The Road to The Future: A Quick Look At IoT in Transportation
Transportation is one of the most important pillars supporting modern civilization. Road networks alone still reign as the most efficient way to transport goods and services across the world. But as we move towards a more technologically advanced and efficiency-driven world, these simple ribbons of tarmac and concrete will need a bit of an upgrade – from city intersections to major highway/freeway segments – to keep up with the ever-changing global climate.
The Internet of Things (IoT) digitizes the world around us by unlocking data that would otherwise be impossible to obtain a few years ago. It also bridges the gap in communication between vehicles (V2V – Vehicle-to-Vehicle) and road infrastructure elements (V2X – Vehicle-to-Everything) such as streetlights. Through the help of embedded sensors and intelligent software, IoT can make roads and city streets safer and more efficient, reducing the chances of gridlocks and traffic jams. Streetlights can be programmed to communicate directly with vehicles to better manage the flow of traffic based on real-world data rather than a simple timer. Sensors embedded in the roads can monitor moisture levels and stresses throughout the year and alert maintenance services in advance. They can also collect traffic data and map out hotspots or potential choke points in the road networks.
Beyond just surface-level information, however, IoT can also enable new and innovative designs for road structures like bridges, overpasses, tunnels, and highways. Building Information Modelling (BIM) harnesses the power of real-time and big data to give designers more freedom and flexibility.
Even though we are still quite a ways away from a completely digital and connected world, the possibilities of IoT in something as essential and established as transportation are endless.