Start Your Engines:
Considering all the benefits emerging with the technology innovations of the digital age, it’s surprising that we see few changes to roadways, streets and vehicles that truly improve the driver experience and make roads safer. As a German, I more than appreciate the beauty of good driving. But how can we truly leverage innovative change and take advantage of technology to help keep drivers safe, maximize road quality, help cities better plan and prepare us for a future that promises driverless cars so near on the horizon?
Data, as they say, is the new gold, the invaluable currency of the digital era. If that is so, imagine the social, environmental and economic profit that can be gained by using vehicle, traffic and roadway data to the fullest.
Let’s first take a look at a prominent feature in our #NeverBetter brand story. Facing two of the most dangerous routes in the United States, the Alaskan Department of Transportation (DOT) faced the seemingly impossible task of installing a reliable, secure communication network in one of the world’s harshest environments. By dramatically improving emergency response and significantly increasing efficient use of resources, the Alaska DOT is already experiencing the amazing impact of digital transformation and the outcomes it enables.
Another great example is ASFiNAG, which connects drivers and transportation officials in Austria with a digital-ready roadside network. With central communications in tunnel infrastructure, a roadside app and free wireless access at rest areas, ASFINAG is communicating more information than ever to drivers and transport authorities. By connecting thousands of sensors and cameras to the extensive, secure network, ASFINAG has created a smart highway designed keep roads safe and traffic at a minimum.
So what does this mean for us? City streets become less congested, helping keep the air we breathe cleaner and saving the environment from toxic pollution. Roads and highways are kept safer, even in the face of inclement weather and growing numbers of cars on the road. Transportation authority leaders can better plan, predict and manage traffic patterns to keep it all running smoothly. And drivers can spend less time commuting and spend more time to live, work, play and learn.
The #TransformationThursday Series:
Stay tuned for next week’s Thursday post for discussion around smart, connected communities benefitting from innovation ecosystems. And be sure to check back each week as we discuss digital transformation in cities, detailing storylines and examples with various social, environmental and economic outcomes.
We’d also love for you to be a part of the conversation by using the hashtag #TransformationThursday and by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter.
And for more information and additional examples, visit our smart cities on Cisco.com.
While I think the idea of driverless cars is certainly emerging quickly, I do not think this will become a reality anytime soon. I do understand the many benefits, of making our streets safer and more environmentally friendly, but just like anything else I think there will be several issues to be worked out before trusting this process completely. Taking the human aspect out of the equation just leaves more room for technological errors. Everything sounds good on paper, but I will be interested to see how it plays out.
Nobody seems to be acknowledging the elephant in the room: a lot of people love to drive and like the feeling of being behind the wheel vs. being driven by a machine.
The auto industry has been marketing the “driver experience” because people — especially Americans — love to drive. Let’s not pretend they don’t.
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