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60 3.2 Emerging Technologies In addition to evaluating the extent to which the emerg- ing technologies would impact systems and functions per- 3.2.1 Methodology formed by public transportation agencies, the project team The methodology for researching and evaluating emerging evaluated the extent to which the emerging technologies information technologies for public transportation consisted might help address major transit challenges or enable hypo- of two major components: (1) identification of emerging thesized transit advances. Both the list of challenges and list technologies and (2) determination of their potential value to of advances were assembled primarily on the basis of the public transportation. The identification of emerging tech- cumulative perspective and experience of the research team. nologies drew upon a wide range of sources, including the In identifying challenges or problems, the research team following: drew heavily on their experience conducting technology- related needs studies for public transportation agencies. The · Published transit and transportation reports. "anticipated major advances" are those developments that · Transportation industry conference proceedings. many practitioners and technology futurists consider likely · Workshop materials, presentations, memoranda, and other to appear in some form, at some time in the future, but internal public transportation agency materials. which are presently undeveloped enough that the specific · Related activities carried out by members of the project team, nature of the enabling technology and the timing of its ap- including the research and technology transfer work per- pearance remain unclear. Identification of anticipated ad- formed by Battelle for the National Aeronautics and Space vances also included a facilitated focus group with members Administration (NASA); technology projects conducted on of the research team and other Battelle technology specialists behalf of local transit agencies; and TCRP and FTA studies, and futurists. The list of challenges and list of advances are including the FTA Strategic Transit Research Plan. not intended to be all encompassing, but rather to capture · A wide range of industry and general interest technology most of the most important challenges and advances. Chal- periodicals and periodical features, including Passenger lenges that are not directly addressable with technology were Transport, the annual feature stories on "10 Emerging Tech- not included, nor were advances that would require, or be nologies" in MIT's Technology Review, and Wired magazine's the result of, any significant changes in basic public trans- annual "NextFest" coverage. portation paradigms, e.g., widespread privatization. Table 5 Table 5. Major challenges. Challenge Comments 1. Reduce fuel and labor costs, Reducing costs per unit of service provided is critical for including vehicle operation, many reasons, including to survive possible threats to maintenance-related labor, and federal funding, to compete with other transportation customer service-related labor. alternatives (including privately operated services), and to enable more and better service. 2. Meet the needs of an aging and The large, aging Baby Boomer generation has high increasingly diverse (non-English expectations for travel and is more mobile than seniors of speaking) population. prior generations. 3. Increase transit mode split to make In most places, public transportation's share of total trips transit an integral and effective or ability to shift travel from personal automobiles is not means to reduce traffic congestion high enough to make transit an effective tool to combat the by improving currently very high and growing levels of urban traffic travel time competitiveness congestion. In order to attract significantly more amenities customers, especially away from personal automobiles, reliability agencies will need to address traditional concerns, such as personal security travel time; "hassles" with fare payment; "confusion" among riders unfamiliar with routes, schedules, and fares; service integration and lack of flexibility. service planning convenience 4. Develop and retain technology- Many public transportation agencies cannot currently offer savvy staff. competitive salaries for positions requiring skills in advanced technology and/or do not provide an organizational culture conducive to developing or retaining superior technology skills. 5. Cost-effectively serve suburban Lower development densities (compared to urban cores) and rural environments. and "many-to-many" origin and destination patterns make it very difficult to cost-effectively provide high levels of service.
