Planes, Trains and Automobiles- besides being a great movie from the ’80s, it is one of the biggest vertical markets in the world.  The business of moving people and goods not only has helped create modern life as we know it, but it is also big business.

While this space is far from new to the benefits of using IoT, here are five unique ways that IoT makes the world of transportation better.

Your bus will arrive on time (and if not, you will know about it in advance)

When you think of all of the different variables that can influence the arrival of a bus (weather, traffic, emergencies, etc.), it is somewhat surprising that they ever arrive on-time at all!  IoT first helps by ensuring that significant failures on the vehicles are a thing of the past, thanks to its combination of better maintenance adherence and alarming to potential issues in advance.

However, sometimes, delays are unavoidable.  Many municipalities are using alerts based on the desired bus stop.  If a bus is late, the transit user can be alerted, to allow them not to spend extra time waiting in the cold at the bus stop.

You may have more time to read (or watch Netflix) on your drive to work

Now, I am not encouraging you to do this while driving; I am talking about autonomous vehicles.  Given that most new cars use some semi-autonomous features (think auto-stopping or cross-traffic monitoring) and Tesla’s autopilot is already 6x less likely to be in an accident than the average driver, this is inevitable.

Regardless of your opinion on self-driving vehicles, they do not happen without the incredible volume of IoT-based information, such as that from cameras, sensors and more.

It’s a bird; it’s a plane, it’s Amazon’s new drone delivering your toilet paper

For the first few years of their existence, drones were just an expensive toy for parents/grandparents to entertain their kids for 20-30 minutes at a time.  They have now evolved into serious business tools, being used to examine pipelines and water towers as well as to deliver vital supplies during emergencies.

While I see some severe restrictions to deliveries via drones in most urban areas, one can see drones used for rural areas and the first organ transplant was just delivered using one recently.

You’ll spend a bit less time in traffic

Traffic is a wonderful way to spend time: said by no one.  IoT can’t do everything to prevent gridlock, but it can help to prevent it from being made worse.  Road sensors are used to alert to issues on the road, such as excessive ice, mudslides or an impassable bridge.  As well, many highways use systems to inform to approximate drive times to key landmarks (such as an airport or road) and offer suggested alternatives during busy periods.

Finally, many highways in Europe use the “hourglass” method to increase flow during busy times.  Like an hourglass, traffic is slowed in advance of a bottleneck to allow less traffic to try to force its way through a slow stretch, increasing flow for everyone.  They do this using IoT sensors, often 10-30 km before the issue even occurs!

...and your drive home will be safer as well!

The use of sensors is not new to the world of cars, as we have had them for years (such as the sensor to tell you that you are low on gas).  One example I wanted to point out that is making things safer is the use of onboard sensors on ambulances.

One of the most dangerous types of accidents is the “T-bone collision,” which commonly happens when an ambulance with its emergency lights on goes through a red light at an intersection.  New onboard sensors on the ambulance detect that the vehicle is approaching a red light and will turn the light green in advance, reducing the chance of such an accident.  No, I don’t know how to get one for your car!