The United States is not renowned for its public transportation. According to Statista, only 23% of millennials prefer public transit over driving, and only 21% consider it safe. Another study found that 59% of this age group think expanding public transportation should be a high or extremely high priority. It’s clear that a revision of public transportation is necessary. One way cities can upgrade buses and trains is by incorporating the Internet of Things (IoT) into public transportation. The implementation makes the passenger experience better and safer.
IoT allows the real-time tracking of buses and trains, which benefits both the rider and management. The rider knows when and where the transport will arrive and the manager can alert the public to any schedule delays. What’s even more interesting is what is on the horizon for IoT, and what IoT companies are planning for public transportation.
Better Customer Experience
Trains, buses, and planes are now offering Wi-Fi aboard, which has drastically improved the riding experience for many. Being able to work while on public transportation in the morning or finalize emails in the evening while on the way home has been a much-desired addition to daily commutes. New connected technologies will go beyond Wi-Fi capabilities and not only tell a rider when the train will arrive, but it will also alert them to which cars are full and which have room to spare. Overall, these enhancements will provide a better ride for passengers.
IoT will help cities manage unexpected events much more efficiently. District managers can send alerts to citizen’s phones, offering alternative routes home if there is a problem with trains or a specific public transportation method. Transit agents can spread the word ahead of rush hour to avoid massive delays. Agents can also develop strategic contingency plans for emergency events, becoming prepared for anything.
Instead of waiting for a train or bus to break down, IoT enables predictive maintenance techniques, which means employees will know when a part might fail. They can then fix the part ahead of time, instead of waiting for it to break down, causing delays. Imagine not having a train break down, completely stopping and backing up passenger movement; predictive maintenance can make that happen.
IoT on a Municipality Level
Municipalities should strongly consider implementing IoT platforms in public transportation. Not only will this technology result in happier passengers, but it will also mean less downtime. Unexpected downtime of buses and trains is expensive, which means cities will see drastic savings from IoT.
Connected cities are the future, and the capabilities are incredible. For example, “smart buildings” can measure the occupancy level in real-time and report that data to transportation systems. If there is a huge sporting event ending, the transportation agents can deploy more trains or buses to ensure there is enough transport for all event-goers. Connected platforms can make this a reality for cities. Though IoT requires a significant investment, the cost and operational savings are enormous.