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61 Table 6. Anticipated major advances. Advance Comments 1. Automated vehicle operation and This could reduce labor costs, improve safety, maintenance, including driverless reduce vehicle down-time, and potentially operation in non-dedicated rights-of-way reduce congestion by allowing for shorter following (e.g., in mixed traffic). distances. This advance includes vehicles that diagnose and repair themselves (via supporting robotic or other autonomous maintenance systems). 2. A major fuel/propulsion system "break- A significantly cheaper and/or cleaner alternative to through." today's commercially viable approaches (diesel, gasoline, natural gas, etc.) that can be widely applied. 3. Ubiquitous, accurate, and real-time, Information on customers would include detailed, information on, and for, customers. accurate, automatically collected information on historic travel patterns (both aggregate and for individual customers) as well as real-time location and trip itineraries. This advance includes not only the data itself but powerful, easy-to-use systems for data analysis. Information for customers would be personalized, essentially accessible anywhere, very accurate, real-time, and provide comprehensive modal options with cost and travel time comparisons. 4. Truly dynamic, seamlessly integrated Such a high degree of integration that a customer (across modes, services, and agencies) might not even know they are using multiple service. services. This would include the following: complete integration of service (seamless transfers); a single payment media/mechanism and transaction; and a single, comprehensive source for customer service and information. Service would be dynamic in the sense of current demand-response services but at a much larger scale and requiring no advance reservations. 5. Ubiquitous, highly effective, and highly This advance would feature unobtrusive, highly automated security screening, effective technologies that provide for a very high surveillance, and response. level of safety and security at facilities and on vehicles. This advance would effectively eliminate traditional fears or concerns on the part of many transit customers and non-customers about their personal safety and security. presents the list of challenges and Table 6 presents the antic- pated transit advances identified by the research team (listed ipated major advances. in Tables 5 and 6, respectively). An additional key criterion in evaluating emerging technolo- gies was that they not be currently in use, even on a demonstra- 220.127.116.11 Large-Scale Adoption of Hybrid-Electric tion basis, by public transportation agencies (one exception Transit Buses was made to this criterion, as described in Section 3.2.2). On the other end of the development timeline, technologies un- Explanation of hybrid-electric transit buses. For this likely to be commercially viable within 10 years were elimi- technology, an exception was made to the "no deployed tech- nated from consideration. nologies" selection criterion described in the methodology (Section 3.2.1)--about 700 hybrid-electric buses are now in operation in North America, including in New York City and 3.2.2 Five High-Potential Technologies King County, Washington.89 to Watch From among the dozens of technologies considered, five technologies were selected as having the greatest potential for 89 R. Barnitt and K. Chandler, New York City Transit (NYCT) Hybrid (125 Order) public transportation. These high-potential technologies are and CNG Transit Buses, Final Evaluation Results, NREL/TP-540-40125 (Washing- described in the sections that follow. Each description in- ton, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, November 2006); King County Depart- ment of Transportation, "News from King County Transportation," press release cludes an explanation of what the technology is and how the (Seattle, WA: May 27, 2004), www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/news/2004/nr040527_ technology relates to the major transit challenges and antici- hybrids.htm.
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62 The exception was made because of the very dramatic im- able within 15 years, an achievement that will require improve- pact that widespread adoption of this technology is expected ments, for example, in hydrogen storage and production and fuel cell costs.92 to have on most bus operators. Proliferation of this technol- ogy will impact most transit agencies at least as much as the other truly "new" technologies described here. Also, there are The prognosis for transit vehicles fueled directly by hydro- a number of emerging energy storage technologies that will gen (as opposed to hydrogen fuel cells) is even less optimistic, benefit and hasten hybrid adoption. Finally, the extensive on- as there are serious doubts about whether hydrogen will ever board computer systems associated with hybrids create great be a feasible fuel for vehicles.93 potential for more extensive on-board monitoring than is The feasibility and benefits of hybrid-electric buses, on the possible with diesel or compressed natural gas vehicles. other hand, have been well established in field deployments, In the last several years, high fuel costs, concern about the and these vehicles have moved beyond demonstration into dependence on foreign oil, and concern about air quality have commercial production.94 Hybrid-electrics do not require a