Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

Work Day Journey for the Digital Citizen

Wake up. Get ready for the day. Hurry up to…wait in traffic? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, traffic congestion in the United States alone results in more than 4 billion hours of travel delay and nearly 3 billion gallons of gas used, at a cost of $80 billion a year. More than 25 percent of traffic congestion is non-recurrent, according to the Federal Highway Administration, meaning that in large part, it is caused by traffic incidents. Detecting these incidents early and responding to them effectively makes for safer roads, less congestion, and smoother traffic flow.

Leveraging technology and innovation will be essential for transportation in the world’s swelling urban areas as increasing populations, and other factors like climate change, will continue to impact current transportation systems and roadways.

As we continue to observe a day in the life of our digital citizen, today we see that fortunately, she doesn’t normally have to wait in traffic. She gets up, gets ready, heads out the door, and enjoys a quick commute to and from work.

In her digital community, much like that of San Antonio, TX, our citizen’s experience is a result of an advanced, synchronized traffic light system, which helps transportation personnel to quickly detect and respond to incidents, and also to ensure the exact timing of each light. The system runs on a citywide wireless mesh network and includes motion cameras on the traffic light poles, a far more efficient and cost-effective solution than weight sensors in the ground.

Directional signs, changeable message signs, and microwave-enabled vehicle detection systems are also used to provide traffic monitoring and emergency response assistance, just like in San Mateo County. If there is a problem, our citizen is made aware and may be offered alternative routes to avoid an incident or a highly congested area.



Our digital citizen also travels via public transportation regularly because her community has made it so convenient and easy to use. Just like in Dubai, vehicle and routing data is available in real-time, so she can use a free app to view schedules and alerts, and for assistance in mapping the most efficient route. She can pay easily with tap-and-pay technologies, and get where she needs to go quickly and easily, reducing her own carbon footprint and traffic in her community, while also freeing her to do other things while traveling.

With real-time information and visual data in the hands of traffic controllers and commuters, vehicles move about in the most efficient way possible, and our citizen moves to and from her destinations each day smoothly.

Finally, our citizen also avoids traffic because some days, she heads straight to… her home office. Here she uses voice, video, and chat technologies, showing presence and availability so she can easily collaborate with colleagues, and she can securely access all of her work applications and information. These days, she’s just as productive as when she’s in the office, she avoids traffic altogether, and the number of vehicles on the road is reduced.

The Internet of Everything is making all of these scenarios possible by connecting not just things, but data, people, and processes, creating safer and more efficient roadways and improved community services.

Next Stop

Parking can also play a huge role in traffic flow. Learn how in next Wednesday’s post about parking and lighting on our citizen’s date night. And be sure to check back each week as we explore new themes, challenges and observations.

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Cecile Willems

Director, Global Public Sector

Global Sales Organization