Connected Cars in Connected Cities

Image Source: [Pixabay]
Written by: Matthew Thompson
Connected cars have the potential to do more than share information with each other; they can also communicate with city infrastructures to improve traffic flows and lower the risk of accidents. A small number of cities have already started exploring the benefits of building infrastructure that takes advantage of connected car technologies. They still need to do a lot of work before they optimize their systems, but project proposals point to what you can expect in the near future.



Connecting Cars & City Infrastructures Could Improve Traffic


Studies indicate that traffic has a negative impact on drivers and economies. One report shows that the health consequences of traffic include higher blood sugar and blood pressure as well as higher rates of anxiety and depression.
According to research conducted by Inrix, traffic congestion cost the United States economy $124 billion. Failing to address traffic congestion could increase the yearly loss to $168 billion by 2030.
Cities can solve these problems (or at least lessen their severity) by building networks of Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) sensors that communicate with similar sensors in vehicles. Congested cities like Los Angeles and New York could install sensors in road signs, buildings and other stable objects.
Gathering information about the amount of traffic on urban roads makes it possible to ease congestion by changing the way that traffic lights behave. Timing traffic lights with traffic patterns in real-time would create an easy flow of vehicles without the stop-and-go patterns that plague most cities.
Connected Cities Could Reduce Pollution


Despite the haze that hangs over heavily trafficked cities like LA and Bakersfield, the government has done a lot to reduce the amount of pollution that comes from vehicles. As the number of drivers grows, efforts like restricting vehicle emissions won’t make the air cleaner. At best, it will keep pollution levels where they are. Connecting cars and city infrastructure, however, could offer significant improvements.
Most of the improvements would come from improving traffic patterns. When city infrastructure exchanges information with cars, connected vehicles can choose routes with less traffic. Instead of everyone driving on the same road, drivers get directed to routes that shorten their commute times. This leads to fewer cars on the road and fewer emissions that damage the environment.


Connected Cities Could Curb Accidents


The most recent numbers from the National Safety Council show that 4.4 million people in the U.S. sustained injuries and 38,300 people died from car accidents in 2015. The number of deaths jumped by 8 percent between 2014 and 2015.
Clearly, governments and automotive companies need to find ways to make driving safer. Connecting cars to smart cities could offer one of the best approaches to curbing accidents and fatalities.
Smart cars can already communicate with each other to make sure they maintain safe distances and speeds. Connecting smart cars to an infrastructure would make this feature even more effective by distributing traffic evenly and giving cities simpler ways to track dangerous drivers.
A flawless technology won’t emerge within the next few years, so drivers can still expect accidents. Connecting cars and city infrastructures, however, could make it easier for first responders to reach accident victims quickly. In many cities today traffic lights are controlled and switched so medics and other first responders are given right of way.
It will take some time for cities to build infrastructures that communicate with connected cars and some analysts are suggesting these technologies will be mainstream by 2020.
Check back with Small World Social soon for our fourth article on the topic of connected cars. Next time, you’ll have a chance to learn more about the latest infotainment features that manufacturers put into their vehicles. Infotainment is a big selling point for many consumers, so you’ll want to have the info you need to answer their questions and point them toward vehicles they’ll love.


Connect with us to learn more about how connected cars will shift the role of manufacturers, dealers, and the auto industry. Leave a comment below or reach out at


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