems can enable traffic signals to interact with vehicles and pedestrians through digital technologies such as Bluetooth, LIDAR and 5G mobile internet. Smart traffic lights can collect data from both vehicle electronics and pedestrian smartphones to generalize the actual traffic situation around any junction at any time. By sending corresponding signals to the smart devices of all road users, smart traffic lights can improve driver and pedestrian response and awareness.

Also, AI-based visual recognition systems can use urban street cameras for traffic prediction, similar to how autopilots work in driverless cars. Such intelligent street traffic control systems can even help prevent traffic jams and collisions that frequently occur at intersections due to human error. Additionally, the smart roads of the future can be equipped with various sensors, beacons and network access points to assess different traffic indicators such as exhaust gas concentrations, noise levels, pedestrian groups, crashes, etc. These data are useful for implementing various ideas on smart cities in the context of new modes of transport.

Examples of transport technology

The following examples show which technologies smart cities should use to embark on innovative digitized infrastructure.

Dublin Smart Initiative

Smart transport solutions and smart lighting have been embraced in Dublin since 2015, when Dublin City Council decided to implement the Mayflower CMS (Central Management System) which integrated various smart city sensors and applications.

The variety of IoT sensors and detectors connected to the Smart City platform provide multiple data streams to keep city management informed of vehicle noise levels on the streets, CO2 emissions, weather conditions, streetlight energy consumption and even groundwater levels (Dublin is vulnerable to flooding).

The platform allows different applications to operate while a single interface provides monitoring of interconnected sensors within the Mayflower network. The system was designed with smart city safety in mind: citizens can return home safely at night, vehicles consume less fuel to reduce pollution levels, urban real estate developers get valuable information about the construction of new schools and hospitals in the most suitable places, etc.

Smart mobility in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of Europe’s leading smart cities, with a supercomputing center that integrates big data collected from smart traffic sensors, self-driving vehicles and connected cars. The city’s intelligent traffic management system is based on 5G technology and the engineering environment provided by the Catalonia Living Lab.

Advanced data analytics is combined with the up-to-date 5G infrastructure that enables various IoT devices (asphalt sensors, traffic light cameras, etc.) to receive and process real-time information about anything happens in streets and crossroads. The emerging smart city infrastructure aims for wide adoption of autonomous vehicles and helps Barcelona achieve unprecedented results in building efficient urban mobility of the future.

Safer urban environments

Safer urban environments, free from time-consuming traffic jams and dangerous concentrations of exhaust gases, can be achieved through digital technologies in the construction of intelligent transport systems. The smart roads of the future emerge from a combination of IoT devices installed in the streets and corresponding data processing software capable of transforming sensor signals into valuable information on improving urban mobility.

City governments should turn their cities into safer places to live: smart traffic lights alone can dramatically improve traffic safety on city roads. IoT sensors, 5G, LIDAR, Bluetooth, cloud computing are just some of the technologies already available enabling the emergence of intelligent transport infrastructures. The future is here, indeed.