It will come as no surprise to learn that digital technology is making everything ‘smarter’ – from smartphones and smart fridges to smart homes and even smart cities, connected devices are increasingly giving everyday objects access to a wealth of data that can enhance their functionality and increase their efficiency.
Transportation is no different, with intelligent transportation systems (ITS) increasingly helping to optimise the movement of people and goods.
The cornerstone of intelligent transportation systems is the Internet of Things, although they also leverage a range of other cutting-edge digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data and predictive analytics.
ITS technologies already have a wide range of applications in the transport sector, and their use cases are continuing to grow as the digital technologies underlying ITS continue to advance.
For the logistics industry intelligent transportation systems can help to optimise the fleet management process, tracking and monitoring the movement of goods, calculating the most efficient route for journeys with multiple legs, monitoring traffic in real time in order to calculate the fastest and most fuel efficient route.
ITS can also help reduce downtime and increase engine life for fleet vehicles, by using connected sensors to predict when a vehicle is likely to require maintenance.
Intelligent transportation systems can be used to anticipate and reduce road traffic congestion, by employing predictive algorithms that analyse traffic movement, weather and roadworks data to generate real-time traffic forecasts.
A number of countries are also beginning to use ITS technologies to implement dynamic speed limits, which can help manage the flow of traffic by increasing the speed limit during optimal road conditions and reducing it during worsening conditions. While dynamic speed limits are currently confined to motorways, as ITS adoption grows it is likely they will eventually be implemented for other road types too.
ITS can also help to clear congestion caused by road traffic accidents, which are a common cause of traffic jams, by using machine learning to automatically classify the severity of an accident, enabling road management operators to dramatically reduce their response times and helping them to tackle the incident and clear the road more quickly.
Globally more than 1.25 million people are killed each year in road traffic accidents, and those accidents are currently the leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds.
While pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are the most at risk, intelligent transportation systems in cars, delivery vehicles and freight vehicles can help prevent some of those accidents from occurring at all – by, for instance, using sensors to help completely eliminate blind spots; alerting drivers to icy road conditions or dangerous corners; or using predictive algorithms to predict potential vehicle collisions at intersections or on merging lanes before they actually happen.
Sensors that detect whether or not the driver and their passengers are wearing their seatbelts can also help to mitigate the risk of injury if a road traffic accident does happen, while crash sensors help to deploy airbags if and when the collision occurs.
From an environmental perspective, motorists waste a staggering amount of diesel and petrol each year due to choosing fuel inefficient routes, taking a wrong turn, getting caught in stop-and-start congestion, getting stuck in traffic jams, and so on.
In fact, in the US alone drivers waste approximately 3.9 billion gallons of motor fuel each year, adding millions of metric tons of completely unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
ITS technologies can help to dramatically reduce this fuel waste, which will in turn be of huge benefit to the environment, by analysing real-time road and traffic data and using predictive analytics to calculate the most fuel efficient routes.
Beyond road transport, ITS technologies are also hugely important when it comes to public transportation networks, including buses, trains, trams and ferries.
From reducing the time it takes passengers to board a bus by automating the ticketing process via mobile devices or smart cards, to improving safety on railways by enabling trains to be aware of the position and speed of other trains, to making ferry crossings safer and smoother by analysing real-time weather data and deploying sensors to detect the location of boats and other obstacles, intelligent transportation systems are helping to make public transport smarter and safer.
The optimal leadership team
Intelligent transportation systems are playing a critical role in optimising every aspect of the transportation sector, but in order to realise the full benefit of ITS you will need the right technology leaders on your leadership team. That’s where we come in.
Miramar Executive Search Consultants are globally reaching and have an impressive track record of success with high profile clients. With a global reach in the transportation and logistics industries, our consultants and researchers are perfectly placed to broaden your search. Contact Miramar today – we have offices in the UK, the USA and Asia.