Leverage Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies to Optimize Rural Transit Systems.

A team of researchers identified lessons and best practices to assist agencies in understanding how best to make use of innovative technologies

Date Posted

Smart mobility and public transport: Opportunities and challenges in rural and urban areas

Summary Information

Networked telematics applying Internet of Things (IoT) technologies may be used to improve the quality of public transportation services in both rural and urban areas. A team of Italian researchers sought to examine how the development of sustainable public transportation in rural areas may be used to promote a sustainable overall mobility ecosystem. While urban areas are more likely to adopt IoT technologies and opportunities, the benefit of such solutions is not as widely explored in rural areas given that such public transportation systems are generally less likely to adopt novel technologies. 

The authors identified two key research questions: first, whether certain smart mobility opportunities might disproportionately benefit rural areas over urban areas; second, how the complexity of smart mobility challenges varies in rural and urban contexts. They selected ten relevant smart-mobility projects to analyze in depth. In doing so, they developed a list of benefits and challenges associated with smart mobility initiatives.

  • Leverage IoT technologies to expand customer base. Specifically, they may provide data regarding transit usage and usage patterns, which in turn may be used to dynamically adjust and balance services.
  • Promote data collection and analysis projects that focus on the identification and selection of standard metrics for route evaluation. The use of commonly agreed upon metrics would allow for more efficient and effective comparison of different routes. 
  • Include local policy in determining "optimal routes." The process of determining the optimal route for a user currently relies upon a wide range of dynamic measures, such as real-time conditions and specific user needs. Incorporating local policy would enable authorities to engage in region-wide policymaking, for example to encourage the usage of specific modes or routes.
  • Use IoT technologies to examine usage trends. By using technology solutions to enable or speed up the data collection process, agencies may be able to present a fuller picture of transportation usage and facilitate coordination at regional scales.