heightened interest in alternative fuel sources and propulsion new fueling infrastructure; demonstrate improved accelera- systems for public transportation. There is considerable dis- tion, reduced noise and vibration, and less brake wear and agreement among experts regarding which fuel/propulsion maintenance; are comparable to or better than compressed technologies will become widely adopted and, especially, when natural gas and diesel buses in the output of regulated emis- they will become adopted. However, it is the opinion of many sions; and are demonstrating 10 percent to 50 percent better experts that within 10 years, hybrid-electric heavy-duty tran- fuel economy. There are a number of major challenges asso- sit vehicles are the most likely fuel/propulsion technology to ciated with hybrid-electrics, however. These include high significantly penetrate and benefit public transportation. A capital costs for the vehicles (60 percent to 80 percent higher few areas with truly extreme air quality concerns, namely in than comparable diesel buses) and the high cost and uncer- California, continue to move forward rapidly in the develop- tain lifespan of batteries. ment and demonstration of fuel cell buses.90 However, in There are several emerging technologies in the area of en- areas with less dire air quality conditions, the high cost of fuel ergy storage (e.g., batteries) that hold promise for addressing cells and major hydrogen production challenges are likely to some of the battery-related concerns with hybrid-electric tran- delay any significant penetration of public transportation by sit buses and thus could increase the rate of hybrid-electric fuel cells to beyond the 10-year horizon, if ever. According to transit bus adoption. Battery advances include several im- one FTA report: provements on conventional lithium ion batteries that will reduce cost, increase electrical current, and improve safety. fuel cells are seen as the long-term goal by many . . . although One such advance is the lithium iron phosphate battery, re- there are some in the transit world who see fuel cells as unlikely cently debuted in a line of power tools and expected to have to ever be commercially viable for transit. For those who see application to hybrid-electric vehicles. The lithium iron phos- them as the long-term solution for vehicle propulsion, the time- phate battery would be one-fifth the weight of today's hybrid frame for commercial products is seen as 10 years at a minimum, vehicle batteries; could withstand 10 times more recharging; with perhaps commercial fuel cells not being available for an- could be recharged much more quickly; and, being very chem- other 20 years.91 ically stable, would be much less likely to leak or explode.95 These batteries also hold the potential for making "plug-in" And another source has commented that hybrid vehicles--vehicles with batteries that can be recharged by plugging them into a wall socket--much more feasible.96 fuel cells, while a promising technology, could take more than 50 years to have a significant impact on gasoline consumption Another promising improvement to lithium ion batteries uses . . . The estimates assume that competitive fuel cells will be avail- lithium, nickel, and manganese and provides much greater 90 92 K. Chandler and L. Eudy, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and K. Bullis, "Hydrogen Reality Check," Technology Review (May 5, 2005), San Mateo County Transit District, Fuel Cell Transit Buses: Evaluation Results, www.technologyreview.com/Energy/16777/. NREL/TP-560-40615 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, November 93 D. Appell, "Hydrogen Hype," Technology Review (October 12, 2004), www. 2006); WestStart-CALSTART, "FTA Provides Funding for Advanced Fuel Cell trblogs.com/blog/post.aspx?bid=293&bpid=15343; D. Talbot, "BMW's Hydro- Bus Projects to CALSTART," press release (October 12, 2006), www.calstart.org/ gen Hopes," Technology Review (September 22, 2006), www.technologyreview. aboutus/nl_detail.php?id=87. com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=transportation&id=17526&a=f. 91 94 Chandler and Eudy, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. L. Callaghan and S. Lynch, Analysis of Electric Drive Technologies for Transit Applications: Battery-Electric, Hybrid-Electric, and Fuel Cells, FTA-MA-26-7100- 95 K. Bullis, "More Powerful Batteries," Technology Review (November 21, 2005), 05.1, prepared by the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium for the FTA, U.S. www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=15913&ch=nanotech. DOT (Washington, D.C.: August 2005), www.navc.org/Electric_Drive_Bus_ 96 K. Bullis, "Making Electric Vehicles Practical," Technology Review (November Analysis.pdf. 29, 2006), www.technologyreview.com/Nanotech/17837/.
