During the recent 2016 Infrastructure Week, the Utah Transportation Coalition hosted Utah’s Infrastructure Game with ITS Solutions with Blaine D. Leonard, Utah Department of Transportation ITS Program Manager & Jack Vines Chief of Strategy and Growth at data-analytic start-up, Blyncsy. This blog post provides a recap of discussion considered during this event.

Paradigm Shift: Intelligent Transportation Information & Systems

Intelligent transportation information and systems is a growing industry that is changing the way we move from place to place. During the meeting, Blaine Leonard of the Utah Department of Transportation, discussed the paradigm shift happening in everything from roadway technologies to developments in cars and how this shift is completely changing the way we move and understand transportation patterns.  

Minor Advancements Provide Large Results

Utah has witnessed evolving infrastructure, especially from 1999 to 2015, through projects utilizing intelligent infrastructure and roadway technologies. In recent years this technology has boomed with 95 message sign installations, 2100 miles of fiber optic cable and increased traffic cams, which have sped up commutes and increased data collection.

Data collection has proven to enhance the tracking of transportation habits. This data has been paired with analytics which will allow for improved transportation and infrastructure in a multitude of areas. Through the collection of analytics, more data driven decisions can be made which will make future improvements for infrastructure possible.

Transportation is Venturing Even Further: Autonomous Vehicles

Today, automobile manufacturers, and tech sector entrepreneurs are closer than ever to developing autonomous “self–driving” technologies that embody the Hollywood imagery of “robo-cars” for the average consumer. By removing the uncertainty of the driver, autonomous vehicles are likely to reduce accidents or eliminate them entirely. Since the conception of the driverless car 60 years ago, technologies are rapidly increasing with changes advancing vehicle parts that range from propulsion systems to electric powered engines and digital sensors.

As the capability and reliability of autonomous vehicles increase, a wider segment of the total population will be more mobile – from children to the elderly who will be able to be more active and contribute more broadly to the community.

Eventually, policymakers will face the foreseeable questions of licensing, redefining distracted driving, evolving infrastructure needs, ethical dilemmas, and further economic repercussions; on a positive note: Utah is at the forefront of such innovative policy. The changes that will be witnessed in the upcoming years will be as dramatic as the transition from horse to horsepower. Communities will benefit from improved individual mobility and efficiency.