And they’re being used in cities throughout the U.S. right now.

By Ken Philmus, Senior Vice President, Transportation, Central and Local Government, Xerox

Imagine a world where you never have to stop for a toll again. A world in which finding the perfect parking space is as simple as a click of a button, or getting through rush hour traffic congestion is a breeze. This may sound like some kind of commuter bizzaro world – a transportation “utopia” of sorts. In fact, it’s real. And it’s happening today in various cities throughout the U.S.

  • Parking Apps and Pay-by-Phone Meters: Los Angeles is the only city in the U.S. adjusting parking rates automatically based on an algorithm that crunches usage and availability rates. This scientific approach takes the guesswork out of parking management and helps commuters find parking easier via mobile parking apps and display signs. And in Indianapolis, commuters are using an app called ParkMobile. The app remembers a driver’s space number, alerts them when their time is up and allows them to add more time and pay the fee from their smartphone.
  • Making Transportation SimpleExpress Lanes/HOT Lanes: Little funding to widen and/or build new highways means states need to find alternatives like HOT lanes (High Occupancy Toll lanes) to reduce congestion. These special lanes allow commuters to maintain a free-flowing average speed, even in the heaviest of traffic based on an algorithm that analyzes highway volume and speed, and adjusts the cost to drive in that lane accordingly.
  • All-Electronic-Tolls: Commuters in Maryland are dramatically reducing their travel times with the opening of the state’s first all-electronic toll road, the Intercounty Connector (ICC). Drivers stay moving at highway speeds rather than slow down or stop to pay fares, allowing traffic to continue moving. In some cases, travel times have been reduced by up to 70 percent by using the ICC versus local roads.
  • Open Fare, Common Ticketing and Contactless Cards: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) is in the process of implementing contactless payment methods so riders can simply tap their bank card or wave their smartphone to board busses and trains, enabling a convenient and secure ride.

Innovation is improving transportation all around the world. So the next time you tap on or off a train or drive through an E-ZPass lane or on one of LA’s ExpressLanes, remember that technology is collecting non-personal data transportation professionals will use to figure out the best ways to overcome your city’s transportation challenges and, ultimately, improve your commute.

(This excerpt is from an article that was originally published on Forbes.)