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63 storage capacity.97 Ultracapacitors or supercapacitors are in theory, metallic nanotubes (carbon nanotubes are either emerging alternatives to batteries that have the potential to metallic or semiconductors) can have an electrical current be 10 times more powerful than batteries and actually outlive density more than 1,000 times greater than metals such as sil- a vehicle. A recent breakthrough is the use of carbon nanotubes, ver and copper. There have been breakthroughs in both ap- a nanotechnology (see Section 18.104.22.168) that increases the sur- plications for carbon nanotube technology and processes for face area of electrodes and thereby the ability to store energy.98 manufacturing them. An example of an emerging application Finally, in addition to the emerging energy storage tech- is quantum wires, wires spun from carbon nanotubes that nologies, there are aspects of hybrid-electric bus technology could carry electricity farther and more efficiently and trans- that increase the potential of additional technology applica- form the electrical power grid.99 Such an advance could re- tions. Specifically, the complex and extensive on-board com- duce the cost of electricity for transit. puter monitoring system required in hybrids creates oppor- Another carbon nanotube application is universal memory. tunities to do much more extensive on-board monitoring than Universal memory is an ultradense, low-power data storage is now possible. A current constraint on such monitoring is the medium that encodes bits using the physical orientation of lack of a single, comprehensive on-board monitoring system. nanoscale structures rather than using an electric charge on a Most current vehicle component monitoring systems have circuit element, as with conventional electronic memory. This their own configuration and cannot easily be integrated. technology could eventually allow a much greater amount of data to be stored on computers and mobile devices.100 For ex- Relationship to major transit challenges and anticipated ample, experts estimate that within 20 years the contents of transit advances. The expected major shift to hybrid-electric all the DVDs ever made could be stored on a laptop com- buses, spurred by continuing advances in energy storage tech- puter. Such dramatic computer memory advances will im- nologies, obviously relates most closely to the "major fuel/ pact a wide range of transit computing applications: schedul- propulsion system `break-through' " major advance listed in ing, dispatch, customer information, on-board diagnostics and Table 6. In terms of addressing transit challenges listed in computerized maintenance systems, and still-emerging tran- Table 5, this technology fits most closely with the "reduce fuel sit applications of robotic and virtual reality technologies. and labor costs" challenge, although cost savings in fuel (due Emerging technologies that are facilitating the manufac- to greater fuel economy) might very well be offset by higher ture of carbon nanotubes, thus speeding the benefits of nano- vehicle purchase and maintenance costs. tube technology applications, include an etching process that can be integrated with the methods used to carve out tradi- 22.214.171.124 Nanotechnology tional silicon-based computer chips.101 There are a number of nanotechnology developments that Explanation of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is an hold the potential to dramatically increase the cost-effectiveness area of applied science and technology that covers a wide range of solar power, providing transit a non-polluting and renew- of topics and entails controlling and exploiting the structure of able energy alternative. For example, Nanosolar, a startup matter on a scale below 100 nanometers. There are a number in Palo Alto, California, has developed a way to mass produce of nanoelectronic applications, ranging from those that make thin-film solar cells using an affordable printing technology solar power cost-effective to those that will greatly increase similar to the kind used to print newspapers.102 Other re- the power and reduce the size and power consumption of searchers have developed "quantum dots" from heated microprocessors. The potential benefits to transit, especially silicon that can be used to make ultra-efficient solar of the more powerful microprocessors, are significant and cells.103 A sign of the increasing viability of solar power is cover a wide range of applications, including office computing, sensing, and two-way exchange of information with customers. Many of the potential advances associated with nano- technology utilize carbon nanotubes, cylindrical arrays of 99 E. Jonietz, "10 Emerging Technologies Special Report: Quantum Wires," Tech- individual carbon molecules that are very strong and excep- nology Review (May 2005), www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch= infotech&sc=&id=14407&pg=2. tionally good conductors of heat and electricity. For example, 100 T. Huang, "10 Emerging Technologies Special Report: Universal Memory," Technology Review (May 2005), www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch= infotech&sc=&id=14407&pg=6. 101 P. Patel-Predd, "A Step Closer to Nanotube Computers," Technology Review 97 K. Bullis, "Battery Breakthrough," Technology Review (February 21, 2006), (November 2006), www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx? www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=16384. id=17785. 98 P. Fairley, "Ultrahybrid," Technology Review (September 2001), www.technology 102 K. Bullis, "Large-Scale, Cheap Solar Electricity," Technology Review (June 23, review.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=12558; K. Bullis, "The Ultra 2006), www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=17025. Battery," Technology Review (February 13, 2006), www.technologyreview.com/ 103 K. Greene, "More Efficient Solar Cells," Technology Review (October 26, printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=16326. 2006), www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=17664.
