Instrumentation and control
As we turn to the transportation targets, this first one highlights the many types of smart devices that help cities monitor and control traffic – roadway sensors, smart streetlights and GPS devices to name just a few.
Implement optimal devices and other instrumentation for all transportation modes. Deploying the right devices in the right places — covering all modes of transport — provides the data smart cities use to analyze traffic in real time. In some cases, optimal instrumentation may mean a smart device for every vehicle, for instance, a GPS tracker for every bus. In other cases it may mean a smart device “every so often.” For example, a roadway sensor placed every so often as needed to provide a picture of traffic on city highways and byways. Gathering and analyzing data from all modes of transportation within a city enables multi-modal optimization.
The data collected from a city’s smart transportation network often impacts more than just transportation operators. A fire crew racing to an apartment blaze will want to know about a blocking accident so they can take an alternate route. Likewise, long waits at a city ferry terminal may be something the communications office needs to know in real time so they can alert the traveling public.
Connect devices with citywide, multi-service communications. It’s not enough to embed smart devices throughout a transportation network. The data the devices gather needs to be channeled through a citywide communications system so it can be analyzed and acted upon.
Cities can rarely afford an out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new overhaul of their transportation systems, much as they might want to. The targets in this section highlight some of the ways cites can make sure they’re making decisions today that will bode well into the future.
Adhere to open standards. Insisting on open standards will increase choice and decrease costs, as products can be mixed and matched from different vendors. Cities may also want to work with standards organizations to ensure their particular needs are addressed.
Use open integration architectures and loosely coupled interfaces. Cities that adopt open integration architectures make it much easier and simpler to share data between applications.
Prioritize the use of legacy investments. As you well know, transportation systems can be a huge investment and most cities can ill-afford to scrap equipment that still has lifetime value. So as cities add intelligence to their transportation network, it makes sense to use existing equipment and systems whenever possible to avoid unnecessary spending and stranding assets.
Enable multi-channel access to an integrated customer transportation account. One goal of a smart transportation system is to encourage people to use it – so making it incredibly convenient will be a big factor. A couple ways smart cities can do that is to enable people to 1) pay for all city transportation services with a single account and 2) enable access to this account through multiple channels – integrated fare cards, cell phones, websites, on-vehicle transponders, etc.
A single account covering multiple modes of transportation and offering multiple channels of access lowers barriers to mass use. Increased usage boosts efficiency and revenue and decreases road congestion. Although it is unlikely a city can integrate all modes of transport at once, it’s a goal worth working toward.