Iteris, a US company, provides consulting services and IoT products that record and predict traffic and weather conditions. Here are CMO Joe Boissy’s predictions for 2019.

2018 was an important year for transportation policy and technology. Electric scooters emerged as a last-mile solution, local governments developed innovative new funding models, and in the US the need for an overarching federal transportation communications policy grew stronger.

As we look ahead, it’s important to consider how transportation stories will play out.  Here are three key trends to keep an eye on, particularly in the United States.

1) Federal policy for connected vehicles and transportation tech firms

Private companies and local governments are heavily influenced by the federal government. And the debate goes on about the spectrum band that should be reserved and used for connected vehicles. The market is watching for a federal policy that could standardise the communication technology and government regulations that impact connected vehicles.

The same is true of the state and municipal laws that regulate and define autonomous vehicles. Someone travelling across a single state might drive through different municipalities with conflicting rules for how autonomous vehicles can operate, which is an unworkable proposition.

2) Last-mile solutions have leaped forward. Now everyone else must catch up

Last year saw marked growth in first and last-mile solutions, from the emergence of electric scooter share companies like Bird and Lime to the increased deployment of bike shares. This year the transportation world will be forced to respond. New policies to improve safety and mobility for bicyclists, scooter riders and pedestrians are needed, while promoting multimodal transportation and improving access to public transit.

It is also possible that 2019 will bring about major public-private partnerships in how consumers plan and pay for on-demand transportation. Right now consumers use multiple apps and payment processors to get around.  A single municipal app could provide a variety of transport options to get from point A to point B. For example, riding a scooter to a train, then taking a train to a major hub, then taking another scooter the rest of the way.

3) Public-Private partnerships and other funding methods will enable innovation

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) authorised $305 billion (£238.6 billion) for highways, public transportation, vehicle safety and a variety of associated research, technology.  FAST is set to expire in 2020. So what will a new potential bill look like. With infrastructure being a bipartisan issue and with the current administration identifying infrastructure investment as a key initiative, many are bullish that we will see significant strides in passing a new bill. Combining public transportation funding with private investments will provide numerous opportunities.

Given the relative speed and skill of private industry, expect to see corporations and the laboratories of local government leading the charge and forming the blueprint for the nationwide application of these emerging transportation technologies.

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