While the vehicle traffic management industry is still recovering from reduced government spending during the pandemic, it is set for solid and structural growth in the next years, reaching system revenues of US$4.9 billion in 2026, according to a new report from global technology intelligence firm ABI Research.
“Despite congestion levels reaching historical lows during COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, the need for effective urban traffic management ensuring smooth vehicle flow across city intersections is here to stay,” says Dominique Bonte, VP End Markets and Verticals at ABI Research. “However, the traffic management industry is facing transformational challenges in terms of monitoring the increasing complexity of road-based mobility and transport characterized by micro-mobility, autonomous last-mile delivery and freight, the extension into curbside management, and most importantly the expansion into people flow management.”
A range of new technology solutions is enabling these new traffic management paradigms. These include LiDAR sensors for granular 3D road and smart spaces intelligence; dynamic/mandatory routing algorithms; Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based edge compute enabling immediate, local, and automated response solutions such as (cooperative) adaptive traffic lights and pedestrian alerts; and V2X and 5G connectivity driving new traffic prioritization services such as premium vehicle preemption for delivery and logistics providers.
The benefits of traffic monitoring, management, and modeling/simulation extend far beyond the primary traffic flow and safety objectives. They include operational efficiencies and support for urban planning, enabling more attractive transit and, ultimately, better sustainability by reducing emissions and air quality improvement. Investing in traffic management technology is becoming an integral part of a holistic urban asset management strategy for city governments.
While the vehicle traffic management ecosystem is still highly fragmented, consolidation is ongoing with the recently announced merger between Econolite (traffic controllers) and PTV Group (traffic modeling) as a good example. Most acquisition strategies of legacy vendors like Kapsch TrafficCom, Swarco, Teledyne FLIR, and Yunex Traffic (formerly Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems) are similarly aimed at controlling the end-to-end traffic management value chain, from the underlying sensors and hardware like traffic controllers to the overall systems and services. New entrants typically develop specific sensor solutions such as LiDAR (Seoul Robotics, Ouster, Quanergy, Cepton Technologies, AEye, Velodyne) or target new paradigms such as curbside management (Flowbird).