ITS – Intelligent Transportation Systems– is a “vision” for how the complete transport system should look like, identifying key questions and priorities, standardizing language and interfaces, sharing best practices and so on. It has been under development since many years in national, regional and global ITS organizations. Even though ITS brings more questions than answers and continuously undergoes change it serves an important role to pull forces together behind a common objective, across industries and boarders. It becomes in a way a loosely connected research effort with people and organizations from both public and private sector focusing on different parts of the universe while getting influence and ideas from other parts. This “structured sharing in a common framework” is a good approach for innovation in the Internet era.
Transportation systems are historically divided into separate systems for each type of transportation: rail, air, road, etc. Due to organization and responsibilities the different systems are rarely synchronized. In order to build a transportation system that delivers what we want, we need to take on a holistic approach and make the individuals part of the system. If I have a choice between taking my car to a customer meeting or a combination of bus and Metro, I need a complete and real-time comparison of these alternatives delivered on the device I currently use at the time for my decision. Tickets and payments has to be easy to deal with not to prevent least resistance choices.
The only possible way to reach a smart, efficient, convenient, secure, safe and environmentally sound transportation system is to connect vehicles, infrastructure and people together and then put a lot of computing on top. This is a massive task which will create an ICT business opportunity in the size of a new Internet over the next decades. And this is why Transportation is one of the most interesting fields for M2M solutions.