Smart Transportation: How the IoT is Changing the Transportation System

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What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of interconnected computer devices embedded in various objects, ranging from mobile devices and household appliances to vehicles and even structures. The IoT is changing numerous industries, including the field of civil engineering, as it allows for technology integration in a new and innovative manner.

Traveling with the IoT

The IoT is revolutionizing the modern world of travel via the use of sensors, applications for mobile devices, and other technological advancements. From air travel to parking management systems, the IoT is helping to improve the efficiency and convenience of modern day travel. The IoT is also contributing to the world’s efforts at conserving energy with sustainable technology.

Smart roads and Traffic Management

Smart roads are looking to integrate the IoT as a means of reducing traffic congestion and other types of problems. Smart roads, which have yet to be constructed, would work by building sensors into highways and surface streets. These sensors would be able to determine the amount of cars in each lane and would then operate the traffic lights based on this information. These sensors can also be used to redirect traffic in response to an accident or other type of hazard.

While traffic as directed by the IoT has numerous benefits, such as improving efficiency and reducing accidents via the use of real-time monitoring, it also raises the concern for possible cyber attacks. Further advancements must be made for protecting the population against such attacks in the future if travel is to fully integrate with the IoT.


City officials are also looking to use the IoT for making parking easier and more convenient. In Washington D.C., for example, the District Department of Transportation’s ParkDC project is using an IoT-based monitoring system for alerting drivers of available spaces and charging appropriate parking rates based on real-time demand.

Bridge sensors

Not only would the IoT be useful for traffic congestion, but it can also be utilized for bridges and other types of infrastructure projects. Bridges would automatically open and close based on the presence of cars, boats, or other types of vehicles, as well as pedestrian traffic. Using sensors for road lighting also has the potential of conserving vast amounts of energy.

Bridge sensors can be used to alert drivers of icy surfaces or other possible hazards. Additionally, these sensors can be used to inform officials if the bridge is in need of maintenance or other construction issues.

Bicycle and pedestrian monitoring and safety

In addition to improving the use of cars and other types of automotive vehicles, the IoT can also be used to improve infrastructural features for pedestrians and those traveling by bicycle. Sensors can be utilized to gather information on how many pedestrians and cars are on the street at any given time, the data of which can be implemented into roadway design.

Micro-navigation in public transportation

Many passengers of public buses may require further assistance, which can be provided by the IoT. The process required for bus travel can be broken up into two different categories: macro-navigation and micro-navigation, each of which may be integrated into the IoS via smartphone applications.

Macro-navigation refers to such tasks as determining which bus will take you to your specific destination, while micro-navigation refers to the tasks of knowing which bus stop to get off at and which bus should be taken next. The information for performing macro and micro-navigation in public transportation can be displayed via text messages on a smartphone map, which can be downloaded by public transit passengers.

Airports and air travel

As Internet-connected sensors and other types of IoT equipment become cheaper and more accessible, the air travel industry is finding more ways to use this technology in making airports and air travel more convenient and efficient for customers and employees.

The Miami International Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in the United States, is finding numerous benefits by using IoT smartphone applications and other types of sensor technology. The airport introduced a new smartphone app, for example, called the MIA Airport Official, which can be downloaded on Android and iOS smartphones. This app can provide information to passengers regarding the location of airport restaurants, baggage claim areas, and other important services, resulting in better management and more efficiency for both customers and employees.

IoT and travel innovations

The IoT is creating new opportunities for better travel on the ground and in the air. Civil engineers are using IoT technology to create more efficient transport systems across the globe. By using the IoT, such as Internet-sensor technology and other related devices, travel is becoming far more efficient in new and exciting ways.

Civil engineers play a crucial role in engineering the structural solutions of tomorrow and plan, design, construct, and operate the infrastructure essential to our modern lives. As a student in the online Master of Science in Civil Engineering program, you can enhance your quantitative decision-making skills and learn how to justify managerial decisions with data.

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