Technology is impacting every area of our lives. However, certain facts of life remain frustratingly difficult to solve. Traffic jams are a good example. Even with all of the technology embedded in our vehicles, real-time speed sensors on our roadways, and the location-aware smartphones we have with us at all times, many of us still struggle with traffic every day.
Unfortunately, the situation only seems to get worse. Wouldn’t it be great if technology could rescue us from traffic? Traffic engineers over all the world are working on intelligent transportation systems that promise to reduce traffic.
Today, intelligent transportation systems are big business. If current transportation market trends continue, the global market for these systems is projected to grow beyond $80 billion by 2027, changing the future of domestic freight forwarding in the process.
The Case for Intelligent Transportation Systems
The term Intelligent Transportation System may refer to any hardware or software that helps drivers and driverless vehicles use the roadways more efficiently. The goal is to make our roads safer, smarter, and more systematic.
Why is there so much focus on intelligent transportation systems? The Economist estimates that traffic jams cost every driver in the U.S. nearly $1000 in lost productivity every year. Furthermore, over 3000 people worldwide die in traffic accidents every day. Engineers hope that intelligent transportation systems and other future freight forwarding technologies can reduce this number.
Intelligent Transportation System Examples
There are many examples of intelligent transportation systems. Here are three promising technologies in use now and on the horizon:
- Adaptive Traffic Management
In this technique, engineers alter traffic signals, metering lights, and speed limits in real time based on current conditions. The idea is to route cars away from the most congested areas. Many smartphone apps are intended to accomplish the task on the single vehicle scale. Engineers hope to implement these technologies for the entire transportation network.
- Predictive Traffic Modeling
Reacting to traffic is useful, but predicting traffic jams and ideally stopping them before they start is much more useful. This may sound like a drain, but it is the ultimate goal of predictive traffic modeling. These software programs combine real-time data from road sensors and smartphones with weather forecast and historic information on traffic patterns. These different sources combined with adaptive traffic management aim to dramatically improve traffic.
- Connected Vehicles
Adaptive traffic management systems can really pay off in congested urban areas—however, deploying these systems nationwide isn’t yet economically viable. In the meantime, connected vehicles can use short-range radio to share information to coordinate cars, trucks, and other vehicles and improve traffic.
For as long as there have been automobiles, traffic has been an issue. Could intelligent transportation systems be the solution? According to the investors and those who study freight forwarding trends, the answer may be yes.