Living for 10 years in California and 12 in Washington DC with a commute into downtown, I’ve spent a lot of time in my car. While road and traffic signal infrastructures are designed to do their best to facilitate my drives on an average day, these infrastructures are historically pretty terrible at dynamically adjusting to changing conditions.
Whether it’s Southern California drivers screeching to a halt on the 101 because a drop of rain hit their windshield, or the Secret Service closure of everything west of 14th Street in downtown Washington because of the visiting President of Djibouti, drivers and city managers alike know how hard it can be to dynamically manage our infrastructures.
Imagine if transportation officials could dynamically adjust speed limits according to detected weather, accidents, or other road conditions. Could traffic signal timing and duration be dynamically managed to optimize traffic flow in a congested urban center? What if motorists could be dynamically routed to nearest available parking, saving citizen time and reducing road congestion? Efficiency challenges like these exist across the spectrum of municipal infrastructures, and the internet of things (IoT) provides a host of new opportunities to make our cities smarter through the intelligent use of data from the connected environment.