5G in Transport & Logistics Operations

Efficient operations are, of course, a key part of transport and logistics. But rising costs and shrinking margins have hampered transformation efforts. Considering the sector is estimated to employ over 1.3m people and investment in inland transport has approximately doubled over the last decade to £19bn, the challenge needs to be addressed: 5G offers a one-stop solution. 

The high bandwidth and low latency of 5G networks enable intelligent transport systems. This allows operations to be managed dynamically in real-time, automatically prioritising emergency services, managing occupancy levels and rerouting of traffic to avoid incidents or better manage air pollution levels. Such systems are expected to enable a 10% reduction in the time city commuters spend in traffic jams, saving £880m in lost productivity due to congestion and a 370k metric tonne reduction in carbon emissions each year. 

What’s more, 5G can enable greater safety for workers, unparalleled levels of insight and automation. It allows for the real-time collection of huge environmental data sets, enabling digital twins that can be used to simulate changes to a transport and logistics network, reducing disruption in the pursuit of increased efficiency or maintenance. 

Road, rail, maritime and aviation can all benefit from the effective, stable connectivity platform that 5G offers.

How Could 5G Help to Manage the Operations of Transport & Logistics?

Digital Twins

5G’s huge bandwidth makes it possible to deploy an unparalleled density of devices, such as cameras to IoT sensors; this provides a richer view of operations for a range of transport networks and facilitates the creation of digital twins (virtual representations that can be used to run models and test “what if?” scenarios in a risk-free environment). Deployment of the network results in fewer time-consuming and costly mistakes. 

Where has this been done?
Automation & Industrial Digital Technologies to Drive Efficiency

From airports to ports, efficient operations are essential to maximise productivity and profits. 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency enables automation and next level operations; this can be useful for drone inspections and deliveries, in addition to augmented reality support. Network slicing additionally guarantees seamless connectivity for critical services.

Where has this been done?
Intelligent Transport Systems

From V2X to smart junctions and traffic lights, 5G can enable intelligent transport systems to optimise travel flow, reduce congestion and travel times, as well as prioritise blue light and preferred transport modes. With dynamic traffic management and intelligent traffic control, areas can keep moving and deliveries run on time; intelligent transport systems require a coordinated framework, with features that support ultra-low latency for warning signals, higher data rates for sharing sensory data between vehicles and infrastructure, high mobility, high reliability, as well as scalability. 5G is the obvious choice.

Where has this been done?
Improving the Safety of the Transport Mode

In the UK, somebody is killed or seriously injured on the road every 20 minutes. Technology can play a key role in improving the safety of transportation, whether that be road, rail, air or sea: 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency enables continuous remote monitoring and ultra high definition camera feeds.

Where has this been done?
Real-Time Monitoring & Operations Optimisation

5G’s bandwidth enables the wide-scale connection of infrastructure and transfer of large volumes of data in real time, giving unprecedented visibility into network performance and allowing dynamic optimisation of service delivery, experience, efficiency and performance. The network can enable more agile and efficient service delivery to keep passengers and customers satisfied, while maximising profitability: for example, scheduling services in response to congestion levels and using AI to identify potential issues such as lost luggage.

When will this be available? View our predicted timeline here.

Where has this been done?
Worker Safety, Support & Training

Ports, railway tracks and airports are complex environments that can pose a number of hazards to workers. Reliable and low-latency 5G networks can power a range of technologies and solutions that will ensure workers are able to safely operate machinery and navigate their surrounding environment. Automation removes human workers from high-risk environments, increasing safety. 

5G’s high bandwidth and low latency also transforms worker support and training. AI-powered guidance, real-time collaboration over ultra high-definition video — or immersive augmented and mixed reality experiences — can be extremely useful for maintenance and inspection activities. 5G-enabled digital instructions can be fed directly to a worker at the point of use via devices such as wireless hand-held tablets and personal headsets. 

Reliable, highly secure real-time wireless data transfer is required to enable this large data transfer. Additionally, wireless connectivity must provide extremely accurate positioning and the ability to handle a high density of connected devices. 5G is the perfect solution and can offer more detailed support for workers — reducing time wasted looking for parts, instructions or designs, and decreasing the need to send specialised experts to site.

Where has this been done?
Managing Contagion Threats

In the Covid era, 5G-powered technologies can help to manage virus spread in public transport settings. From contactless travel to mass thermal imaging and occupancy monitoring, 5G is here to help: its high bandwidth enables the processing of unprecedented volumes of data in real time, and requires minimal human intervention.

When will this be available? View our predicted timeline here.

Where has this been done?
Emissions Management

In 2019, domestic transport was responsible for emitting 122 MtCO2 e (million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), producing 27% of the UK’s total emissions in 2019 (455 MtCO2 e). Change is, therefore, an imperative. More customers are demanding sustainable business practices, and 5G’s high bandwidth enables better monitoring and understanding of emissions such as reducing idling time at ports. 

Where has this been done?

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