4 benefits of smart transportation for drivers
Technology has introduced people to unprecedented changes in the way they conduct their day-to-day activities. This in turn has naturally led to a variety of improvements for municipalities in how they advance the standard of living for their citizens. One important way in which governments improve the everyday lives of their constituents is through smart transportation. The benefits of smart transportation for drivers are evident in many cities around the world. Innovative solutions in this sector are playing a pivotal role in facilitating convenience, improving ease of movement, and aiding driver activity on a daily basis.
What is smart transportation?
Smart transportation refers to the application of modern technology to manage and enhance the way in which we move around towns and cities. This technology has already been part of our lives for many years and can be as simple as:
- Satellite navigation found in many modern cars to help us find our way in new areas
- Traffic signal control systems that allow for more green lights on major routes during rush hour
- Speed cameras positioned around the city to encourage safer driving
However, in recent years, innovation in this area has skyrocketed, as many governments around the world are investing heavily in smart transportation to improve the lives of their citizens. For example, we are witnessing greater deployment of IoT devices and 5G connectivity across cities to enhance our mobility experiences. Municipalities are able to install relatively low-cost IoT sensors around their community that can provide instant feedback and alerts across multiple platforms to keep both city officials and citizens informed of driving or public transit conditions.
The data that we can capture from various smart transportation sources allows cities to always be one step ahead in servicing their citizens’s evolving mobility needs.
4 benefits of smart transportation for drivers:
1. Live updates about road conditions reduces traffic congestion
One of the major challenges in any city is traffic. Reducing congestion is a huge benefit for city hall, the environment and the population. Drivers often spend hours a day in their cars commuting to work, running errands, chauffeuring kids, and taking care of financial matters such as paying bills. These days, many hours of wasted driving time is eliminated by a variety of administrative tasks being able to take place online. In addition to this, smart road technology is making the time we do have to spend on the road more efficient. Digital signage, for example, can alert drivers to alternate routes as a result of congestion, road construction, or accidents. This information improves the flow of traffic and in turn reduces driver frustration.
2. Technology makes the driving experience safer for citizens
Similarly to how smart transportation technology can alert drivers to traffic on certain routes, this tech can also alert drivers to weather-related issues or hazardous conditions that are impacting certain roads. Digital signage can easily be updated to detour drivers from adverse conditions to much safer routes. Tools such as smart roadside equipment can also be deployed at intersections and provide alerts that can help ensure the safety of more vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
3. Increased driver convenience on toll roads
Other traffic-related conveniences have been made possible through IoT technology, such as toll sensors that allow drivers to pay a toll bill online instead of having to stop and physically pay. By using various sensors, cameras, and other cellular technology, this type of smart traffic management system benefits drivers as it results in a more efficient experience and improved traffic flow at the toll booth. This is just one example of a system that can improve existing roadways without the need of expansion, which is attractive to budget-constrained cities.
4. Ease of parking
Parking is another major inconvenience that smart technology is working to mitigate for drivers. Before the advent of smart cities technology, drivers using pay-to-park areas had to either pump a metre full of coins or find a kiosk to be issued a slip to put in their vehicle’s dash. Now, many cities use a smartphone app where you can enter a code along with your licence plate and pay directly through a credit card after choosing the amount of time you need. This saves a driver time while also removing the problem of metre vandalism and theft. Much like a sensor toll, there is also no need to worry about having coinage in the vehicle. The metre enforcement officer can then check your licence plate to ensure it’s connected to the proper time and payment on the app. This also benefits the city financially, as other drivers cannot piggyback onto unused parking time. In addition, if drivers cannot make it back to their car and need more time, they can use the app remotely to add more time to the metre and save themselves the cost of a ticket.
Emerging technology can also provide drivers with intel on available spaces, which is also very convenient. Research indicates that 30% of the traffic in urban areas is generated by drivers and motorists looking for parking spaces. Smart Parking Systems can help to reduce this figure drastically with the use of sensors placed in the pavement of selected parking spaces to indicate whether a parking slot is occupied or vacant. This is a valuable time-saver for drivers who would otherwise be circling aimlessly. Instead, the driver can check an app to find a vacant spot.
Whether they are commuters, leisure travellers, or drivers by trade, smart transportation produces a range of benefits for drivers. Technology is able to facilitate greater levels of convenience for those behind the wheel, in addition to also creating safer environments for all road users.