Delays from congestion on motorways, roads, and transit systems throughout the world result in productivity losses.
These losses are estimated to be hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Other negative effects of congestion include damage to property, personal injuries, increased pollution in the air, and inefficient fuel consumption.
The accuracy combined with availability of of the Global Positioning System (GPS) offers increased efficiencies and safety for motor vehicles using roads, and transit systems.
Many of the issues associated with the routing and dispatch of commercial vehicles is reduced greatly, or eliminated entirely with the help of GPS.
This is the same for the management of mass transit systems, street maintenance crews, and emergency vehicles.
GPS technology that is used throughout the world today enables vehicles locations to be determined automatically.
Combining this with systems that can display geographic info or with systems that can automatically transfer data to LCD screens or computers, a new dimension in surface transportation is realized.
A GIS system stores, processes, and displays geographically referenced information provided mostly by GPS.
In addition to this, GIS is also used to monitor vehicles locations, making it possible strategies that are effective in keeping transit vehicles on time & on schedule.
An added benefit is the increased customer satisfaction, such as informing mass transport users of precise arrival times.
Mass transit systems use this capability to track bus, train, ferries and other public services to improve on-time performance.
Many new capabilities are possible with the help of GPS.
Instant ride sharing opportunities have been available since people desiring a ride can be instantly matched with a vehicle in a nearby area.
Using GPS technology to help monitor and forecast the movements of logistics has made a freight revolution, including an application known as time-definite delivery.
In time-definite delivery, freighting companies use GPS for tracking their vehicles to guarantee delivery and pickup at the time promised.
When a freight order comes in, a job dispatcher through an application can see a list of vehicles appear on their screen, showing a full selection of detailed information on the status of each of them.
If a vehicle is running behind schedule or has taken a wrong turn, an alarm can be created to send a notification to the dispatcher.
Many governments and states use GPS to help study their road systems.
By using GPS enabled surverying equipment, they can identify the location of features pertaining to the road networks.
These features can include include damage to the asphalt or road layers, entry and exit ramps, service stations, maintenance and emergency services and supplies and so on.
This wealth of knowledge helps transportation agencies to reduce the cost of maintenance and servicing the road, not to mention motorist safety.
Research is being undertaken to provide alerts to drivers of potential dangerous situations, such as traffic incidents & violations.
Additional research is being carried out to examine the potential for automatic safety systems, such as the pre-deployment of air bags.
This research is made possible by GPS.
GPS is an essential element in the future of ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems).
ITS is comprised of a range of communications-based information and electronics technologies.
Research is being undertaken in the area of automated driver assistance systems, in conjunction with AI.
These systems include road departure as well as lane change collision avoidance systems.
Highly accurate GPS is essential to determine the position of a vehicle position relative to its lane, as well as the road edge.
Such technology requires an accuracy of 10 centimetres; an accuracy which is now possible within the past few years thanks to multiple GNSS and their interoperability.
As GPS advances, we can expect even more effective systems for crash prevention, distress alerts and position notification, electronic mapping, and navigation in-vehicle.