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Intelligent Transportation in a Connected City Intelligent Transportation in a Connected City

Intelligent Transportation in a Connected City

This article is part of Ice Miller’s Smarter Cities Guide, designed for municipal leaders, city administrators, urban planners, and economic developers. In this guide, your team will find opportunities to explore best practices and utilize checklists to develop the infrastructure, to understand the technology, and to implement the financial and legislative solutions needed to build a smarter city. Click here to learn more.


Intelligent transportation, including connected vehicles and self-driving or autonomous cars, is an element that has been incorporated into several “Smart City” deployments. For example, Columbus, Ohio, recent winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, is using part of its $40 million award to deploy electric self-driving shuttles that will operate in conjunction with a new rapid transit center. CompTIA,[1] a non-profit trade association for the IT industry, says that the system will enable better vehicle-to-vehicle data exchange and communication with traffic signals and other transportation infrastructure.

Several automotive manufacturers have also joined the burgeoning movement for intelligent transportation systems. For example, Volvo is developing a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles and has claimed that 100 models of its self-driving cars will be on public roads in Sweden by 2017. Audi has said that its cars will be the first in the United States to communicate with traffic lights, and Ford has projected that driverless ride-sharing services will be available in five years. Similarly, Uber Technologies Inc. has partnered with Volvo and purchased Ottomotto LLC, a driverless truck firm, to explore the possibility of a ride-sharing service powered by self-driving cars. Uber is currently testing self-driving ride sharing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Intelligent transportation systems offer opportunities to improve traffic flow and efficiency; reduce traffic congestion; and, in the case of autonomous vehicles, eliminate human error and reduce traffic accidents.

Implementing such systems will require ample broadband connectivity, both wired and wireless, which will remain a challenge for many municipalities, especially non-urban ones. Another challenge will be the secured maintenance of customer data and privacy. Several groups are also concerned with a potential job reduction for taxi drivers and other occupations.


In 2017, the City of Columbus and its partners will be engaged in an outreach effort to gather feedback from the public and key stakeholders throughout the community. The public will be able to weigh-in on intelligent transportation and connectivity issues and opportunities, as well as contemplate how all of these changes might impact their daily lives. Ultimately, with this input, community plan will be developed and implemented over several years.


Municipalities will need to re-evaluate their operating and capital budgets in order to invest in a comprehensive intelligent transportation system and align operations and programs to this end. Code changes may also be necessary as it relates to right- of-way use, traffic laws, traffic signal coordination and other regulatory matters. There is an enormous opportunity for municipalities to leverage other public and private sector resources, funding and expertise during the next several years. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, it will require extensive coordination with businesses/employers and with federal, state, and local governments.

For more information on the IoT, contact a member of our Internet of Things Industry Group.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.

[1] CompTIA, Building Smarter Cities (Aug. 26, 2016), building-smarter-cities

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