4 Ways 5G Could Radically Change Transportation in Smart Cities

5G, 5G, 5G – it seems that anywhere you read about the latest developments in wireless networks nowadays, everything is all about 5G

But when it comes down to it, how will 5G – fifth-generation wireless networks – affect our everyday lives?

To get a better idea of how 5G is poised to change the way we live, we’re going to look at one concrete example in today’s post: transportation in smart cities.

Recently, the market research firm IBISWorld published a report detailing how 5G technology may drastically change transportation in cities.

Here’s what they found.

4 Ways 5G Could Radically Change Transportation in Smart Cities

1. 5G could help increase the flow of traffic.

IBISWorld explains that the flow of traffic could increase with help of smart traffic management systems on a 5G network. Traffic signals would change based on the current, real-time traffic patterns, which would be monitored by sensors and cameras.

But this isn’t just a possibility; major cities have already started rolling out such Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives in order to increase their traffic flow.

For example, Kansas City, Mo., installed sensors on streetlights along a 2.2-mile rail line in March 2016. And Carnegie Mellon University’s recent test of smart traffic lights in Pittsburgh, Pa., led to a 26.0% faster commute and a 40.0% reduction in vehicle wait time.

2. Taxi drivers and contract drivers for companies like Lyft and Uber could save money on gas and pick up more passengers.

Just think: with an increased flow of traffic and a reduction in vehicle wait time, drivers could automatically increase their number of pickups.

And not only that, they could possibly save money on gas, too. In the Carnegie Mellon University study in Pittsburgh, for instance, smart traffic lights brought about a decrease in vehicle emissions of 21.0%. 

3. 5G could help decrease commute times.

Who doesn’t get frustrated by commutes to work – especially when you’re stuck in traffic for what feels like forever?

If vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology can be deployed over a 5G network, we could potentially see an increase in how closely cars could travel next to each other (also known as platooning).

With platooning would come an increase in highway capacity and, as a result, decreased commute times (and less headaches!).  

4. We may see a rise in the number of smart, driverless cars.

One other possibility that IBISWorld doesn’t highlight in their report, but has been covered extensively elsewhere is about 5G and smart cars.

You’ve probably heard a lot about driverless cars, but one area we could potentially expect to see them would be in smart cities. And 5G would be the tool for this because of low latency.

As Dayoan Daumont from Ogilvy explains in a recent article with takeaways from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain:

“Smart cities rely on reliable, ultra-speed and automation connections. Imagine a car with windows that double as screens that display augmented experiences of the environment you are in—a city view with real-time full immersive experiences. Not to mention, that car is driving itself, as are the other cars surrounding it. That’s only possible with 5G, and we’re finally getting close to seeing it in real life.”


With 5G networks, the world is ripe with possibility. From smart homes to smart cars to smart traffic systems, we could potentially see many industries transformed – including transportation in smart cities.