Smart Transportation

Smart Transportation: Benefits and Real Life Examples

Smart cities cannot fulfill their vision without providing new solutions for transport within the city. “Intelligent transportation” is an umbrella term for initiatives that improve mobility in smart cities, from technology infrastructures like sensors and payment systems to new modes of transport and platforms that help consumers optimally use transport services.

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Intelligent Transportation: A Pillar of any Smart City

Intelligent transportation is one of the main ways smart cities are improving the daily lives of citizens and improving sustainability. It includes tracking high trafficked pedestrian areas, traffic patterns, metro stations and coordinating bus times.  

Intelligent transportation can enhance interoperability, general awareness of situations, and the capacity to share information swiftly. It offers a comprehensive approach to risk management, putting emergency procedures and response capabilities in place, and identifying dangers, including vandalism or violence, fare evasion, and medical emergencies. 

5 Advantages of Technology in Transportation for Smart Cities

Smart city transport technology can help cities function more productively while improving services to businesses and citizens. New technologies have the ability to improve travel across traditional modes of transport, such as cars and buses, with immediate benefits for city dwellers across the globe.
 
1. Enhancing traffic safety
Dangerous weather conditions, heavy traffic, and unsafe speeds can all result in accidents and loss of life. Intelligent transport systems help prevent these events. Real-time weather monitoring systems correlate information on, for example, wind speed, visibility, road conditions, and rainfall, providing traffic controller on information on current driving conditions.
   
2. Limiting infrastructure damage
Heavy vehicles can burden road networks, especially if they are overloaded. Weight-in-motion systems measure the size, type, and weight of vehicles as they travel, and transmit the collected data to a central server.

3. Traffic control  
Intelligent transportation systems permit traffic lights to react to changing traffic patterns, instead of working on a fixed schedule in traffic. Adaptive traffic light systems use smart intersections that can, for example, grant priority to certain traffic, such as public transit and emergency vehicles.

4. Parking management
Illegal parking adds to overcrowded, hazardous city streets. Conventional parking enforcement systems can be ineffective and costly. Smart parking violations systems scan parked vehicles and transmit information to the parking meter to document illegally parked vehicles.  

5. Acquiring traffic data
Electronic traffic counters can record the type and number of vehicles accessing a road or visiting a specific area of a city. They can also measure peak traffic times, journey length and other data.

Smart Transportation Technology Examples

Intelligent Transport System
Intelligent transport systems encompass mobility and traffic management, helping drivers, overseeing the movement of vehicles, and providing improved interfaces to transport systems.

ITS is used in traffic lights, car parks, toll booths, roads, and bridges, to establish an interconnected transport system with direct communication between vehicles and devices. ITS can control traffic so it runs smoothly and public transport runs according to schedule. ITS sees that citizens can retrieve real-time information about traffic and public transportation.  

Smart Parking Sensors
Smart parking can include in-ground smart parking sensors, counting sensors or cameras. These devices are typically embedded into parking spots or stationed nearby and can sense when parking bays are vacant or occupied. This is made possible via real-time data collection. The data is then transferred to a smart parking website or mobile application so the user can see availability and the like.  

Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS)
Advanced traffic management systems guide traffic by combining information from various sources, such as toll booths, traffic lights, and car parks. These sources offer real-time information about traffic conditions. ATMS assists with traffic flow, which works to lower the emission levels of a city. ATMS actively manage traffic and promotes a faster, safer journey for the driver.

To help manage traffic and promote effectivity, ATMS can:

  • Change traffic lights and related signals in real time: Diverting traffic away from busy roads and onto freer routes.
  • Modify rates on toll roads: To promote the use of public transportation by discouraging the use of private vehicles.
  • Relay traffic information: Notifies drivers of available parking spaces, lowering congestion and time spent on the road looking for parking.

 

Smart Cities Transportation Around the World

As smarter travel gains momentum, digitalization is changing passenger mobility, expectations, and experiences throughout the world. Let’s explore the smart transport technology used in Singapore’s and Barcelona’s smart cities.


Smart Transport in Singapore

Singapore’s Smart Nation project is an inspiration to entrepreneurs, urban planners, technologists, and public sector officers around the world. Singapore’s smart transportation projects include:

  • Autonomous vehicle trials: The implementation of self-driving technology to public transport and freight to deal with limitations in land and labor power.  
  • Contactless fare payment: Commuter-centric e-payment systems for public transport use. Commuters enter and exit fare gates using this fare payment method.
  • On-demand shuttle: Commuters book a self-driving shuttle via their smartphone. The shuttle takes commuters from their destination to the train station.
  • Open data and analytics for city transportation: Public data resourced transport planning. The land transport authority (LTA) studies data from fare cards to control bus fleets and track pinpoint commuter hotspots.

Smart Transport in Barcelona

In 2011, Barcelona applied data-driven, smart city technologies to better its services. The city put resources into infrastructure, including a comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) sensor network, sourcing data about, energy, transportation, air quality, over 500 km of fiber optic infrastructure and a Wi-Fi network. Here are a few of Barcelona’s smart transport projects:

  • Orthogonal bus system: The bus network of the city is founded on an orthogonal grid scheme, which encourages intermodality, deliberately placing bus stops to permits connection between tram lines and bus lines, bicycles, metro trains, etc.
  • Bicing shared bicycle system: Provides 6,000 bicycles which can be used for short trips around the city. Bicycle pickup stations are located close to public transportation and parking areas, for convenience.    
  • Smart parking spaces: Barcelona placed wireless sensors beneath roads to lead drivers, via an app, to vacant parking spaces. The app also allows users to pay for parking and supplies parking data for use by different smart city systems.    

 

Smart Transportation Should be Cooperative, Not Competitive

Today, transportation models have evolved from individual modes of travel to diverse collective initiatives. There is now a relationship between all forms of transport, based on price, proximity, and availability. People can choose to travel alone or share a vehicle with others; they can exercise personal preference while considering factors such as the weather.

For example, commuters who typically traveled by public transport are now using new ride-hailing services. In addition, when the weather is poor people generally opt to drive their private cars and store their bicycles away.

In these scenarios, various modes of transport “cannibalize” one another, potentially hurting the overall collaborative functioning of the transportation system. Cannibalism should thus be avoided. The cannibalism phenomenon points to a key issue: mobility is a framework that must be founded on cooperation.

Smart city transportation should not be driven by competition between different modes of transport, each of which aims to dominate the transportation market.  Successful smart transport networks will combine multiple modes of transport, all working in tandem and cooperating to give passengers the best multi-mode mobility solution.