Intelligent transportation systems: the brain of the smart city
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Currently, cities are the places where half of the world's population lives, people that needs to move daily to their workplaces. To ensure that all this people arrive in time and safely to their workplaces, smart transportations systems play a vital role in dense urban environments.
Among the different smart transportation systems we can name intelligent traffic management systems, smart charging for EVs and intelligent public transportation systems, to quote some. All of them are based on the use on sensors and different degrees and types of M2M technology.
According to a study by Pike Research, global investment in smart transportation systems will rise to the amount $13.1 billion between 2011 and 2017. Most of this investment will be placed on intelligent traffic management systems, since it can be applied to most of the cities. These are crucial in urban environments with heavy road traffic, like Rio de Janeiro, whose Operation Center serves as mission control to make decisions based on thousands of data analytics.
These kinds of operation centers are the receiving end of thousands of sensors and cameras spread throughout the cities, a brain in which M2M technologies are vital to present data analytics to the workers of the center. And not just to the workers: for example, Tenessee’s intelligent transportation system allows drivers to check camera images online, thus helping them to plan their trips better.
Another way of adding the “smart” part to transportation is to share data between the different types of mass transit. For instance, in the city of Medellín, in Colombia, information is shared between the bus and the tube systems, allowing the transport authority to react in real time to unexpected shifts in volume of passengers and massification of routes.
Medellín’s case is one example of many in Latin América’s smart cities, which are strongly focused on technological solutions to address the problems generated by the daily movements of a large population.
There are other ways to implement M2M technology in mass transit systems which are less centered in the management of transit and more focused on the immediate customer experience.
For instance, in the Seoul Underground, all the lines use smart payment systems that use RFID and NFC technology for automatic payment, allowing the customers to pay their tickets with their smartphones. A specific model of phone can even be topped up the same way and in the same terminals used for the t-money cards:
NFC technology is also equipped in South Korean taxis and buses, and it’s actively used by about 80.000 people.