Traffic congestion is one of the most malignant challenges in today’s cities. According to research
, U.S. drivers lose more than $80 billion annually due to tailbacks, translating to a cost of $1,000 per driver. The U.S. freight sector also suffers tremendous losses, amounting to $70 billion, with more than 90% resulting from congestion in urban areas.
These numbers are grave enough as they are, but when you consider other impact points like pollution, accidents, and delays in emergency response, the cost of traffic congestion is virtually immeasurable.
Fortunately, new-age technologies like the Internet of Things are emerging as the ideal solutions for minimizing the chaos in urban roads. In today’s post, we unravel how global cities can use IoT to combat traffic woes.
Leveraging IoT to Reduce Traffic Congestion
Just as individuals are turning to smart devices for everything, from instant communication to weather and news information, cities are embracing connected devices to acquire data and convert it into insights about factors that influence their residents’ quality of life.
Thanks to the rise of low-price sensors and better wireless connectivity, urban centers now have effective ways to monitor and manage urban issues. Meanwhile, cloud computing advancements have dramatically decreased data storage costs and made the insights collected by IoT solutions readily available to the teams that need them. With IoT and related technologies, cities can finally put an end to long-standing problems like traffic congestion.
Read on for four exciting ways IoT solutions can help solve traffic problems in your city.
1. Adaptive Traffic Lights
Traffic light operators can leverage sensors and data analytics to improve the effectiveness of their systems. Real-time monitoring of city streets makes it possible to detect patterns in traffic flow and the time vehicles spend idling at lights.
Columbus, Ohio’s state capital, is already using data from government vehicles to optimize traffic light timing throughout the city. Government fleets are fitted with IoT-powered devices that collect and transmit relevant data, such as vehicle movement, speed, and idling times. With this information, traffic light operators can accurately modify light signals to coincide with traffic patterns for more effective control.
2. Real-time Traffic Feedback
Using IoT sensors and cameras to monitor roads in real-time can help traffic managers identify incidents, build-ups, and gridlocks and take action as quickly as possible. Real-time traffic reporting can also illustrate where public buses, cabs, and emergency response vehicles are located, enabling operators to navigate around traffic effectively.
More interestingly, IoT solutions can help cities implement profitable public transportation systems. Traffic congestion is a major reason why cities fail to achieve effective public transportation networks. With real-time street monitoring, fleet operators can identify congestion and choose the best route to client destinations. Moreover, when interfaced with end-user applications, these systems can make it easier for city residents to locate cabs and buses, maximizing their use.
3. Pedestrian Tracking
When most people think about traffic congestion, they consider only the vehicles. In truth, pedestrians are a significant cause
of daily gridlocks on city streets. Quite often, drivers have to slow down because people are jaywalking or spilling from the sidewalk. Moreover, statistics show that more than 30%
of all road accidents involve pedestrians. In addition to possible injury and loss of life, pedestrian-related accidents can cause hours-long traffic jams in busy streets.
IoT devices can help keep pedestrians safe and off the road by collecting relevant data, such as the number of vehicles that pass through an intersection at particular times and how many pedestrians cross a street. With this information, city planners can identify patterns in pedestrian traffic and take appropriate measures, be they optimizing traffic light signals or shifting traffic to less populated city sections.
4. Streamlined Parking
According to an IBM study
, 30% of all traffic congestion in urban centers is caused by drivers searching for parking. Furthermore, six out of ten drivers have failed to get a parking space at least once, and more than a quarter get into parking arguments with fellow motorists. In addition to feeding the traffic jam epidemic, the never-ending search for parking is a crucial contributor to climate change through vehicle emissions.
When applied correctly, IoT solutions can streamline parking operations in several intriguing ways. For starters, IoT-based license-plate recognition makes it possible to automatically register authorized vehicles as they get in and out of a parking lot, rather than delaying drivers at checkpoints. IoT can also enable easier parking payments through online solutions, replacing the traditional option of wasting time on payment machines.
Additionally, parking service providers can use parking apps to enable drivers to reserve spaces before they drive to their facilities. When linked with on-site sensors, a parking app can show drivers which slots are accessible at a particular time. By booking in advance, motorists can go straight to a parking spot rather than driving around, hoping to get lucky.
IoT is the Key To Seamless Traffic Flow in Future Cities
Population growth is pushing city infrastructure to the limit, resulting in worse congestion and hazardous conditions. Because few cities can match the rate of road expansion to rising demand, the vast majority must consider investing in intelligent traffic management technologies.
Thankfully, cities can count on the Internet of Things for the solutions they need to adapt. With IoT, municipalities can learn about traffic patterns and plan infrastructure upgrades before they are critically needed. Furthermore, by delivering real-time traffic updates, IoT monitoring systems can help streamline traffic flow and enhance road safety.
As connectivity and cloud computing technologies improve, city administrators and residents can already picture a future where traffic congestion, parking unavailability, and automobile pollution are nonexistent. At IoT2Market, we are excited to be a part of the race toward traffic-free cities. So, whether you are a city administrator, traffic regulator, or a third-party player looking to offer smart traffic management solutions, you can count on IoT2Market
for any IoT product you need to get your project up and running.