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How IoT will improve public transportation

The internet of things market has grown tremendously. Intel predicts that there will be 200 billion connected objects by 2020, which comes to 26 connected objects per human being on earth. While that number may be high, 96% of companies that chose to invest in IoT have already seen ROI, which shows that IoT does have its benefits.

Individuals and cities alike are calling for the implementation of IoT technologies in public transportation services around the world. IoT can make public transportation more efficient and safer, as well as offer a more pleasant ride for commuters and afford cities many financial savings.

IoT creates a more efficient public transportation system

Connected trains display arrival and departure times so passengers can plan accordingly. Individuals can look at their smartphones to know the exact time to leave their houses to catch a train or the bus. Many public transportation systems already have these connected systems in place, and they are expected to expand globally.

Connected trains and buses also mean more data is collected for analysis. City managers or public transport experts can aggregate this data to implement predictive analytics. Managers will receive an alert when a part needs maintenance, instead of waiting for that part to break down and then fixing it, which often results in huge delays.

In smart cities, the public transportation options are connected to buildings as well, so transport managers can provide more buses and trains after a sporting game or concert when there are more people in one area of the city.

Enhanced safety features

Adding predictive analytics to public transportation means a much safer ride for commuters. For example, if a part of a bus breaks while passengers are riding, this can result in a traffic accident and individuals can get hurt. With predictive analytics, managers will know when parts need replacement or updating, so it reduces the potential for accidents, as well as unnecessary downtime.

During emergency events, IoT can connect citizens with authorities who can explain evacuation procedures and organize better, more efficient public transportation options. City managers can send public service announcements to connected individuals around the city who can then heed warnings or take action as necessary.

Better commuting experience

Already passengers are enjoying Wi-Fi on public transportation, allowing them to work or check email on the way into the office. New IoT features on the horizon include smart features at bus and train stops. For example, touchscreens in these locations can help riders find directions, check the weather and view real-time arrival and departure times. Many of these connected stations have free Wi-Fi and USB charging stations. These IoT features mean a more enjoyable ride and wait time for everyone using public transportation.

Significant financial savings

Smart cities are reaping financial rewards for changes such as smart lighting, which reduces the city’s energy bill. IoT in public transportation offers more revenue streams that can help localities shift to a smart city. For example, at the connected bus and train stations, advertisers can pay for digital signage that will be seen by thousands. Digital signage technology is advancing so much that in some areas, the sign changes depending on the person’s demographics who is viewing the sign. This increased revenue can help cities or private transport companies pay for more technological upgrades in the future.

Future impact

PwC forecasts that a total of $6 trillion will be spent on IoT technologies between 2015 and 2020. The report also says IoT investments by businesses will grow from $215 billion in 2015 to $832 billion in 2020. McKinsey & Company estimates that IoT could have an annual economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion by 2025 across many different settings. It’s clear that the internet of things is having and will continue to have a large impact globally.

Many commuters are calling for more IoT upgrades in public transport. Accurate arrival and departure times of trains and buses make riding more pleasant and efficient. The connectedness of public transportation can help transportation managers deal with high volumes, reduce delays and create a safer ride for everyone.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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