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64 Google's conversion of its headquarters to run partly on solar ware tracks data from three sensors: one that detects the flow power.104 of electrical current to the brake actuator, a second that tracks the actuator's position, and a third that measures its clamp- Relationship to major transit challenges and anticipated ing force. The software analyzes those inputs to detect faults transit advances. Nanotechnology is having, and will con- and alert drivers to the need for service. tinue to have, dramatic impacts throughout society and will almost certainly play an important part in nearly all of the an- Relationship to major transit challenges and anticipated ticipated major transit advances. These advances include in- transit advances. In regard to anticipated major transit ad- creasing automation of vehicle operations, ubiquitous in- vances, the greatest impact of mechatronics is likely to be in formation exchange with customers, seamless integration of enabling increasing levels of automation in vehicle operation. services, and ubiquitous security screening and surveillance. Among the transit problems, mechatronics' greatest potential Further, nanotechnology will likely help agencies meet the may lie in its ability to minimize operating costs by improv- needs of older and non-English speaking customers and pro- ing maintenance effectiveness. mote transit ridership by improving convenience and security. 126.96.36.199 Speech Recognition and 188.8.131.52 Mechatronics Language Translation Explanation of mechatronics. Mechatronics entails the Explanation of speech recognition and language trans- integration of traditional mechanical systems with electronic lation. Speech recognition and automated language trans- components and intelligent software control. The term refers lation have been around for some time but the problem has to the synergy achieved through the integration of mechani- been that they often do not work very well. In the case of cal, electronic, and information technologies. Examples of speech recognition, systems like airline and banking IVR this integration in vehicle brakes include replacing hydraulic systems perform very well only when there are a limited cylinders with electromechanical actuators, replacing brake number of potential user inputs. The poor performance of fluid lines with wires, and using software that will mediate be- automated language translators is apparent to anyone with tween the driver's foot and the action that slows the vehicle. much experience with online translators like AltaVista's Increasingly, researchers are coming to believe that mecha- Babel Fish (http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr). Translating the tronic systems can be made much safer and effective than tra- phrase "Which bus should I take to get to the Downtown ditional mechanical systems. A large part of the safety benefit Transit Center and when will it arrive?" from English to derives from the ability to build in fault diagnoses and fault Korean and then back to English yields "Me other Oh! tolerance. Essentially, linking mechanical systems of the type under it boils which bus it gets in the feeling mobile center found throughout transit vehicles with electronic systems and to respect it time it arrives to respect?" When voice unlocks the potential to monitor and optimize the perfor- recognition is combined with language translation, the chal- mance of the systems using sophisticated computers. lenges are compounded. The potential benefit to public transportation of the contin- There are a number of advances underway in speech ued evolution of mechatronic systems is significant. Such sys- recognition and language translation that are expected to tems could improve fuel economy, performance, safety, and significantly improve performance. Fast, highly accurate maintenance. Mechatronics also plays a central role in a wide speech recognition and language translation could revolu- range of vehicle safety systems that link electronic sensor data tionize many aspects of public transportation operations, with actuation of mechanical systems like steering and brakes. including the way transit passengers interact with cus- Thus, mechatronics are critical in the evolution toward a heav- tomer information systems to perform complex operations ily computer-assisted, or even autonomous, transit bus. like itinerary planning. Advances could also improve the An example of a recent innovation in mechatronics is the interfaces between transit personnel and the many com- development of software by a German university that identi- puterized systems they interact with both on board and in fies and corrects for flaws in real time, thereby improving the the office. Improvements in language translation could performance of mechatronic braking systems.105 The soft- greatly enhance transit's ability to provide quality service to the increasing number of customers who have limited 104 Associated Press, "Google to Convert HQ to Solar Power," Boston.com (October English skills. 16, 2006), www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2006/10/16/google_to_convert_ One example of recent advances in voice activation is the hq_to_solar_power/. 105 "10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World: Mechatronics," Tech- research that Nokia and MIT are conducting to teach cell nology Review (February 2003), www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_ phones to take commands in natural language, that is, teach- article.aspx?id=13060. ing cell phones to understand and respond to written com-
