Eleftheria Kontou, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, lays out a similar series of directives that could make up a roadmap for smart transportation infrastructure success. “Key steps would be: (1) establishment of pilot programs and test beds for technology demonstration and assessment, (2) regulation that encourages innovation and reduces barriers to launch while protecting privacy, (3) collaborations between academia, industry, and public agencies to accelerate smart infrastructure transitions, and (4) educating drivers and smart infrastructure users of the benefits that can be accrued by their adoption,” Kontou says.
She adds that the benefits of smart and connected transportation infrastructure include realtime data collection and analysis capabilities that inform well-reasoned decisionmaking in terms of prioritizing maintenance actions and cost-efficient, safer, and environmentally sustainable mobility system operations. Certainly, the potential benefits of smarter, more connected infrastructure are manifold.
UC Irvine’s Hyland adds that with more data coming from connected infrastructure, city officials can make more informed long-term planning decisions in addition to realtime response decisions that improve safer and more environmentally responsible operations. “The data can help city officials better understand who is using the infrastructure, how they are using the infrastructure, and where the infrastructure is deficient,” Hyland says. “Using the data to make informed long-term planning decisions should help cities maintain, rehabilitate, and upgrade infrastructure to improve cities more effectively and cost-efficiently.”