The Internet of Things and Transportation

Please check out our latest post on the Internet of Things and transportation here.

With each passing year, technology continues to advance at an exponential rate. What was new and exciting only a few years back is now dated. The chart below shows the evolution of technology. Major inventions such as the printing press, telescope and telephone were centuries apart.

However, in less than one century, so many technological inventions were born including the computer, Windows, the Internet, cell phones, Google, Facebook, and many more. A lot of these newest inventions and advances are based on or utilize the Internet.


The Internet of Things

Technology is now closely tied with the Internet and this is due to the Internet of Things. This term refers to how pervasive the Internet’s influence is and how objects connect with each other and with people using wireless and wired internet connectivity. It enables communication to flow between and to be used by both people and objects.


The Internet of Things and Transportation

The Internet of Things spans across many industries and transportation is no exception. With increased communication and data collection abilities such as GPS, cloud computing, machine-to-machine (M2M), and cell phone triangulation/mobile devices, more data is available.

This data provides information on travel time, origin destination, vehicle volumes, and traffic movements. It can be applied to adaptive signal control, V2V/V2I projects, and engineering and construction projects that rely on traffic data collection.

GPS systems are great at helping us get to where we need to go. They utilize satellite navigation systems to direct you, but this can also be used to collect traffic data.


TomTom, a well known GPS manufacturer, started a Congestion Index in 2007 where they captured anonymous travel time information, particularly in urban areas. The goal is to provide travel time information and real-life driving patterns to the general public, industry and policy makers showing congestion levels across the globe.

With the increased adoption of smart phones and devices, travel time, speed data and origin destination information can be more readily available as well. Using cell phone triangulation, you can collect traffic flow information through the transmission of cell phone signal information to the mobile phone network.

Google_MapsA similar example of this is Google Maps Traffic View which utilizes crowd sourcing from smart devices.  Google recently purchased Waze for $1B, which is a free app for traffic and navigation. It utilizes crowd sourcing to notify other users of traffic conditions in order to find the best routes and save time and gas.

Cloud computing or using “the cloud” has been a popular topic in the IT space for many years. It provides the ability to share computer resources rather than having local servers handle applications. This allows people to have access to more robust applications and programs without any installation or need for new version updates. Miovision’s Platform is in the cloud and provides customers with access to video, data and reports from any location as well as the ability to share this data with any desired stakeholders (i.e. clients/customers, other departments or office locations).

Numerous ITS solutions are also utilizing V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) to transmit and use traffic data. This is where vehicles and roadside units communicate through nodes in order to provide each other with information, such as safety warnings and traffic information. The information is then applied to solutions that can be utilized by road users such as red light warnings, automatic tolling, and routing and navigation information.

Machine-to-machine (M2M) has been gaining momentum in the transportation industry in the past few years. M2M allows wired and wireless systems to communicate with other like devices. This is currently being utilized for connected vehicles by providing added features such as controlling heat settings or charge settings for hybrid/electric cars. Miovision’s Spectrum Adaptive Signal Control solution also uses M2M technology (along with the cloud) in order to optimize traffic in real-time based on current demand.

The Internet of Things is greatly shaping how we access information and the different solutions it can be applied to. In the past few years, many new applications and ITS solutions are utilizing these technologies. Adoption is currently low (i.e. 6-10% for the connected car), but as new research and technologies continue to develop and expand rapidly, the impacts and opportunities will be greater. This will significantly change many industries including transportation.

Kurtis McBride, CEO of Miovision, recently spoke at CITE, TexITE, ITS Canada and ITE Western District Annual Meeting on how technology is changing the transportation industry, specifically traffic control. If you’d like to view this presentation from ITS Canada, click here.