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65 mands typed in English.106 Nokia's natural language technol- is IBM. The intent is for the translation system to listen to TV ogy utilizes a software system developed at MIT that interprets broadcasts or phone conversations and read websites in Ara- human questions and finds answers using websites. The soft- bic and Chinese, translate them into English, and summarize ware is unique because it interprets human language rather the key elements. than looking for keywords. The key to the interpretation is the breakdown of English sentences into components: ob- Relationship to major transit challenges and anticipated jects, properties, and values. When perfected, the Nokia-MIT transit advances. Anticipated breakthroughs in speech system will vastly simplify user interfaces with handheld de- recognition and language translation would most directly vices, like cell phones, allowing users to access many func- impact the anticipated major transit advances associated with tions and make complicated requests without wading through ubiquitous two-way information exchange with customers layers of menus. The language commands will also enable and seamlessly integrated, dynamic transit services. In terms people to have their various technologies communicate with of transit problems and challenges, these technologies hold other devices. For instance, an individual could tell his/her the greatest potential in the areas of meeting the needs of aging phone to retrieve route and schedule information from a and non-English speaking customers and in reducing cus- transit website, and the phone would automatically coordi- tomer service labor costs. To a somewhat lesser extent, these nate the information transfer. technologies would contribute to improvements in conven- Google is also contributing to the advances in voice activa- ience that could translate into increases ridership/mode split. tion and speech recognition.107 Google was recently granted a patent for a voice-enabled search engine and has hired several 184.108.40.206 Pervasive Wireless and Cognitive Radio well-known speech-recognition specialists, developments that suggest that a new product is in development. Google's voice Explanation of pervasive wireless and cognitive radio. search patent takes a handful of word and phrase possibilities Pervasive wireless describes a future condition when a wide and runs them through the powerful Google search engines. range of mobile, radio-equipped devices--cell phones, com- Rather than relying on perfect voice recognition accuracy, the puters, and various sensors--will be able to form ad hoc voice-enabled search engine relies on Google's powerful search communications networks.110 Cognitive radio is one of algorithm to focus on the most likely possibilities. the methods for doing so. Cognitive radio and the broader Google is also developing techniques for translating lan- promise of a pervasive wireless network would revolution- guages and has earned high marks for accuracy in National In- ize transit agencies' ability to communicate with their cus- stitute of Standards and Technology challenges.108 The Google tomers, with their various mobile and fixed assets, and with approach isolates short sequences of words and then searches the assets of other transit agencies. current translations to see how those sequences have been Among the advances supporting the development of per- translated before. The system finds several different transla- vasive wireless is the development of a radio test grid by tions and identifies the most probable translation--again, Rutgers University. The grid allows researchers to evaluate leveraging the powerful statistical approach that drives Google's alternative methods for forming the ad hoc networks that en- web search engine. able pervasive wireless communications. The Rutgers radio The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grid is the first large-scale shared research facility for study- is leading a major effort to improve machine language trans- ing multiple wireless devices and network technologies. One lation that incorporates speech recognition, translation, and of the primary challenges to be overcome is that different meaning summarization.109 DARPA's aim is to create a real- devices communicate using different radio standards: RFID time translation software called GALE, for Global Autonomous tags use one set of standards, cell phones another, and Wi-Fi Language Exploitation. DARPA has engaged three teams, or devices yet another standard. Standardization of protocols, "contestants," to work separately on the project, one of which enabled by advances such as the Rutgers radio test grid, is a key step in the ultimate realization of pervasive wireless. Cognitive radio is a way to maximize the limited band- 106 K. Bourzac, "Nokia Phones Go to Natural Language Class," Technology Review width--radio spectrum--available for wireless data commu- (April 27, 2006), www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx? nication, an increasingly necessary strategy given the rapidly id=16745. expanding number of wireless devices in use by transit cus- 107 K. Green, "The Search for Voice Activation," Technology Review (April 21, 2006), www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=16725. tomers and transit agencies. The main problem, according 108 S. Ornes, "Not Lost in Translation," Technology Review (November 16, 2006), www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=17793. 109 Associated Press, "Building the Government's Translation Machine, 1 Year at 110 N. Savage, "10 Emerging Technologies Special Report: Pervasive Wireless," a Time." nwi.com (November 4, 2006), http://nwitimes.com/articles/2006/ Technology Review (March/April 2006), www.technologyreview.com/printer_ 11/05/business/business/0335e24cc9e7e0a48625721b0074b699.txt. friendly_article.aspx?id=16476.
