By Alexander Damisch
Public transportation is undergoing tremendous transformation at the moment. The reasons for this revolution are varied. Mass transit has never been more important around the world as the urban areas of highly developed countries are unable to handle further unlimited growth of private transportation. Emerging countries with a 100-year backlog in public transport infrastructure development face the need to be prepared to move their fast growing population, as well as move competitive labor into urban working areas from remote locations.
Making transportation more affordable and accessible, while responding faster to consumer needs, drives a challenging but rapid need for modernization. The last 10 years have shown that terrorists, sadly, have been able to exploit vulnerabilities in public transportation. At the same time, the latest communication technology is now standardized to transport more people, in ashorter time and more reliably, which is just further increasing the vulnerability of the public infrastructure to cyber security threats.
The global recession is straining the finances of all organizations, including both the transportation system makers and their customers, local and regional governments. Large contracts, spanning many years, are involved and are vital for local and national infrastructure development. While the same countries are cutting education costs for their future workforce due to public spending issues, being late or over budget has become a national no go. Summing this up with ever increasing complex technology, the contradicting requirement to do more, faster and cheaper with higher quality brings delivering companies to their limits.
Public transportation is a core need for a modern society. Spending is increasing across the globe, which presents a huge opportunity for infrastructure and technology providers. Mature and proven COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) technology can be leveraged to streamline national safety requirements and standardize communication to handle cyber security threats.
Functional safety is available as ready-made building blocks, that enable vendors to concentrate on differentiating factors, like modular architectures that benefit from the latest, proven services-oriented architectures. Services-oriented architectures are proven to reduce life cycle costs of systems with different levels of criticality and security.
Wind River is tackling these challenges with a modular certification approach of runtime systems, as well as tools that are essential to help equipment makers get the best user experience, and provide operators with key features that will reduce operational costs and enable more efficient transportation.
In my next blog I will cover how security and safety regulatory concerns impact the public transportation industry - stay tuned!