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What Is Smart Transportation & What Are the Benefits?

Smart transportation refers to the integrated application of modern technologies such as cloud computing and computer vision into the transportation system.

What is Smart Transportation?

Smart transportation refers to the integrated application of modern technologies such as cloud computing, wireless communication, location-based services, and computer vision into the transportation system. Some examples of this include the following:

  • Advanced Traffic Management Systems
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Scannable Transit Cards

Examples of Smart Transportation

Smart transportation systems are all around us. If you’ve visited a major city recently it's likely you’ve encountered them without even knowing. Below are just a few examples of how smart transportation is being used today.

Advanced Traffic Management Systems

Intelligent transportation systems enable local governments to manage traffic more efficiently through real-time monitoring and continuous data collection. These systems can estimate delay times, change speed limits, close off exits, and provide live CCTV footage of key intersections.

Autonomous Vehicles

While driverless vehicles are still in their early stages, smart transportation systems can dramatically improve the safety, accessibility, and efficiency of autonomous vehicles. For example, strategically placed 5G small cells can ensure driverless vehicles maintain a constant connection, even in tunnels and rural areas.

Scannable Transit Cards

Refillable transit cards allow passengers to prepay their fare and simply tap their card to access the subway or train terminal. This dramatically improves the speed at which passengers can access their train, and eliminates the need to carry cash. Passengers can replace their lost cards at any time, unlike cash. Alternatively, cities often save money and receive more revenue upfront through a scannable transit card system.

Benefits of Smart Transportation

Smart transportation is already a part of many major cities across the globe, with experts estimating a 7% growth rate between 2021 to 2028. With no sign of slowing down, it’s clear that smart transportation is here to stay, and will pave the way for the future of technologies like autonomous vehicles and smart cities.

Improved Safety

One of the biggest benefits of smart transportation is an increase in overall safety. Smart traffic systems can dynamically route traffic away from emergency vehicles trying to exit congested areas. These same systems can update drivers to new hazards through digital signs, and even change speed limits during certain conditions.

With robust 5G infrastructure in place, smart vehicles can receive more frequent updates to changes in traffic, weather, and safety. In the future, autonomous vehicles may be able to use 5G networks to communicate with other vehicles on the road, allowing for more accurate and timely data.

Autonomous license plate readers can improve safety by integrating with law enforcement systems to catch dangerous criminals, locate vehicles during a police chase, and quickly find runaway or lost children.

More Reliable Traffic Routes

Smart transportation opens up the opportunity to create more reliable and efficient traffic routes by using live and historical data. 

For example, smart sensors and CCTV cameras can quickly identify when an accident has happened. Details such as road hazards, blocked lanes, and expected delays can be shared with motorists as well as emergency teams to keep traffic flowing.

Lastly, smart sensors along the road can measure snow and ice accumulation, allowing plow drivers to prioritize their route while smart signs reroute and warn drivers of changing weather conditions.

Dynamic Traffic Signals and Laws

Traditional lights, signs, and traffic signals take time to change, often requiring a manual replacement. Smart transportation changes this by adding signs and signals to a private mobile network. With each device part of a network, network operators can quickly change them based on real-world conditions.

Better yet, artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to study weather patterns, road conditions, and live traffic to enable or disable certain enforcements. For example, a smart sensor can relay that ice has built up on a stretch of freeway. This data triggers a notification to the department of transportation and lowers the speed limit by 20 miles per hour.

Disadvantages of Smart Transportation

While there are plenty of benefits to an intelligent transportation system, there are a few drawbacks. Many of these disadvantages can be avoided through proper planning, smart budgeting, and strategic technology partnerships.


Smart transportation systems typically require a robust network infrastructure to collect, transport, and transform data. 5G IoT sensors, long-range antennas, and servers can all have a large upfront cost.

Luckily, not all projects require all of the infrastructure immediately to work. IoT sensors can slowly be deployed along areas with cellular coverage. New coverage areas can be added over time as the value of the system and budget grows.

Managing Data

Smart transportation networks can generate massive volumes of data. Without proper organization, this data goes to waste, or worse congests the rest of the network. Having the right technology in place behind the scene is key to a successful smart transportation deployment.

Ensure your network has the capacity to collect the data necessary to meet your objectives. For example, ask yourself if your network can support the 50 HD CCTV cameras needed to monitor and redirect traffic. Cellular network professionals can play a key role in ensuring your network can support the outcome you desire.


Many of the use cases for smart transportation are highly mobile by definition.  As users, systems and devices move, reliable connectivity and pervasive wireless coverage becomes an essential requirement to ensure the highest return on investment and operational productivity for these systems.

Maintaining Privacy and Security

The benefits smart transportation networks deliver are the product of data collection. Maintaining proper data privacy can be a challenge if not implemented correctly. Without robust cyber security, attackers could cause serious real-life damage to people and property.

How Smart Transportation Works

Smart transportation systems can be broken down into sections: Collection, Transportation, Transformation, and Automation.


Smart transportation all starts with data collection. This data can include CCTV footage, traffic signal status, motion detection, and more. In any case, a sensor needs to collect this data and have the ability to send it for processing. To learn more about how these sensors work check out our post on IoT connectivity.


With transportation data collected, a network needs to exist to transport data from the sensor to the requisite server for processing. In almost all cases enterprises and city governments use public cellular network services for this job. While 5G networks can easily provide the range, reliability, and low latency needed to support tens of thousands if not millions of devices, ensuring service quality and security can be a challenge. Many cities are looking for greater control over the network, the data transported over it and the security required to ensure privacy.


As raw data arrives it needs to be transformed into valuable insights. Network operators can use modern mobile edge computing environments to more flexibly process data quickly while delivering results with very low latency. Machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms can quickly sort this data to create valuable insights, as well as execute automated changes based on a number of variables and conditions.

Simple Smart Transportation With Celona

Celona partners with enterprises.local governments and smart cities to provide purpose-built private cellular 4G LTE and 5G wireless networks as part of their smart transportation architecture. 

Celona 5G LANs are delivered as a seamless overlay and turnkey solution that is directly integrated with existing L2/L3 network infrastructure already in place. Purpose-built outdoor cellular access points can be quickly deployed on buildings, light poles and other outdoor furniture connecting via Ethernet or fiber cabling.

By adopting cloud networking principles, a Celona 5G LAN makes implementing private cellular wireless for smart transportation architecture and systems an out-of-box experience. 

With its ability to directly integrate with existing network security policies and QoS structure, its onboarding can be performed alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, without interrupting business operations – much like Wi-Fi has been deployed across cities. 

If you’re building your IoT architecture and network for the future, Celona can help. Check out our private cellular wireless network planner to estimate the size of your Celona network indoors and outdoors, or test-drive a Celona 5G LAN solution.

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