As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to connect the world around us, some of the most exciting digital transformations are emerging in the transportation industry. Already, we see cities and states piloting and deploying IoT-enabled technologies that connect transportation infrastructures (mass transit systems, roads and highways, signage and street lights) to vehicles and everything in between. Together, these connections promise to create streamlined, “frictionless” transportation, while increasing safety and sustainability.
The following are five predictions for how IoT will transform transportation 2018:
1. Data will be the new oil.
The typical extent of cities, states and transportation agencies’ involvement with data collection from connected infrastructures and vehicles has been storing and securing it. In 2018, we’ll see entities taking a closer look at the value of this data and finding innovative ways to leverage analytics to create revenue streams, improve quality of life for citizens and offset costs of new technologies. For example, if a department of transportation is deploying roadway sensors that detect fog, it can potentially market the collected data to weather institutions or to navigation systems to provide safer, more efficient travel.
2. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will enhance the passenger experience.
In 2018, will see broader uses of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), also known as Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS). This refers to the move toward mobility solutions that are consumed as a service (such as ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft), as opposed to personally owned modes of transportation. The use of MaaS across different modes of transportation will provide passengers with a seamless travel experience–from bikeshares, to rideshares, to mass transit systems and more.
3. Transportation agencies will uncover new revenue streams to recoup losses from fewer gas vehicles on the road.
The importance of owning a personal vehicle is diminishing, as automated, connected and ridesharing vehicles increase in prevalence, and more people move toward MaaS. This trend, combined with the fact that more electric vehicles are hitting the roadways, means that state and local governments are gathering fewer profits from gas taxes, tolls and other forms of vehicle-related recurring revenue that help maintain roadways and infrastructure. In 2018, governments and their transportation agencies will look to recoup these losses and find new revenue streams by offering new conveniences and monetizing the data collected through connected infrastructures.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will solidify their roles in the connected transportation space.
AI and ML will become much more relevant in the transportation sector in 2018, enabling more automated, predictive analytics, and therefore, better decision-making. AI and ML will increase roads and highways safety and efficiency by making it possible to predict when to deploy emergency response vehicles, tow trucks, snow plows and more. For example, by aggregating and analyzing current and historic weather, microclimate and traffic data, transportation agencies can preemptively deploy salt trucks to roadways that often ice over, just before they begin to freeze. Subsequently, they can predict when fog is likely to appear on hyper-local sections of roadways and warn drivers. These types of predictive decisions, powered by AI and ML, enable transportation to move with fewer disruptions, keep costs down and ensure safer travel.
5. Transportation agencies and governments will expand their partner ecosystems to drive greater adoption of connected technology and create new internal roles.
As more implementers of connected transportation technologies are discovering, it is impossible to pursue a project alone. In 2018, city and state governments will bring in new partners, such as consultants, academia, systems integrators, third-party vendors and more to create teams capable of deploying technologies that impact roadways and citizens’ lives. We’ll also see the emergence of the new role of Chief Innovation Officer in 2018, who will drive the implementation of these IoT strategies.
In the coming year, IoT will undoubtedly fuel the creation of more connected infrastructures within the transportation sector. The way that we travel, whether through personally owned vehicles, mass transit systems, ride shares or MaaS, is on the cusp of change. We’ll keep a close eye on these predicted trends and technologies as we head into 2018.