Smart cities and cars are getting even smarter as technological disruption continues to shake up the transportation industry. By 2021, more than 380 million connected cars are expected to be on the road, as automakers plan to connect the majority of the vehicles they sell, according to research from BI Intelligence. This connectivity is leading to new solutions for urban planning applications, data analysis and problem-solving.
A pilot smart signals program in Pittsburgh lead by Surtrac reduced travel time by 25 percent and cut idling time by more than 40 percent. In addition to reducing emissions from idling, the program could also lead to lower demand for on-street parking and road expansion. Pittsburgh is also a test area for Uber’s self-driving cars, and the intelligent traffic signals will communicate with the autonomous vehicles for fluid traffic through intersections.
The next step is to equip cars to talk to traffic signals. The Surtrac Pittsburgh test includes short-range radios at 24 intersections around the city. Radio-equipped cars are expected to be on the market soon, and after-market products like Lear’s could be fitted to existing vehicles.
By expanding use cases for connected cars through parking apps and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, smart cities are setting a new precedent for automakers, civil planners and citizens in urban areas.
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