How Big Data Can Transform Transportation as We Currently Know It

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Big data is already changing the world around us. The retail, healthcare, financial services, and entertainment industries are all using big data to improve their quality of service and optimize efficiency. However, big data’s usefulness is not limited to changing the world of business — it also has the potentially to completely change transportation as we know it.

Increasing Efficiency

Congestion, lack of parking, and long commutes are all urban transportation problems that big data innovators are aiming to solve in the coming years. Data analytics can help pinpoint causes of congestion and where driver’s spend the most time looking for parking, then provide alternative routes tailored to specific individual needs, all pulled from the massive data pools that big data provides. Big data can also provide insights into implementing infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, making everything move more quickly for everyone.

Big data is also set to increase efficiency for the private sector on the road as well. As industries that rely on shipping adopt IoT-driven intelligence and incorporate machine learning models, shipping vehicles will be able to communicate with one another to reduce travel time and accidents on the road. Ultimately, we will see a network of automated shipping vehicles that operate efficiently without any of the pitfalls that come with human drivers.

Identifying Danger

As big data becomes more integrated into transportation models and vehicles, safety will naturally increase. Right hook accidents — where a vehicle initiates a right-hand turn while there is a cyclist or vehicle to their right in a blind spot — frequently cause dangerous accidents. These and other common vehicular accidents will slowly fade as vehicles become more intelligent and interconnected.

Big data helps car companies develop automated vehicles and vehicles with driver-assist technology, much of which is designed specifically with both driver and pedestrian safety in mind. By gathering data on car crashes big data can produce predictive crash maps, giving city officials insight into how they can improve infrastructure with safety as a priority. AI driven by big data can also monitor drivers by predicting driver risk from gathered acceleration and braking habits, as well as seat belt usage and instances of speeding.

Driverless Cars Are Already In Demand

Big data has been instrumental in the rise of the autonomous vehicle in recent years. Self-driving vehicles rely on data gathered from GPS, radar and sensor technology, as well as cameras on the vehicles themselves, and big data has provided car manufacturers the tools that they need to develop technology that can make efficient use of all of this data.

Vehicles with driver-assisting technology are already widely available on the market today, with some base models even coming with these safety measures standard. This is a major benefit to consumers seeking out a new vehicle rather than a used one.

The future of driving is automated, and consumers are already pining for self-driving technology today. Lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and self-parking technologies are already in high demand from consumers, showing the auto industry that the public is more ready than ever for fully autonomous vehicles. Driverless cars result in fewer accidents, reduced emissions, as well as less traffic and better commute times. This makes automated driverless vehicles good for not just the individual driving, but the public at large as well.

While we are still a ways off from highways full of driverless vehicles effortlessly and safely changing lanes around one another, we are well on our way thanks to big data. Whether it is increasing efficiency, ensuring safety, or simply making parking just a bit easier, big data is helping our transportation dreams become a reality.

About the Author

Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time. She covers a variety of topics and prefers not to settle on just one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her in the outdoors or curled up with a good book and a mug of butterbeer. She is still waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter. You can chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.

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