Digitization has disruptive consequences. Right now nobody is more keenly aware of that than the taxi drivers. In June 2014 thousands of them blocked the streets of European cities. The reason for this protest was smartphone apps like Uber. Private motorists use them to offer taxi services at much lower cost, thereby threatening the business model of established taxi operators.
The fate of the taxi business is but one example of the increasing digitization of transportation and traffic. The more drastic the consequences of this trend, the more strident are the calls for legislation. Taxi drivers call for stricter regulation of private motorists who carry passengers. Politicians are called upon to set the framework conditions for change. That is no easy task because it means striking a balance between different interests.
Data is the new oil
The more information is available, the sounder the basis for the decisions that need to be taken. That is why data is key to this development. It is seen as the new oil because it only becomes really valuable after processing: in the case of oil into fuel and in that of data to information. In transportation a shared database would benefit all road users. With precise analysis and evaluation of traffic, congestion can be prevented and faster routes can be identified.
An important role in this connection is played by the Internet of Things. A growing armada of connected objects and places is recording more and more extensive data about us and our surroundings. In transportation, the Intelligent Transportation Systems that are used have reached different stages of complexity in different parts of the world. In threshold countries telematics solutions are used for individual applications. Many European cities, in contrast, are already connecting different technologies to set up extensive systems.
Pisa trials the use of ITS
Initial steps in this direction are being taken by the Italian city of Pisa, a transfer location of the ITS standardization program POSSE, short for Promoting Open Specifications and Standards in Europe. In cooperation with Deutsche Telekom and its partner Kiunsys, the Tuscan city is currently testing a sensor-assistance parking guidance system. It guides motorists by app to free parking spaces and thereby ensures a better traffic flow and lower CO2 emissions.