Trends in Transportation for 2013

On Wednesday January 23, 2012, we hosted a webinar on the top trends in transportation for 2013. This webinar focused on identifying the challenges in 2012, changes within the industry over the past few years, the goals and most talked about topics for 2013.

The webinar content was gathered from a number of sources including government agencies, engineering firms, our executive team as well as online research and trade publications. We had a great turnout for the webinar.

Focus for 2013

In all of the research conducted, below are the main points of focus for government agencies and engineering firms.

Safety & Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a big safety focus for the year and includes any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. It is viewed that all distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. According to Alberta Transportation, 20% to 30% of all collisions involve driver distraction.

The highest priority is to decrease cell phone use, so talking and texting while driving. Both in Canada and the US there are several initiatives to decrease cell phone usage while as well as state and provincial legislation.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2010.


Multimodal Transportation

This year there is an even stronger focus on multimodal transportation especially in high growth and urban areas. According to the research in the megacities blog posts, the current population is expected to grow considerably in already highly populated cities.

It is estimated that traffic congestion costs the US 2.8 billion gallons in wasted fuel and 4.2 billion hours of wasted time per year.

With continued growth, these stats will keep on increasing. By implementing a multimodal transportation system, cities can manage their growth, reduce congestion and the carbon footprint.

As a result, government agencies are ramping up cyclist and pedestrian count programs. This will be done to understand the amount of traffic, where they are going and how long it takes them. Based on this data, new infrastructure will be created.

Operational Efficiency

Many agencies have been working with reduced budgets and spending. Due to this, there is a focus on effective spending. One of these initiatives was created by the FHWA in their Every Day Counts program process. A lot of this funding has been geared towards improving safety.

There are also new safety metrics in development for the highway safety manual which will help determine how to measure safety and what can be improved upon to ensure safer roads for everyone.

All of these new metrics and processes are being put in place in order to maximize the available resources, including time, budget and staff. Some technologies have been implemented in order to fill these gaps, some of which will be discussed below.


Hot Topics in Transportation

Although the transportation industry will be focusing their efforts on the topics above, there are several areas in transportation that are getting a lot of buzz. These ‘hot topics’ are being widely discussed at trade shows, trade publications and amongst transportation professionals.

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

Interest in ITS has been growing each year especially with increased traffic congestion, new technologies and communications networks.

Some of the growing ITS solutions include:

  • Wireless communications
  • Cell phone triangulation
  • Vehicle re-identification
  • GPS based methods
  • Sensing technologies
  • Inductive loop detection
  • Video vehicle detection
  • Bluetooth detection

ITS can be implemented in order to manage various challenges as pictured to the right.

A few ITS solutions have been gaining more interest in the transportation market and will be reviewed in greater detail.

The Connected Vehicle

Vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) solutions are an emerging type of ITS where vehicles and roadside units communicate through nodes in order to provide each other with information, such as safety warnings and traffic information.

As a cooperative approach, vehicular communication systems can be more effective in avoiding accidents and traffic congestion than if each vehicle tries to solve these problems individually. Examples of V2V include red light and blind spot warnings. Examples of V2I include efficiency improvements, automatic tolling, improved reporting, and routing and navigation information.

The Connected Intersection – Adaptive Signal Control and Permanent Installations

Government agencies are using new technologies to fill their resources’ gaps. Using adaptive signal control or permanent installations for data collection is growing in adoption.

Adaptive signal controls adjusts the timing of red, yellow and green lights to accommodate changing traffic patterns and ease traffic congestion. It provides real-time data for transportation professionals. This information is used for signal timing but can also have various other uses. It is also part of the FHWA Every Day Counts Program.

Permanent data collection installations are also growing as the need for data is consistent but there might not be enough field staff available. Having permanent installs  eliminates the need for having someone go out into the field and can be useful in areas that need frequent and longer periods of data collection.

GPS-based & Cell Phone Triangulation

GPS-based methods use in-vehicle GPS satellite navigation systems to collect traffic data by two-way communication with a traffic data provider. The Triangulation Method transmits cell phone signal information to the mobile phone network which is then converted into traffic flow information.

These two types of data collection obtain travel time, origin-destination and speed data for vehicles traveling along streets, highways, freeways, and other transportation routes. Currently there is a bit of a rivalry in the market with these two different options, which provide the same type of raw data.


Focus for Miovision in 2013

We’re always hard at work here at Miovision! This year there will be a focus on feature and product innovations that expand the use of Miovision’s core products into other departments and government agencies.

For example, Traffic Data on Demand was introduced last year with great success. For this year, there will be a focus on creating more viable options for governments and creating value-add features in order to meet their needs and service them appropriately.

There will also be a focus on providing great industry information. Last year, Miovision started creating research reports which provide benchmarking for the industry and shows what your peers are experiencing. For 2013, you’ll be able to get this type of information across a number of media including those research reports, case studies, white papers, surveys and webinars such as this one.