This piece was originally published in the July 2017 issue of electroindustry.
Bryan Mulligan, President, Applied Information, Inc.
Mr. Mulligan chairs the NEMA Transportation Management Systems & Associated Control Devices Section.
Among the benefits that connected transportation can deliver in smart cities in the next few years are the potential to
- reduce injuries and deaths on the roadway for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians;
- improve quality of life by reducing traffic and decreasing stress; and
- improve business efficiency for freight and other business users of the roadway.
This evolution will be accomplished with communication technologies such as customized radio systems and 5G cellular communications.
Currently, cell coverage on most roadways facilitates the connection of various roadway entities: pedestrians are connected to approaching vehicles; cyclists are connected to vehicles; vehicles are connected to intersections; emergency vehicles gain right of way safely; wrong-way drivers are alerted; and freight vehicles get green lights.
Marietta, Georgia, is one community that is driving connected transportation as part of its smart city initiative.
The city is outfitting all traffic intersections with technology that enables bi-directional communication with emergency response vehicles. When emergency medical services must reach someone in need of urgent care, the system gives the green light—literally—to emergency responders. It brings all other traffic safely to a halt before the emergency vehicle enters an intersection.
The technology will be rolled out to synchronize with smart phones, which can then alert motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians when, for example, an emergency vehicle approaches.