Cities of all sizes are exploring innovative new ways to use technology to optimize public transit routes, reduce vehicle congestion, increase safety and enable faster emergency response. From sensors that detect speeds and can help reroute traffic, to smart mass transit systems that turn buses and trains into Wi-Fi hotspots and provide real-time scheduling updates, technology is enabling innovative new approaches to both public and private transportation. But for these types of connected transportation initiatives to happen, cities, states and local governments will need both new technology architectures as well as new physical infrastructure to help connected vehicles and transit systems share data with each other and the environment around them.
Where to begin
Different cities, states and local municipalities will have different needs and goals, but there are some commonalities among most connected transportation initiatives. Those looking to move forward into the era of connected transportation and mobility may want to begin by focusing on the following areas:
- Safety — Implementing connected transportation initiatives that can help improve safety is top of mind for any government. There are many ways that cities can use data to create a safer environment. For example, by communicating with roadside infrastructure and accessing microclimate weather data, connected vehicles can alert drivers to tell them if there is a patch of fog, ice or other hazard on the road ahead. They can communicate with traffic signals to know if they are about to change and adjust speed accordingly, or even alert the driver to slow down when they are entering a school zone. All these examples can help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on our roadways.
Another popular safety initiative for cities is traffic signal preemption. By connecting traffic signals and emergency response vehicles with the proper sensors and exchanging real-time data, cities can prioritize emergency…