Mar 17 2017

Cities Abroad Turn to IoT to Solve Transit Troubles

With cities everywhere facing similar issues in transit, local governments abroad are employing creative solutions to make the morning commute smoother.

Commuting complications are universal, it would seem. As Los Angeles looks to implement smart parking meters to alleviate parking woes, Toronto is also turning to Internet of Things (IoT) technology to ease its traffic congestion and build better cycling networks.

And the Canadian city isn’t the only one making smart city moves.

While major cities and smaller metropolitan centers alike are embracing smart city initiatives across the United States, foreign governments are also pushing to execute IoT projects to solve similar problems in cities abroad.

France Streamlines Public Transit With Smart Trains

In France, the company that manages the national railway operations is installing sensors and equipping the entire railway system with IoT tech across thousands of miles of track in order to better predict when cars will need maintenance. By preventing a mechanical error that would take the train out of service unexpectedly and avoiding more costly repairs, the IoT investment looks to enhance railway safety, operational efficiency and passenger experience for 13.5 million daily passengers.

Railway operator SNCF is equipping its entire system, including train cars, tracks and stations, with industrial sensors currently in development. The sensors will send thousands of data points directly to IBM’s Cloud and IoT platform Watson, allowing the company to gather and analyze real-time data that will provide them with information necessary to manage equipment more efficiently and deliver more secure and regularly available trains to the public.

On its Parisian lines, for example, the company will equip 200 of its latest generation trains with an estimated 2,000 sensors that will send upwards of 70,000 data points per month to engineers, allowing them to remotely monitor the trains for potential issues instead of bringing each set in for a manual inspection. While in transit, the sensors will be able to provide information on mechanical issues such as door or air conditioning failures.

“SNCF’s involvement with the IoT … must have a strong operational focus by digitalizing the business lines processes and cover the following three pillars: cybersecurity by design, ‘platform as a service’ deployment model, the leveraging of Big Data for decision support,” said SNCF CTO Raphaël Viard in a press release. “This is why Watson’s platform, a single and scalable platform, is key to industrializing SNCF’s IoT strategy.”

New Delhi Embraces IoT as it Braces for Growth

Meanwhile, in India, the government is introducing IoT to improve transit and community engagement in the face of huge growth in what is already a city of 18.6 million.

New Delhi, northern India’s largest commercial center, expects to see population growth in the way of 40 percent by 2020, a recent National League of Cities report notes. With the government under pressure to deliver public services to a rapidly accelerating population, several smart city initiatives are under way to help manage expansion.

Already, the city has partnered with Google India’s transit unit to “provide free train schedule and route information to commuters through mobile devices with Google Maps,” according to the NLC. The city is currently working to supply the 2.7 million passengers with free broadband, allowing the residents to access real-time information on train locations, approaches and destinations.

Going forward, the New Delhi Municipal Council’s smart city project, launched in 2015 with federal government funding, is looking to foster more efficient management of urban services, including water supply, sanitation, more affordable housing, better waste management and improved urban mobility as commutes get longer and roads get more crowded, according to the NLC report.

While still in the planning stages, the report finds:

NDMC consulted with New Delhi residents on their requirement as a smart city and plans to develop smart bus stops, app-integrated cycle tracks, sensor-based smart parking, e-surveillance, including electronic tickets for traffic violations, automatic sewer cleaning machines and geo-tagging of bins. Other projects include providing Wi-Fi access points, air-quality sensors, noise-pollution sensors, and renovating Gole market.

City government also has plans to launch app-based air conditioned bus service that allows residents to reserve seats in advance for buses equipped with CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Cebas/iStock/Thinkstock Photos

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