Used in everything from public transit routes to emergency response systems, the Internet of Things is revolutionizing the way the transportation industry operates. As it grows and evolves, the potential only increases.

Cities around the world are vying to connect their infrastructure. Some, like Washington D.C. and Las Vegas, are already using it to create smarter, safer roadways[i]—and companies are cashing in on their need for connectedness.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things is exactly what it sounds like: a giant network of connected “things” (and people).

It’s made up of billions of smart devices: mobile phones, virtual assistants, cameras, and more–all capable of communicating with each other and with us.

As the internet becomes more widely available and the costs of technology go down, it is becoming possible for more and more people to connect. Many own more than one device.

In fact, experts predict that there will be a point in time when the number of devices connected to the internet will exceed the number of people connected to the internet.[ii] And as the amount of data increases, so will the IoT’s role in our everyday lives–including our transportation networks.

How Is It Improving Travel?

Through the use of sensors, smartphone apps, and other technology, the IoT is about to make everything from parking management to air travel much easier.

The Internet of Things is already revolutionizing transportation as we know it. Consider navigation apps that automatically redirect you to avoid traffic, or smart cars that can tell you when you need air in your tires. As recently as five years ago, some of these technologies were virtually unheard of.

On a larger scale, many cities have begun using the IoT to improve overall infrastructure. From smart roads to sensor-activated traffic lights, technology is helping to make driving a less stressful and safer experience.

Here are a few examples of how companies are already using it to change our commutes for the better:

#1 Fewer Personal Vehicles

Mobility as a Service (otherwise known as MaaS) refers to ridesharing services like Lyft or Uber, as opposed to personally owned vehicles. As of 2018, almost 25% of Americans report having used a ridesharing app–and that number can only be expected to grow in the future.[iii]

As sharing services become more popular, and the IoT makes seamless ordering and pickup easier, MaaS can be expected to expand to different modes of transportation­–from bike-shares to mass transit and everything in between.

#2 Improved Safety for Drivers

Kyle Connor, Cisco’s transportation industry principle, envisions a future where data will be shared between industries, leading to increased safety and improved quality of life for citizens.[iv]

For example, he said that if the transportation department had roadway sensors that detect fog, that information could be shared with weather institutions or navigation systems to create a safer, more efficient, driving experience.

Today, there are already navigation apps that can tell you there is an accident ahead or how to get around a traffic jam, and smart cars that can notify authorities in the event of a break-in. In fact, they are some of the most popular services out there–55% of Americans report using a navigation app on their cell phone[v], while popular emergency service apps boast upwards of 12 million customers.[vi]

As technologies improve, the possibilities for the future are endless.

#3 Traffic Management

Smart roads have yet to be constructed, but scientists are already working on building sensors into roadways and bridges.

Some of the proposed uses for the sensors include:

  • Determining the amount of traffic in each lane, so traffic lights can operate according to need
  • Tell which roads are used most frequently, so they can receive priority maintenance and repairs
  • Reduce the number of accidents via the use of real-time traffic monitoring

Already, city officials are using the IoT to implement features such as frictionless toll and parking payments, and mobile applications can help you find an available parking spot near your destination.

Future Opportunities

The IoT is creating new opportunities for many different businesses to get in on the transportation game. From navigation to safety, to plain old convenience–if you have an idea for an app that will help improve the industry, drop us a line. We’d love to help make your vision a reality.


  • [i] [i] How IoT Will Transform Transportation in 2018 and Beyond. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2018, from http://www.metro-magazine.com/blogpost/728202/how-the-iot-will-transform-transportation-in-2018-and-beyond
  • [ii] Bojan, T. (2014). An internet of things based intelligent transportation system. Retrieved from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7063743
  • [iii] Molla, R. (2018, June 24). Americans seem to like ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. But it’s hard to say exactly how many use them. Retrieved from https://www.recode.net/2018/6/24/17493338/ride-sharing-services-uber-lyft-how-many-people-use
  • [iv] Paul, F. (2018, February 26). 7 transportation IoT predictions from Cisco. Retrieved from https://www.networkworld.com/article/3257769/internet-of-things/7-transportation-iot-predictions-from-cisco.html
  • [v] People who use their cell phone for maps/GPS navigation in the U.S. 2018, by age | Statistic. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/231615/people-who-use-their-cell-phone-for-maps-gps-navigation-usa/
  • [vi] OnStar Tops 1 Billion Customer Interactions. (2015, July 29). Retrieved from https://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/photos.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2015/jul/0729_onstar.html
Shanal Aggarwal

By Shanal Aggarwal- As Vice President for Global Business Development and Alliances, Shanal takes care of TechAhead business growth through new client acquisition and management of ongoing client relationships. Shanal has helped TechAhead to set new benchmarks in service quality by always keeping customers' best interests in mind and providing extraordinary customer service. With his extensive experience in enabling mobile strategies for startups and enterprises across industries, he exceeds customer expectations by determining unique ways to transform their app ideas from good to extraordinary.

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