Connected car data is growing rapidly, with the majority of new cars expected to be connected by the next decade. This provides smart city planners and other city decision makers with a wealth of data they can use for decision making and city planning, even in real time.
Vehicles are a concern for anyone looking to become more environmentally conscious. Traffic problems, emissions pollution, and danger to pedestrians and cyclists make vehicles a challenge to incorporate into smart city ideals. However, thanks to data from connected vehicles, this could change.
Connected vehicles enable communication between vehicles, infrastructure and personal communication devices. These vehicles generate powerful data from these communications, from the vehicle’s Electronic Control Units (ECUs), Controller Access Networks (CANs), and even infotainment systems. Some examples of this data include location, destination, speed, engine status, etc.
Connected car data is growing rapidly, with the majority of new cars expected to be connected by the next decade. This provides smart city planners and other city decision makers with a wealth of real-world event data that they can use for decision-making and urban planning, even in real time.
See also: How Connected Products Enable Predictive Maintenance
Connected vehicle data (CVD) isn’t as popular for smart city planning, but that’s all starting to change. According to a recent study by Otonomo, 62% of respondents believed CVDs are already helping to solve urban problems, including road use and management, zoning and urban planning, and environmental responsibility.
Once companies start generating value from this data, we could see an increase in demand and usage. Population growth and disruption caused by events such as COVID-19 have prompted cities to rebuild differently and leverage data to ensure cities provide the best services and living standards for residents, today. and in the future.
Data helps solve real-world challenges. First, the data can be used in planning and organizing projects. Think about reducing traffic jams, creating better access to different parts of the city or even organizing parking. This also includes better planning for one-off events that can significantly disrupt the overall traffic patterns of the city in question.
The adoption of electric vehicles is an event likely to stimulate the use of CVDs. This data could help cities better plan station changes and reduce “range anxieties” to help even more people adopt electric vehicles. However, currently cities are reporting that it is difficult to obtain reliable data on electric vehicles, so this could be a use case in the future.
Extend Connected Vehicle Data to Consumer Apps
An exciting potential use case is leveraging CVD to design mobile transportation apps for citizen planning. This could have several benefits, including:
- Improve the transparency of planning and public service offers. Smart cities need a way for citizens to engage more with public services, so an app could provide that convenience and ensure more citizens benefit.
- Facilitate tourism by providing information on city services, traffic issues and even event parking. This would avoid some of the bottlenecks that occur with an influx of tourists who are unfamiliar with the city.
- Ensure that citizens have fuller access to all transportation options and can coordinate their activities based on various factors such as events, rush hours or construction.
Nowadays, more and more people are using traffic cameras or road sensors to approximate this kind of data. A growing number of cities are also using public mobile data collected from personal devices.
If data from connected vehicles is so valuable, why aren’t more cities using it? There are several significant barriers to full adoption and use of CVDs.
More and more vehicles are being manufactured, but cities still need CVD to be more widespread to rely on the data. By the next decade, this might no longer be a problem. In addition, better coverage of 5G connections will allow cities to collect and extract data in a reliable and better planned way.
CVD regulations are in their infancy and cities may be reluctant to risk non-compliance. A federal mandate would help resolve the issue. Still, states may need to follow California’s privacy lead – take charge of their own without using federal guidelines.
Data collection also exposes cities to potential cybersecurity threats. However, smart cities will understand that data protection is key to pursuing initiatives such as these. More and more cities are responding to cybersecurity challenges first, but being proactive protects everyone.
Confidence in this new technology has been discussed for years (even RTInsights talked about its importance in 2017). We are reaching a tipping point. Citizens are divided on data collection and government involvement. They want better access to services and better overall experiences in their cities. If governments can take a transparent approach to collecting and using data like CVDs, it would go a long way to building citizen trust (and encouraging greater engagement, which these initiatives desperately need).
Connected vehicle data could revitalize smart city efforts
The ability to integrate data from connected vehicles could allow more cities to plan with greater precision. Additionally, citizens might feel they have more information about their own city to plan and enjoy services.
CVD should become a single source of data designed to integrate with existing infrastructure data. It must also provide comprehensive and consistent coverage. This provides a system of checks and balances and ensures that all decisions derived from this data are of the highest quality. As we see greater connectivity in vehicles and the infrastructure itself, this could prove to be a game changer in bringing cities into the digital age.
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