How tech companies can get us out from behind the wheel

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By Rachel Eckert
SLED consultant
immixGroup, an Arrow company
The idea of a driverless car may seem far off but it’s closer than we think because of the technological advances that the internet of things (IoT) brings. IoT touches everything from transportation to farming to home appliances. State and local governments are placing a heavy emphasis on IoT technologies as one way to improve transportation systems, systems that include driverless vehicles.
Driverless vehicles could comprise as much as 20 percent of all vehicles on the road in the next 25 years. Development of the actual vehicles is already underway by many car manufacturers, including Audi and Ford, which announced they could have them ready by 2020. As for the transportation infrastructure, state and local governments are changing the way they approach their transportation systems from a segmented collection of roads, trains and transit to an integrated, multi-modal approach that takes a holistic view enabling operators and users to see all transportation avenues in a connected and integrated interface.
A connected transportation system includes all modes from cars and buses to trains and pedestrians. Arguably the largest piece of this connected system is the cars. Connecting the cars to the transportation system has the potential to provide state and local governments with immense amounts of data, data that can be translated into things like mobile applications that allow users to purchase tickets for buses or see traffic conditions. Pilot programs for “connected vehicles” are underway by several state and local governments including Wyoming, California, New York, Michigan and Florida to name a few. Through the assistance of the private sector, the state and local governments are able to collect, store, analyze and visualize the data they collect during these pilot programs in order to test the feasibility of “connected vehicles”.
Michigan, for example, is also the home of multiple connected vehicle efforts, including work on traffic management and truck platooning that place the connected vehicles and their IoT technology in real-world situations.
Here are three ways the private sector can help state and local governments achieve that holistic view:

  1. Improving roadway efficiency: Utilizing sensors already installed along roadways, state and local governments will be looking to analyze the data they are already collecting to identify strategies for improving the efficiency of their existing roadways. With tight budgets and limited resources, state and local governments don’t have the ability to add new roadways to achieve additional capacity and so they must find ways to work with existing roadway capacity. Data analytics technologies can aid government in determining things like how can lane configurations be used to their advantage, or can one-way streets increase traffic mobility?
  2. Merging transportation systems: Our daily commute has changed over the past several years, with more of us taking more than one way to work; with trips including legs via car, bus and/or train becoming more commonplace. Train systems can’t run independently of bus systems anymore; they need to be integrated to allow a more efficient flow of users. Merging these systems connect us to the system in a holistic manner but also connects the systems to themselves.  States and regions are working collaboratively to build multi-modal transportation systems that allow users to see all available regional transportation options. This type of connection is predicated on data sharing. State and local governments can benefit from a cloud-based infrastructure that allows them to share data seamlessly without the complicated back-end infrastructure.
  3. Integrating connected or autonomous vehicles: There are many collaborative efforts underway to develop and refine connected and autonomous technology for our cars and roadways. These efforts are making great strides and have the potential to make drastic improvements to the system capacity problems many regions are facing. Connected vehicles typically rely on cloud-based software to enable constant communication with the system and other cars. However, this cloud-based approach can leave some of these cars vulnerable and many experts argue there isn’t enough being done to secure the technology. The private sector will need to share its expertise on the proper cybersecurity protocols and technologies. How will sensors in cars and on roadways avoid cyberattacks?

IoT can provide many benefits to the transportation system through things like “connected vehicles” and the state and local government market is ripe with opportunities. Government is eager to incorporate these technologies but need the expertise of the private sector to help them make sense of their data and deploy the technology seamlessly.
To learn more about state and local government opportunities for technology companies, reach out to Market Intelligence team at immixGroup, an Arrow company.

Last modified: May 3, 2019