Top 5 Transportation Trends to Watch in 2021

Indisputably, 2020 brought big changes to the transportation industry and its models of operations. With the pandemic, people traveled less causing transportations agencies to pivot and adjust budgets. Despite the tremendous effects of COVID-19 on the global economy, the transportation industry remains dynamic with projects moving forward and the influence of cutting-edge technology. 

Here are 5 significant trends set to transform the transportation industry in 2021:

Transportation Digitalization 

The word digitalization is not a novel trend, but it keeps evolving and progressing each year. Transportation companies implement technologically advanced practices to digitally grow their administration, contracting, production, and other operations in order to improve their profitability. In addition, digitalization helps simplify processes, and tapping into the new talents that have been educated with the latest engineering concepts boosts the transportation industry overall.

V2X Communication

In the upcoming future, all vehicles will seamlessly exchange relevant data virtually, such as speed and location, in real-time in order to improve safety and mobility. Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) wireless communication will make it possible. 

Since V2X requires a secure spectrum to operate on, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled in November 2020 to reshape the 75 megahertz of the 5.9 gigahertz band for cellular V2X (C-V2X) communication. C-V2X is V2X communication with two transmission models. The first enables direct communication between vehicles, pedestrians, and infrastructure via their smartphone using the 6.9 gigahertz band. The second allows vehicles to interact with the cloud network, obtaining alerts about accidents up ahead, available parking spots, and more via 5G LTE cellular technology. 

Global Market Insights estimates the worldwide C-V2X market to hit $1 billion by 2026. The strongest players in the automotive industry, like Volkswagen, Ford, and BMW, plan to incorporate C-V2X into their future cars. 

Environmental Considerations 

With the rising issue of global warming and climate change and their global impacts, consumers have become more environmentally conscious. Many individuals would choose an environmentally friendly product over a non-environmental one even if they have the same functionality. This trend is relevant in the transportation industry as well. Electric or hybrid cars are seen as better options for the environment, emitting less carbon emissions than fuel-reliant vehicles. 

Touchless Activation

Thousands of people touch the push buttons on pedestrian crossing systems each day making them hotspots for the spread of viruses and bacteria. With the focus on reducing the spread of germs and viruses, it is no surprise that touchless activation options are expected to grow in popularity in 2021.

Heavy Reliance on Data Analytics 

Data analytics is one of the leading business tools to examine, interpret, and analyze consumer trends. Studying and scrutinizing data empowers transportation companies to make informed choices and decisions that reflect market conditions. Relying on data will continue to help transportation agencies craft better strategies and improve their offerings of products and services to customers.

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority is always focused on driving innovation and improving mobility and safety throughout the Tampa Bay region. Our agency was the first to offer all-electronic tolling, drastically reducing the carbon emissions in our region, and has been working with national governmental agencies, state legislators, and local business and governmental agencies to implement connected vehicle technology with the THEA CV Pilot. 

Bringing the USDOT Connected Vehicle Pilot to Tampa in 2015 was a tremendous step forward for the Tampa Bay region in advancing connected technology. The THEA CV Pilot was the only program in the country implementing real-time data, V2I and V2V communications to help the USDOT study the safety potential of connected technology. During the pilot, alerts warned 14 wrong-way drivers on the REL ramp, helped drivers avoid 9 potential crashes, and gave approximately 1,500-speed advisories a month on the Selmon Expressway exit ramp.

As we embark on 2021, THEA will continue to be an economic driver for our community enhancing the technological, environmental, and economic prosperity of Tampa Bay.