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66 to researchers, is not the lack of bandwidth, but the way the 3.2.3 Other Promising Emerging spectrum is used.111 Spectrum is allocated by the Federal Technologies Communications Commission (FCC) into frequency ranges corresponding to various types of devices. At any given time, The five technologies identified in Section 3.2.2 are con- at any given location, a large percentage of a given frequency sidered to have particular potential because they either may be available even though the frequency range is reserved. impact many areas of functionality important to transit-- Cognitive radios figure out which frequencies are available such as nanotechnology (sensing, communications, and data and pick one to transmit and receive data, taking advantage of processing)--or because they are expected to have a partic- locally available bandwidth that may fall outside the range ularly significant impact. There are, however, many addi- officially reserved for the device. tional emerging technologies that, given the inherent unpre- Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, dictability of the future and the challenges of predicting are trying to improve cognitive radio by teaching the devices the timing and nature of technology impacts, may ultimately to negotiate with other devices in their vicinity. In their scheme, be as important to transit. A number of these additional the FCC-designated owner of the spectrum gets priority, technologies are highlighted in this section. but other devices can divide up the unused spectrum among themselves. Because negotiation between the devices itself 220.127.116.11 Flexible Displays and Microprocessors uses up spectrum, the researchers are using rules from "game theory"--a type of mathematical modeling used to find opti- Transit travelers have expressed an interest in viewing more mal solutions--and have designed software that makes the information with better displays on their PDAs. Xerox and devices follow the rules. Rather than telling a neighboring de- E-Ink are developing electronic paper technology, which vice what it is doing, each radio observes what its neighbors will instantly display information on various tablet personal are doing and makes its own decisions. computer-like surfaces in the form of text and graphics. It is Cognitive radios are already becoming commercial. Intel expected that this technology will be available in the next has plans to build reconfigurable chips that will use software 5 years. People currently dependent on PDA screen displays to analyze their environments and select the best protocols can use electronic papers for larger displays of real-time in- and frequencies for data transmission. Nokia is also working formation provided by transit agencies.113 A Japanese en- to incorporate cognitive radio capabilities in their cell phones; terprise, Fujitsu, has already developed bendable color they say that these capabilities would make it possible to electronic paper.114 transfer a movie from your PC to your phone in 2 seconds.112 Related advances include "stretchable silicon," a practice Nokia also recently announced a new short-range wireless that utilizes ultra-thin strips of silicon--only a few hundred technology called Wibree, which is similar to Bluetooth, but nanometers thick--to contain high-performance conforma- consumes less power. Wibree would enable a phone to act ble circuits. This advance will mean that not only can passive like a node in wireless sensor networks, collecting informa- displays be made flexible (e.g., electronic paper), but com- tion such as location, aggregating data from nearby sensors, puter chips themselves can be integrated into fabric-like ma- processing it, and sending it to other sensors and phones via terials that could conform to pliable surfaces.115 This could Wibree or Wi-Fi networks. mean, for example, that communications and sensors, in- cluding sensors for explosives and other security applications, Relationship to major transit challenges and anticipated could be integrated into the seat coverings in a transit vehicle. transit advances. Cognitive radio and its contribution to per- vasive wireless networks have the potential to enable several 18.104.22.168 Improved Vehicle Navigation of the anticipated major transit advances: ubiquitous, real- time, two-way information exchange with customers; dynamic, There are a number of emerging technologies that will ad- seamlessly integrated service; and ubiquitous, highly automated dress current accuracy and signal loss problems with GPSs for security screening, surveillance, and response. In terms of transit. For example, pseudo-satellites, often called pseudo- major challenges faced by transit, these technologies will likely contribute to ridership and mode split increases by improving 113 L. A. Ragaza, "Technologies to Watch: Electronic Paper," PCMag.com convenience, service integration, and personal security. (September 4, 2001), www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,32904,00.asp. 114 Fujitsu, "Fujitsu Develops World's First Film Substrate-Based Bendable Color Electronic Paper Featuring Image Memory Function," press release, www. 111 N. Savage, "10 Emerging Technologies Special Report: Cognitive Radio," fujitsu.com/global/news/pr/archives/month/2005/20050713-01.html. Technology Review (March/April 2006), www.technologyreview.com/read_ 115 K. Greene, "10 Emerging Technologies Special Report: Stretchable Silicon." article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emergingtech&id=16471. Technology Review (March/April 2006), http://www.technologyreview.com/ 112 Ibid. article/16477/.
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67 lites, can help in overcoming such navigation problems.116 transit.121 For example, it could be used to support auto- Pseudolites are ground-based transmitters of GPS-like signals mation of the personalization of passenger information and can help in navigation by either complementing GPS by identifying patterns and preferences reflected in past (compensating for the GPS signal loss) or by completely re- inquiries or travel itineraries. placing the GPS satellite constellation. Alternate research in the field of robotics has identified the possibility of using 22.214.171.124 Silicon Photonics neural network-based tools for navigation. Neural network algorithms determine a vehicle position and angular orienta- Current IT infrastructure provides high-speed Internet tion (direction) of the vehicle with the help of on-board range using a fiber-optic cable network, but the data transfer inside sensors. Range sensors measure the distance between an ob- computer elements is still slow due to copper wire that is used ject and