It’s the nature of technology to continually break new ground. As one innovation catches on, another follows closely on its heels. For example, just as the smart grid is gaining traction, another new form of smart technology is poised for a breakthrough of its own.
According to a report released recently by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the so-called smart transportation industry will be the next innovation to transform the way we conduct our business and personal lives.
The report projects industry revenue to grow by 40 percent in North America, from $48 billion in 2009 to $73 billion by 2015. The United States will generate $67 billion alone.
Smart transportation is the convergence of vehicles, traffic management and digital information systems that creates more energy-efficient use of individual vehicles and more efficient flow of transportation on a grand scale. Smart transportation technology can benefit consumers and businesses. As more individuals turn to electric vehicles, for example, the technologies to connect their vehicles with the smart grid for charging fall under the smart transportation jurisdiction. The technologies also can help businesses with large fleets manage the use of their vehicles to save fuel and reduce wear and tear.
Smart transportation also has a peculiar advantage in these difficult economic times. It helps government agencies and corporations actualize savings by exercising more efficient transportation use.
On that note, the report’s positive outlook is based, in part, on a comparison with other technologies that shows the industry’s ability to sustain growth even in times of economic contraction. Specifically, the report finds that, during the recession, revenue for intelligent transportation outstripped revenue for computers and motion picture video production, two strong performers.
According to the report, about 203,000 people work in the smart transportation industry in North America. That number is expected to grow more than 10 percent with 208,000 in the United States alone by 2015.