One of the very first things that generally comes to mind when most people think of a city is traffic. Thick, heavy traffic and congestion, in fact. Public transportation has helped significantly reduce traffic in most large cities, but it continues to be a fairly significant pain point, with parking being next. 

With the population of most cities rising, land that has traditionally been used for vast parking lots or even parking structures is now in high demand for housing, making less space available for parking. Thankfully, technology is also helping to not only help traffic in large cities run more smoothly and efficiently, but it is also helping to decrease the need for parking. One of the most prevalent technologies assisting this process is the Internet of Things. Here are five ways how the Internet of Things (IoT) will change the face of modern cities.

1. Rideshare services

Public transportation can significantly reduce city congestion, but it is often time-consuming and doesn’t take you right where you need to be. Taxis are much more efficient and help cut down traffic, but they are both expensive and often in short supply. Rideshare services, however, utilize GPS tracking with smartphone apps that allow almost anyone to put their car into use for a few hours as a taxi of sorts. Not only does this cut down on the need for parking, but it also reduces traffic, since one car can carry multiple people to various locations instead of each person  having to bring their own car.

2. Faster and more efficient parking

In most large cities, drivers spend anywhere from six to fifteen minutes just driving around looking for parking. That adds up to 35 to 105 hours per year that drivers are spending just looking for a parking space. In addition, studies have actually shown that when one driver is waiting for another driver to leave a parking space, that driver actually takes longer to vacate that space. New connected meters will allow drivers to use an app that will tell them exactly where and when a space becomes available, eliminating the need to drive around looking for one.

3. Better public transportation

One of the many difficulties with public transportation is simply how confusing it can be to get from Point A to Point B in many large cities. Google Maps integrates public transportation information directly into the app, allowing riders to get a detailed picture of exactly what they need to do to reach their destinations. No matter how many transfers they need to take, GPS from both their phone and public vehicles show them exactly where they are and exactly where their ride is.

4. More efficient traffic

Smart traffic systems can communicate with each other to better direct the flow of traffic. If it is slow or congested in one area, smart signage helps redirect traffic to an open route, which helps reduce congestion and even pollution. Traffic systems even communicate directly with most map apps to help the apps themselves reroute traffic and alleviate congestion in busier areas.

5. Better building management

While traffic may remain one of the most prevalent problems in cities, the cities themselves are also a major drain of resources and contribute significantly to a number of environmental problems. Smart buildings, however, will use IoT technology to create more efficient energy management. Smart windows can darken or lighten to help manage light and reduce energy usage. When the sun is brightest, the windows can darken to help cooling systems operate more efficiently. When it’s cloudy, they can lighten to let in available light. Smartphone tracking will also help increase heat or cooling in rooms getting used heavily and decrease heat or cooling in lightly used areas.