In an effort to reduce the hazards of today’s roadways – including traffic, fatalities and pollution –city managers are focused on making the roads smarter, Smart Cities World says.
Information and communication technologies (ICT) are the first step to making roadways safer and smarter. The trigger to implementing ICT is the development of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Smart Cities World says. The magic behind ITS is its ability to interconnect with and talk to roadside equipment, vehicles, travelers, traffic control centers, etc. Smart Cities World says that ITS “provides real-time monitoring and control capabilities to achieve the following:
- Reduce travel time for drivers and lower pollution levels, while also making operations more efficient
- Heightening safety for workers and travelers with closed-circuit TV (CCTV) and always-on communications across the entire highway network
- Gather real-time information to share with drivers, passengers and vehicles around current traffic conditions, potential construction delays, alternative routes, weather conditions and more.”
Keeping the horse before the cart:
While smart roads aren’t far away from happening, city managers should keep in mind that multiple steps need to be taken before they become a reality. Smart Cities World says that multiple applications and data need to work together seamlessly including CCTS, license plate recognition, weather stations, etc., all of which which used to be supported by individual communications networks. “Fortunately, modern communications networks can now support a multitude of services simultaneously, providing substantial operational and cost benefits,” Smart Cities World says.
Additionally, once applications are identified and ready to run, city Smart Cities World suggests that city managers need to prioritize which applications are most important. For example, many highway agencies are utilizing Protocol/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) technology, which can provide the necessary QoS levels for any need: “In practice this means that services on which lives may possibly depend (i.e. emergency and first responders) will get prioritized over more “nice-to-have” applications. This is a particularly important feature when a variety of services are running over the same network simultaneously,” Smart Cities World Says.