This piece was originally published in the May/June 2019 issue of electroindustry.

From planes to trains to automobiles, everything about how we move from point A to point B is about to change. We are on the cusp of a revolution in transportation moving us toward a future that is increasingly connected, electrified, shared, and—soon—autonomous.

Several new technologies and technology applications are widespread across the country such as initial ride-hailing and car-sharing activated by smartphone applications; electrified transportation, including vehicles, ferries, bicycles, and scooters; connected vehicles (AVs); and on the horizon, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or “drones.”

In addition, advanced communication networks are facilitating connected systems and the use of deep data and analytics to support new transportation technologies. Embodied within the Internet of Things, both people and items can be connected through networks that potentially will influence many aspects of our daily driving, such as route planning, real time route modification, accident prevention, and even vehicle safety features that would prevent a fatigued or intoxicated driver from operation ing a vehicle.

A key component in the future transportation systems ecosystem will be infrastructure. Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) is a communication model that allows vehicles to share information with the components that support a highway system and NEMA Members Members’ products represent the “I” in V2I. Whether it is traffic management controllers and assemblies, signaling elements, school beacons, or outdoor and roadway lighting systems, effective communication with the vehicle is imperative in order to create a safer, more efficient transportation system.

The transportation sector today represents the single largest user of non-electrical energy (accounting for 25% of total U.S. energy use), and electric alternatives are commercially available and increasingly affordable. This represents an opportunity for NEMA and Member companies to accelerate their efforts in the electrification of the transportation industry. Additional areas that NEMA could grow into include seaports, airports, and rail terminals and crossings.

The time is ripe for NEMA manufacturers to capitalize on these opportunities as we move forward on this transportation transformation. ei

Mark J. Gliebe
Chairman, NEMA Board of Governors

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