Efficiencies and a better customer experience are in themselves good enough reasons to look seriously at the opportunities 5G and the IoT will bring to the transportation industry. However, there are wider strategic advantages as well.
Having a secure, private network frees transport authorities from dependence on network operators and provides 100% always-on connectivity. This means that mission-critical infrastructure is in the hands of the transportation authority and dependence on external partners is reduced.
Data will become even richer than is already the case. The transport authority will get an excellent overview of door-to-door travel patterns across more modes of transport than at present. It will also get rich information about the performance and reliability of equipment. It will know about changes in people’s sensitivity to price. All of this information, at an aggregate level, can be used for better planning and forging stronger partnerships with civic authorities, suppliers, commercial partners, and other transport operators. In short, data substantially strengthens the transport authority’s place in the smart-city ecosystem.
However, there is a risk that ad hoc developments lead to a patchwork of solutions that are less than ideal. Public bodies need to take a strategic view of these developments and take the initiative in planning transportation solutions that seamlessly cover their area. If public bodies do not take the lead in orchestrating a holistic solution, no one else will.
Ultimately, it should not matter what type of transport travelers use. What is important is that in a single place they can plan and pay for their trip no matter how many buses, trains, boats, or scooters that might involve.