Traffic Management and IoT in Smart Cities Infrastructure

Nowadays Smart Cities are using a wide range of advanced technologies to manage traffic signals, video cameras, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers, and more. The number of these connected components is increasing with the growth of modern transportation systems. The arrival of connected vehicle technologies demands maximum network bandwidth and high availability of communications. Also, the Department of Transportation consistently upgrades its traffic management solutions that help to improve infrastructure, increase revenue, reduce complexity, and ensure its mission-critical traffic systems operate seamlessly. 

Fortunately, modern technologies such as IoT sensor-embedded devices can relay data from traffic, and roadside lights to central platforms to ease traffic congestion. The (Internet of Things) IoT-based smart city solutions are supporting cities in promoting modern economic development, improving city infrastructure & optimizing the usage of public resources. 

Need for Traffic Management in Smart Cities

As Cities are experiencing ongoing population growth around the world which results in stressed municipal infrastructure. The problem of Traffic congestion in smart cities is continuously increasing. According to the global leader in car services and mobility analytics INRIX, the average American driver lost almost 100 hours every year due to congestion. Also, drivers lost up to 191 hours in traffic before the pandemic. Increasing growth in cities also increases demand to meet sustainability goals that result in leading cities to evaluate traffic management strategies. 

According to  Juniper Research, Smart Traffic Management Systems could save cities $277 billion, reducing emissions and congestion by 2025. Traffic Management Systems enable municipalities to integrate their traffic cabinets and intersections for fast, cost-effective improvements and traffic flow in smart cities. Smart Traffic Management Systems can create huge efficiencies and cost savings in smart cities’ infrastructure expenses and also improves system reliability. 

Integration of smart traffic technology helps in the better performance of the system’s existing infrastructure and reduces costs. 

Role of IoT in Smart Traffic Management Systems

According to Grand View Research, the global IoT device management market is expected to grow $5.1 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 28.3%. In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become the basis for intelligent digital solutions that lack in the logistics transportation system. IoT-Sensors in vehicles enable V2C (vehicle-to-vehicle communication) and V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure communication) that can alert traffic management authorities in real time about the traffic congestion problem.  

Parking availability is one of the vital components of IoT-driven traffic management efficiencies. IoT sensors help vehicles in accessing real-time information about availability, pay for parking in advance, and use assets efficiently in garages and other parking areas. GPS systems in the driver’s vehicle direct drivers to the closest parking spots which save both time and fuel.  

Using IoT, smart cities can impose tolls and make them more granular according to the travel area and time of travelling. IoT- Sensors in the car also record where the vehicle travels to calculate tolls. Smart traffic signals exchange data about traffic congestion and vehicular movement feed on IoT technology. Sensors embedded in traffic lights not only relay information about real-time traffic conditions but also monitor surrounding areas for traffic congestion. 

Challenges of IoT in Traffic Management Systems of Smart Cities

Though IoT technology offers a forefront opportunity in the traffic management system, it comes with certain limitations that cannot be ignored. The following are critical challenges that could arise while integrating IoT into the smart traffic management system:  

1. Privacy Concern – It is known that the IoT is all about interconnected devices that are expected to grow exponentially. This makes it imperative for systems to protect their sensitive data and networks. According to HP, 70% of the most popular Internet of Things (IoT) devices contain serious vulnerabilities. 

2. Data Accuracy – Sensors can be prone to provide inaccurate data during adverse weather conditions that can cause the situation of high traffic conditions. 

3. Inefficiency towards Traffic Hazards – As most of the IoT-dependent machines are unable to detect real-time traffic hazards, leading to complete work failure of the system as it becomes of no use at that moment and it may take hours to update the system with that information.  

4. High-Tech Network Infrastructure- High-tech solutions require high speed to transfer the data techniques. The proliferation of IoT devices makes it necessary for systems to work with larger data capacity and there is a need to manage more IP addresses that increase the workload of IT teams. This means a really good network infrastructure is required for IoT devices. 

5. Increased investments – The adoption of IoT technology helps in reducing costs and lead to operational optimizations. But the integration of these technologies requires a significant investment. There is a need of incurring expenses associated with network infrastructure that is directly connected to IoT devices. 

The IoT technology in traffic management largely depends on the ability in the successful examination and collection of data as well as to gather insights from a constantly evolving set of IoT sensors. 


Traffic congestion is a crucial aspect that showcases the smart city’s efficiency status. Many other limitations can come to light as IoT increases its potential in the traffic management system. 

But cities that are planning to integrate IoT in their traffic management systems need to prevail over basic infrastructure problems that can be anything from road planning and zoning to construction-related issues. Otherwise, it will create complexities in implementing IoT technological devices. To implement IoT devices, it is very crucial to have a high-speed data transfer system in any place. 

If smart cities evolve with the aforesaid changes, then IoT will surely play a key role in the development and integration of the smart traffic management system in smart cities. 

Echelon Edge

Pallavi Yadav

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