the sensor. This navigation technique does not need within circuits. Faster data communication in and between any external reflector, active beacon, or buried wire, and the computer chips will be achieved by evolution of new tech- system automatically maintains calibration as it moves through nologies such as silicon photonics.122 This technology will the environment.117 offer optical communications between silicon chips instead Another advance from the field of robotics that will help of the current communication through electrical signals. Op- fill GPS signal loss gaps utilizes advanced processing of stereo tical communication will be possible by enabling silicon to video images.118 This advance, not yet published, is being led emit photons. Although photon-based interconnects are ex- by researchers at Sarnoff, in Princeton, New Jersey. The tech- pected to be available in about 5 years, light-wave communi- nology provides excellent accuracy--to within 1 meter after cation between components on the same chip will be possi- 1 /2-kilometer of moving through so-called GPS-denied envi- ble only in the long term. ronments. The approach, which uses four small cameras, is be- Another emerging technology that will increase the speed lieved to represent a five-fold increase in accuracy. Solving the of communications is microfluidic optical fibers. These em- problem of areas of GPS signal loss will facilitate the applica- ploy tiny droplets of fluid inside fiber-optic channels to im- tion of GPS to safety-sensitive applications like lane keeping. A prove data flow, speeding transmission and improving relia- related development in robotic vision that could enable greater bility.123 Fibers are bored with microscopic channels; pumping use of robotics in vehicle and facility maintenance is called in various tiny amounts of fluids can change the properties of selective-attention modeling. In this technique, robots are the fiber, allowing for corrections to error-causing distortions programmed to try to evaluate scenes, as humans are believed and directing data flows more efficiently. This alternative is to do.119 In this approach, robots focus on anomalous sights in cheaper than adding more bandwidth and would allow tran- basically the same way a human brain does when scanning a sit agencies to get the most out of their fiber investments. "what's wrong with this picture?" type of puzzle. 126.96.36.199 Data Security 188.8.131.52 Artificial Intelligence Increased reliance on digital systems and wireless com- Artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies, such as ma- munications will make data security increasingly impor- chine learning methods that include neural networks and tant. A single password hack can corrupt an entire system. fuzzy logic, promise benefits for transit. These technologies For example, on-board Wi-Fi Internet capability needs to will be very helpful in processing noisy ITS data (both non- be secured (better than the currently available Wired Equiv- imagery and imagery) and will help in data analysis and deci- alent Privacy [WEP]based encryption) so that users can- sion making.120 Bayesian Machine Learning, a probabilistic not get into the wireless local area network (LAN) of the machine learning approach that deduces likely relationships agency. Quantum cryptography, developed at IBM's T. J. from a large body of data, could also have applications in Watson Research Center, can help with much better en- cryption. Moreover, IBM, with the help of the University of 116 Y. Toba, M. Saitou, N. Yanagihara, and M. Watanabe, "Basic Verification Concerning High Precision Positioning Detection Using Pseudolite," Proceed- 121 D. Koller, "10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change Your World: ings of the 9th ITS World Congress (Washington, D.C.: ITS America, 2002). Bayesian Machine Learning," Technology Review (February 2004), www.technology 117 www.nttc.edu/techmart. review.com/Infotech/13438/page5/. 118 122 N. Savage, "10 Emerging Technologies: Silicon Photonics," Technology Review T. Mashberg, "GPS That Never Fails," Technology Review (November 30, 2006), www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/17841/?a=f. (May 2005), www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=infotech&sc=&id= 119 J. C. Diop, "Robotic Vision," Technology Review (October 2002), www. 14407&pg=3. technologyreview.com/Infotech/12976/?a=f. 123 J. Rogers, "10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change Your World: Micro- 120 Z Solutions, Inc., "A Manager's Guide to Neural Networks," white paper fluidic Optical Fiber," Technology Review (February 2004), www.technology (Atlanta, GA: 2004), www.zsolutions.com/pdfs/amanager.pdf. review.com/read_article.aspx?ch=infotech&sc=&id=13438&pg=10.
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68 New Mexico, is also developing artificial immunology to T-rays--operate in the deep-infrared region just before protect computers from viruses. This concept will model wavelengths stretch into microwaves. T-rays are able to eas- immune systems based on human biology. These technolo- ily penetrate many common materials without the medical gies should be available by 2020.124 risks of X-rays. They promise to transform fields like airport and transit security, revealing not only the shape but also the composition of hidden objects, from explosives to cancers.125 184.108.40.206 Terahertz Radiation A very recent breakthrough will increase the ability to control Terahertz waves could improve the speed of wireless terahertz waves, making for clearer images and faster wireless communications and security screening. Terahertz radiation-- communications.126 125 D. Arnone, "10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change Your World: T-Rays." Technology Review (February 2004), www.technologyreview.com/ Infotech/13438/page6. 124 S. Carroll, "Technologies to Watch: Information Security," PCMAG.COM 126 D. Graham-Rowe, "Taming the Terahertz," Technology Review (November 30, (September 4, 2001), www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,32904,00.asp. 2006).