AINews & Analysis

Trends and Challenges for Smart Transportation in 2022

Here are the top trends in intelligent and smart transportation to realize India's vision of digital first society.


The United Nations highlights that India’s urban population will nearly double between 2018 and 2050, from 461 to 877 million. With the influx of additional people from rural areas, it is crucial to consider intelligent and sustainable city planning, which will significantly contribute to the development of the urbanized region in various large cities.

The concept of mobility and how it will articulate with the planning of cities and the transportation of people will experience drastic changes in the coming years. Smart mobility and transportation are aligned with the concept of smart cities and sustainable development goals (SDGs), as defined by the United Nations, considering the 17 SDGs for 2030. With the ever-increasing population and the vehicles on the roads, authorities need to reduce traffic congestion and plan new route optimizations with a reduced ecological footprint, which are essential factors of smart mobility.

Intelligent city planning: Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and big data technology will serve as the main entry points and fundamental pillars to promote the rise of new innovative solutions which will change the current paradigm of the cities and their citizens.

The growth in Indian cities  would translate into the need for new route optimization algorithms for vehicles and people, traffic management to reduce congestion and more significant optimization in processes. With the integration of smart technologies and mobility, we will see several changes in the coming years, like the Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) traffic flow optimization that will transition the existing cities into smart cities. This is how smart mobility will be a part of a smart city ecosystem.

Current scenario

Historically, public transport has not been a profitable field in India, as the expense of running the system ends up being much higher than the actual revenue generated. By the end of 2025, the global market volume for smart transportation is expected to grow from USD 94.5 billion in 2020 to USD 156.5 billion at a CAGR of 10.6 percent, according to a report of Markets and Markets.

Transportation solutions such as AVLS, depot management system, incident management solution, automatic fare collection system, planning & scheduling system, and business intelligence system are leveraging the power of ICT to solve the social and economic issues of  traffic congestion for public transport.

Here are the top trends in intelligent and smart transportation to realize India’s vision of digital first society.

1. MaaS (Mobility as a Service)

India needs a seamless version of MaaS for commuters as the public transport infrastructure is largely disconnected in Indian Cities. MaaS can be revolutionary for India to overcome existing challenges like unplanned city infrastructure, inadequate public transport infrastructure, lack of transit oriented development, air pollution & safety concerns and migration to digital payment. MaaS can help streamline the transportation sector i.e. provide end-to-end journey planning, aggregated 1st/last mile ride options, live information on bus location and crowdedness, e-ticketing for buses through online payment, pre-booking of last mile trip or match with a friend to share last-mile trip, etc.. This will lead authorities to address issues in public transportation and drive a modal shift from private vehicles to public transportation, and ultimately reduce traffic congestion.

2. Cashless/Contactless Ticketing

Cashless Ticketing Solution has various advantages of a compelling passenger experience. Its importance came into focus, especially after the COVID-19 scenario. It eliminates the need for a queue where one could install ticket vending machines and reduce handling of the cash, thereby reducing the cost of fare collection. Cashless ticketing allows seamless use across operators and as the payment can be made using the same fare media across operators, it is compelling for passengers to use public transport. The significant advantages are that it solves the problem of change which has a tremendous impact on passenger throughput, dwell times, run times, and route cycles, which improves the commute’s on-time performance and schedule adherence. Cashless ticketing provides various benefits to the passengers like quick deployment, zero MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) charges, and options of payment through multiple wallets.

3. Automatic Vehicle Locating System (AVLS) & Passenger Information System (PIS)

Primarily focused on providing information to the passenger travelling on buses, an automatic vehicle locating system is built to gather real-time information of the buses travelling on the route. Based on this data information to passengers is passed through displays at stops, inside the buses, and through websites and mobile applications. The collected data helps public transport operators with adequate information for fleet planning, performance measurement, monitoring fleet location, and delivering new and improved services.

4. Automatic Fare Collection System

Two prominent factors contributing to the public transport sector in India, are Rider satisfaction and agency/Operation efficiency, and profitability. The fare collection system will reduce these pain points for any public transport system by providing easy access to information to the public, providing a good ride by increasing comfort and reducing. The Automatic Fare Collection System developed is targeted at changing this scenario and has been able to do so successfully in the cities where the system is implemented.

5. Depot Management System

Depot Management System (DMS) is envisioned to automate the depot operation for public transit systems. Depot operation, in summary, is to record, update and manage manual activities to operate the fleet efficiently – starting with when a bus crew enters (checks in or reports to) the Depot and ends with the bus or unit leaving the Depot.

6. Planning & Scheduling System

The objective of the Vehicle Planning Scheduling and Dispatch system is to enable/help Transport planners perform the following tasks efficiently and effectively.

7.  Incident Management System

Incident management solutions are grouped into two major groups, differentiated by the type of incidents: Physical surveillance using CCTV and ANPR cameras, cameras installed at a strategic location, comprehensive, integrated IT infrastructure management suite.

The complete suite of solutions includes PTZ cameras in the physical surveillance category. The necessary back-end video surveillance application, number plate recognition cameras, and critical applications are included.

The comprehensive IT infra management suite ensures a 100% uptime of the IT infra deployed in the central control centers through instant intimation for incidents happening in the network. This incident management system acts as a watchdog for the web, to ensure that the system is up and running throughout, without hampering the critical activities of the system. The specific services rendered through the network incident management tool are typical – Discovery of the network devices, servers, systems, etc., monitoring the business-critical servers, devices, applications, and services, threshold monitoring ,and Notifications (extendable for dynamic base-lining), business service management, fault Management.

(The author Pankaj Bhatiya, is General Manager and Head – Transportation Business, NEC Corporation India)

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