What are Intelligent Transport Systems?

“ ‘Intelligent Transport Systems’ or ‘ITS’ means systems in which information and communication technologies are applied in the field of road transport, including infrastructure, vehicles and users, and in traffic management and mobility management, as well as for interfaces with other modes of transport.”

Is the 4th Industrial Revolution here?

With the digital revolution in the second half of the 20th century, the world shifted from mechanical and analogue technology to digital electronics. Today, we are on the cusp of the 4th industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. We’re increasingly hearing about “Cyber-Physical Systems”, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Services (IoS). What’s more, the IoT is way more than a buzzword:  devices in our homes, offices, cities, factories, public transport network, and more, are now talking to each other. The IoT is part of the fabric of the lives of a number of citizens in today’s cities.

What about population and transit trends?

According to the United Nations, 55% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas. This figure is expected to grow to 68% by 2050.  In the meantime, industries are undergoing deep transformation. So, what’s happening in the transportation sector?  In a number of cities and countries, including the U.K. and the United States, public transport use is actually in decline.

An article published by Wired magazinelooks at research carried out in the US, which suggests that people are using transit networks less than they used to. And unlike what one may think, this trend is not the result of an increase in the use of services like Uber. Interestingly, people who have stopped using public transit tend to use their own car. The article suggests that the solution may be that “[c]ities just need to build systems where riding the bus is more relaxing and convenient than hopping in your car.”

In parallel, with air quality reaching alarming levels in many of the world’s major cities, together with increasing population densities in urban areas, personal cars are far from being the solution. City planners and mobility planners have to rethink the services they provide.

What are Intelligent Transport Systems anyway?

Tomorrow’s smart cities will need to shift radically from transit services to Mobility as a Service (MaaS). This concept was invented recently in Finland. The idea is to bring every available transport option from different providers in a single app, handling everything seamlessly from travel planning to payments.

Making tomorrow’s increasingly crowded cities smarter with the aim of increasing quality of life requires something referred to as “multimodal transportation”. This approach will play an essential role in the so-called Internet of Service, particularly Mobility as a Service. 

A multimodal transit system includes different means of transportation integrated in such a way as to provide customers with a seamless, travel experience, from their doorstep to their destination.

A single ticket that gets you to your train, which takes you to the airport, and then from your destination airport all the way to your meeting. With the IoT and IoS working together, travel experiences will become more efficient, in other words quicker, cheaper, less impactful on the environment, therefore healthier, and safer. Innovators in this sector are working hard to create a seamless fabric in which the different options interoperate with each other. 

What is multimodal travel?

“The multimodal experience starts at home or on your smartphone. There are already travel planning apps and websites that show different modes of transportation, times and costs to help get passengers from A to B, but even these are done through separate providers and intermodal systems. In the future, we will see services that will be able to book your whole itinerary through a single app – with one search and payment.

Smart-ticketing and e-ticketing are essentially already here. From boarding passes on smartphones to contactless card machines on buses, the next step will be to offer one ticket for all forms of travel. While simplifying travel for passengers, these ticketing systems are also useful to transportation operators as information gathered by smart systems can be analyzed to offer better services.”

Gigabit Magazine: Transportation 4.0: Multimodal transportation systems
What do Intelligent Transport Systems sound like?

What’s the best way to deliver reliable and user-friendly information about the (multimodal) travel experience? Well, the most natural and intuitive way is also the most effective: text-to-speech technology, of course. With Text to Speech, personalised information about a seamless, doorstep to destination travel experience can be delivered in real time, in the user’s language, without distracting them from their journey.

Do you design intelligent transportation systems, smart passenger information services, or smart cities? Contact ReadSpeaker today to discuss how our text-to-speech voices can help.