The Internet and computer technologies are playing significant roles to make transportation more sustainable and energy efficient.
As it does in other industries, the critical component that information technology brings to transportation is intelligent data processing that enables efficient decisions and resource optimization.
One interesting example I can think of is the role of IT in giving birth to the cab hailing and cab sharing economy.
Neither Uber (and its cab hailing clones worldwide), nor the many ride sharing programs available worldwide would have been possible without information technology and Internet.
While you might not have thought of cab hailing or ride sharing concepts in the context of cleantech, they indeed are. Why? Because both these concepts significantly reduce the amount of fuel spent by a car during a day, without compromising its overall value proposition – in fact, in both cases the utility and the value for all stakeholders are enhanced.
In the case of Uber, by ensuring that the cabbie nearest to you picks you up, the solution enables lower consumption of fuel. Otherwise, cabbies waste significant amount of time driving around, looking for customers, even though a customer might have been in the adjacent street – just that the cabbie did not know!
The potential for fuel savings through ride sharing is fairly obvious. While ride sharing was happening even before the Internet and smartphones, it was a fairly crude process. The smartphone & Internet combo has made it more organized, enabling it to achieve much larger scales.
Similar to the value that IT is contributing to make personal transport more efficient, it is also making business-to-business transport – trucks, business air cargo etc – more efficient by maximizing operational efficiency and minimizing wasteful fuel use. The concepts used here are similar as well – one example is the technology that connects those seeking trucking transport with the truckers closest to them.