It may sound hard to believe, but in just a few decades our cities will increase in population by 50%. If you thought your city center was crowded now, just wait! The population densities that the UN has forecasted to occur by 2050 should make us stop and think: With all those people, and cars, how will we be able to maneuver from place to place? How will we, or our children, be able to get to a school across town, or to a museum downtown?
The goal of many city planners around the world is to use innovative technologies, including cloud-based IoT (Internet of Things) devices, to evolve our metro areas into “Smart Cities” in which space — and time — are utilized with extreme efficiency. Cities will use these smart solutions to improve the urban experience for its many inhabitants. Transportation systems, perhaps the most essential element in any livable urban space, will be the leading beneficiary of this technological evolution.
Let’s take a closer look at the promise of smart cities and IoT. But, before I go any further, let’s get some basics defined first.
A smart city uses the IoT and ICT (information and communication technology) to enhance infrastructure and services in order to streamline the daily operations of the city. Cities can implement smart solutions using IoT connected devices and sensors to collect data, and use such data to improve decision making.
A smart city can be characterized by:
The Internet of Things is crucial for the smart capabilities of a city. From internet-connected buildings and vehicles to IoT-based fleet management, these technologies allow city officials to both have a comprehensive view of the state of the city and remotely manage its operations. Policymakers can use the insights gained from the data from the IoT devices to implement smart solutions that benefit the city.
Now that we know what a smart city is, let’s delve deeper into how smart transportation technology contributes to it.
Here is a list of just a few examples of how the Internet of Things can transform transportation within cities:
The IoT helps control traffic more efficiently. IoT-based smart traffic lights and sensors can automatically sense high volumes of traffic, and adjust the duration of the traffic lights accordingly to ease congestion.
Cities can use IoT sensors to track which parking spots throughout the city are left unoccupied. This data can then be used to track congested and empty areas, and ultimately optimize parking for prime efficiency.
IoT technology can improve public transportation by providing an accurate ETA for trains and buses, as well as using traffic data to optimize the bus transportation routes.
Cities can embed smart sensors in their bridges and roads that monitor their condition, which enables them to promptly repair any damage or wear and tear.
All in all, these applications of IoT within transportation provide the smart city dwellers with a more efficient, comfortable traveling experience within their city. They will spend less time sitting in traffic, and get to their destinations faster.
IoT devices are always running and recording, and as a result, produce vast amounts of data. This huge amount of data needs to be stored somewhere, and these devices themselves do not have the capacity for it. The cloud has the capacity for it though: its unlimited storage and powerful performance capacity make it the ideal match for IoT device storage. The cloud enables cities to store and compute the data from their IoT devices.
To read more about IoT’s relationship with the cloud, read our blog post on the topic here.
Cloud connectivity is crucial for smart cities. It’s necessary for all of the various components of the smart city to be in communication with each other to provide a seamless experience for the city residents. This is uniquely possible with cloud computing capabilities.
As a distributed cloud provider, Ridge is uniquely capable of supporting the smart city. Its highly localized platform is designed to support massively distributed workloads, such as IoT technologies, more than a large public cloud provider. With Ridge cloud’s hyper-low latency and endless scalability, cities can fully upgrade to a smart city equipped with IoT devices with full confidence.
To read more about IoT and the smart city, read our blog post about IoT and Smart Cities.