Smart cities need smart transport services. Proper movement of people, goods and services accelerate the growth and development of a region. A well planned and efficiently managed transport network is a must for any society.
A city’s transport system acts as a lifeline for the smooth functioning of the city. In the absence of right commuting channels, life comes to a halt for people residing in urban areas. Proper means and management of transport channels defines the quality of life in modern hi-tech cities.
Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) can revolutionize the way people commute in metros and smart cities. ITS offer novel approach in providing different transportation modes, advanced infrastructure, traffic and mobility management solutions. It uses number of electronics, wireless and communication technologies to provide consumers an access to a smarter, safer, and faster way to travelling.
Market reports estimate an annual growth rate of 25.1% in smart transportation segment for coming five years. From USD 72.05 Billion in 2016 it is expected to reach USD 220.76 Billion by 2021. The major proponents of this growth are smart cities, need for public security and safety and government’s initiatives to improve present day transportation infrastructure.
Important Features of Intelligent Transportation Network
Public Transportation Management: The service is aimed towards the encouragement of public transport use amongst people. The goal can be achieved by effective automation, planning and management of public transportation with the help of real time data analysis of different routes. The information helps in knowing vehicle schedules and offering quick response to operators and dispatchers during the deviation, delay or other emergency scenarios. It also helps in ensuring the security of people engaged in public transit systems.
Route Information: If travelers have prior information about the route best suited for their journey their travel becomes easy and comfortable, especially for a new zone. Real time information about traffic conditions, transit systems, sharp turns, stop signs, road conditions, man oeuvres and other instructions about the routes can ease travel. The driver can access all these information through their computer, smartphones or telephone network before proceeding their journey. They can also check about the travel time duration, traffic flow condition, alternate routes, on road construction activity, transit routes, toll fares, parking facilities through variable message signs (VMS), communication and wireless devices.
Safety and Vehicle Control: The service ensures safety assistance to vehicle operators through information regarding vigilance and vehicle control. Drivers can assess their driving capabilities, road conditions, and vehicle performance. They can be warned about any front or rear end collisions when they are changing lanes or turning at intersections by tracking position of other vehicles. Also advanced sensors in vehicles can assist drivers during poor visibility period due to bad weather or night vision by capturing images of surrounding environment. The goal is to reduce accident or crash situation by informing drivers as well as emergency operators of the imminent collisions.
Electronic Timetable: These charts can assist travelers in knowing the arrival and departure time, delays, transfers and connections at transit or bus stations. The information help travelers in making informed decisions or any last minute readjustments they wish to make in their trip.
Electronic Payment System and Single Fare Card: With the integration of transportation system, consumers don’t have to waste time in buying tickets for different modes of transport. They can make one single electronic payment and obtain one fare card for buses, metros, trains etc. The card can be recharged online, at retail outlets or transit stations.
Important Technologies in Intelligent Transportation System
Advanced Tracking System: Nowadays majority number of vehicles are fitted with in-vehicles GPS. The GPS system offers a two way communication helping traffic professionals to locate vehicles, check speeding vehicles, and provide emergency services. Smartphones, mobile apps, Google maps have become useful tools in tracking them, knowing road quality, traffic density and locating different routes and places.
Advanced Sensing Technologies: These include intelligent sensors both in vehicles and road infrastructure. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFI) and intelligent beacon sensing technologies are ensuring safety of drivers in cities world over. Road reflectors, inductive loops are in built with road, helping in traffic control and safe driving especially during night. They can also inform about the vehicle density in a particular time period and can identify vehicles at both slow as well as high speed.
Advanced Video Vehicle Detection: Video cameras or CCTV surveillance can solve many problems for traffic managers. Video footage of strategic places and prime junctions can help operators in observing traffic flow, identifying any emergency situation or road congestion. In built vehicle sensors, automatic number plate detection helps in keeping a check on vehicles for security purpose.
Advanced Traffic Light System: Nowadays Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is used in traffic lights system. The technology offers correct algorithm and database even when applied to multiple lanes, road junctions and vehicles. These lights can adjust themselves during critical and peak hour traffic situations without any manual presence.
Emergency E-Call Vehicle Service: During emergency situation like accident or any mishap, in-vehicle sensors can establish a contact with the nearby emergency center. The e-call will help driver to connect with the trained operator and also transmit important information directly to the center such as time, location, direction of vehicle and vehicle identification. The e-call service has been made mandatory across Europe in all new approved vehicles.
Benefits of Intelligent Transportation System
Minimize Pollution: the aim of ITS is to promote use of public transport in general masses. By providing single point services and giving access to real time information about transport schedule, delays consumers will be drawn towards public transport reducing private car usage thereby lowering traffic congestion and lowering pollution levels. Also people will be motivated towards the use of clean fuel, bike sharing and carpooling habits.
Security and Safety: the real time data analysis through GPS, CCTV, wireless and internet connectivity, advanced sensing technologies can help provide emergency and critical care services to drivers and travelers when required. Surveillance of public transportation can help city managers in alerting against terror elements and avoiding mishaps or terror attacks.
Market for Mobile Apps: the new age transportation is very much depended on smartphone and mobile apps for route guides, weather forecasts, parking spots, transit points, arrival and departure details etc. This will give boost to smartphone app market.
Smart Parking Solutions: parking woes affect every city dweller. Smart parking solutions with the help of right infrastructure, internet connectivity, security cameras can minimize them to a great deal. Many urban centers now have multi-layer parking system. Also there are apps which guide users about the free parking space available nearby.
While developed nations like United States, Europe, and Dubai have been investing heavily in ITS network for over a decade now. It is still a challenge for developing nations. The major problems faced by these countries in adoption of ITS network is lack of funding, lack of IT infrastructure, lack of formal transportation system, unplanned cities, illiteracy, poor public infrastructure etc. To emulate west, a lot has to be done in this arena from huge infrastructure funding to change in habits of general population and government’s initiative for better transportation infrastructure for present and future generation.