Chris Holmes, Transport Programme Director at West Midlands 5G, explores the imperative role of 5G in transport, offering an insight into the many ways in which connectivity can revolutionise our transport systems.

 Following the pandemic, we have seen a significant return to the roads, whether for a family day out or just the regular commute back into the office. According to the Department for Transport, by the end of May 2021 road traffic in the UK had returned to pre-pandemic levels, up 101% from February 2020. 

 With the world reopening and the roads getting busier again, naturally congestion and pollution are on the rise. The transport sector produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other – in 2019, 27% of the UK’s total emissions came from transport, 91% of which was produced directly by vehicles. 

It’s clear that something needs to be done to reduce congestion and its impact on both the environment and individuals. The inconvenience and unpredictability of being stuck in traffic is an unwanted issue, wasting time and resources; in 2018, it was estimated that road congestion cost the UK economy £8 billion.  

By enhancing the connectivity of our transport systems – from road to rail – we have the capability to improve the accessibility, safety, efficiency, and quality of travel. Through its low latency, high capacity and reliability, 5G technology may be the key to increased visibility and control over transportation systems. 

At West Midlands 5G (WM5G), our core challenge is to find solutions to ease traffic congestion, navigate the changing post-covid environment and make transport more attractive and accessible. 

By delivering end-to-end connectivity solutions, 5G can support transport authorities by increasing their understanding of their systems and how people use their networks through tracking and reporting live data. Advanced connectivity, whether it be vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure, supports operational efficiency improvements of the overall system, and produces many benefits for travellers. 

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