Evaluating 5G productivity uses in transport
This project seeks to gain a holistic understanding of the most valuable applications of 5G in the transport sector, including the potential impacts of 5G on passenger safety and freight productivity.
5G communications are a step-change in the evolution of wireless communications technology. While 4G has enabled significant innovations, for example cloud services on mobile phones, advancements that come with 5G create tremendous new potential for the transport sector.
In particular, 5G can provide significantly faster data transmission, a flexible platform for communication amongst a plethora of devices, expanded bandwidth capacity for extreme device density, low latency with nearly instantaneous response times, and the ability to create dedicated network slices (i.e. virtual independent ‘sub-networks’ on top of a common physical infrastructure) for transport applications.
5G is expected to bring transformative ideas into reality and help reshape the industry through improvements in safety, performance, cost, and sustainability.
5G technology offers significant improvements over 4G LTE with numerous potential applications for the transportation sector. In particular:
- Significantly faster data transmission, estimated to be up to 100 times faster than 4G (Yarali, 2020)
- A more flexible communication platform which enables data transfer between a plethora of different internet of things (IoT) devices
- Greater bandwidth capacity that allows for extreme device density, estimated to be up to 1,000,000 connected devices per km2 compared to 2,000 for 4G (Guevara & Auat Cheein, 2020)
- Very low latency, with milliseconds response times compared to the 0.07 second latency in a typical 4G network (Nordrum & Clark, 2017), meaning 5G-enabled devices can communicate almost instantaneously with each other; and
- The ability to create dedicated network slices tailored for traffic infrastructure, that are independent and isolated from the rest of the network, for improved performance and reliability.
With all these advancements, 5G technology is expected to bring about revolutionary advancements in passenger and freight mobility with wide-ranging impacts, from economic benefits (i.e., improved productivity and growth) to additional safety, sustainability, energy efficiency, and employment benefits. The adoption of 4G LTE in the past decade has facilitated innovative ideas in the transport sector such as vehicle connectivity and automation of some vehicle functions, a shift to digital platforms, advances in data analytics usages, and new transport business models such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
Understandably, the widespread adoption of 5G technology is expected to further accelerate these industry-wide transformations by surmounting several crucial limitations of 4G and enabling communication between a much greater number of devices. Numerous roles and potential implementations of 5G in the global transportation landscape have been identified by researchers and experts.
As discussed in the World Bank’s “Envisioning 5G-Enabled Transport” report (Monserrat et al., 2020), five 5G features (i.e. expanded bandwidth, low latency, a greatly expanded number of devices, network slicing, and easy sharing of data) will enable three main technological advancements, namely the more advanced collective perception and cooperative driving use cases for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, smart connectivity, and real-time monitoring of anonymised passenger and freight movements.
These enabling technologies are expected to instigate revolutionary changes in the transport industry, particularly through advancements in smart and efficient logistics, connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), and improved urban mobility and public transport.
In the CAVs space, 5G sets the stage for the advancement of higher levels of vehicle automation, which is expected to be supported by V2X communications. 5G communication will complement other technological advancements such as edge computing to overcome current challenges with V2X implementation. Specifically, 5G edge computing will significantly reduce latency while preserving the bandwidth of computationally intensive tasks by processing massive data at close proximity to users (Ahmed et al., 2017; Hassan et al., 2019).
The transition to a CAVs environment is expected to happen gradually, over the next 2—3 decades (Litman, 2017), with a mixture of automated and manual vehicles anticipated to interact with each other in traffic during the intermediate stages. Therefore, it is important to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities from improvements in C-V2X communications.
In the logistics and freight sectors, 5G will accelerate revolutionary changes by enhancing the visibility of freight vehicle fleets and cargos over the entire logistic chain by enabling real-time monitoring of assets using telematics data. This data can be utilised by logistic operators to optimise their shipping routes, reduce cost and emissions, and make informed decisions on haul vehicles allocation, thereby improving the overall efficiency and reliability of freight transport. 5G is also expected to facilitate truck platooning which will improve the cost and energy efficiency of road haulage.
Field trials of the truck platooning concept have been ongoing since the 2000s (Kunze et al., 2009) and the technology has been developing ever since. 5G features, namely minimal latency and high reliability can enable advanced vehicle platooning with shorter distances (i.e. <1 m).
A recent field trial of truck platooning conducted in Japan demonstrated the feasibility of truck platooning over 5G New Radio (NR) vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) Direct Communication (Serizawa, 2019), and it is predicted that market introduction of this concept could happen as soon as 2023 (Monserrat et al., 2020).
5G is also envisioned to bring improvements in urban mobility and public transport by creating a paradigm shift to integrated mobility systems such as MaaS. 5G can play an important role in providing accurate data from users to allow transport operators to adapt and optimise their operations in response to demand. This will be made possible with the proliferation of IoT devices – connected over 5G, that provide rich data sources on mobility demand.
Transport network operators will be able to utilise this data to derive responsive Origin-Destination (OD) information that is updated in real-time to increase system utilisation using dynamic routing and scheduling of transport services, e.g. by allocating their public transport fleet to a certain area with increased demand (better demand management).
5G will also enable cellular vehicle to infrastructure (C-V2I) communication which can facilitate information sharing across different services, for example vehicles connecting with traffic lights and other infrastructure to obtain real-time information on congestion, parking spots, etc.
In all, 5G technology will modernise transport operations in cities and regions by improving transport efficiency and safety, reducing traffic congestion, enhancing the commuting experience, and lowering emissions. Given the dramatic impacts that can be facilitated by 5G technology, massive benefits for the global economy are expected with the widespread adoption of 5G. 5G’s contribution to global GDP is expected to reach US$700 billion by 2030, with the transport sector expected to make up nearly one-third of the share (Monserrat et al., 2020).
Below is the breakdown of an expected €113 billion from the total potential socio-economic benefits of 5G in 28 countries in the European Union (EU28) by 2025 (European Commission, 2014).
As explained earlier, 5G offers numerous opportunities for the transport sector. However, before they can be realised, there are several boundaries that need to be overcome in relation to 5G technology considerations. Some of the anticipated challenges include deployment cost, ethical and social implications, and cyber security and privacy issues (Guevara & Auat Cheein, 2020).
The Australian Government has stated its commitment to “support the timely rollout of 5G in Australia to enable the next wave of broad-based industry productivity and support the growth of Australia’s digital economy.” (‘5G – Enabling the future economy’, Australian Government, 2017).
Similarly, the New Zealand Government has also announced its intention to accommodate 5G technology rollout (Radio Spectrum Management New Zealand, 2018) and Spark’s 5G network is expected to achieve 90 per cent of population coverage by the end of 2023 (Spark NZ, 2021) . Therefore, better insights into potential impacts and challenges of 5G on different sectors are required for efficacious deployment of 5G for transport outcomes.
This project will provide a better understanding of the most valuable transport use cases and opportunities from 5G implementation in Australia and New Zealand while also identifying the most crucial challenges that need to be anticipated to maximise the benefit from the adoption of 5G technology in the transport sector, including passenger and freight.
This project seeks to gain a clear and holistic understanding of the potential use cases for 5G in transport, including which use cases are most likely and are expected to have the greatest productivity and safety benefits.
This understanding will inform policymaking and contribute to decisions that deliver productivity gains and will inform government consideration of the optimal use of 5G in supporting delivery of transport services by:
- Investigating the strategic economic impacts of 5G adoption in the transport sector in Australia and New Zealand; and
- Providing a holistic analysis of the potential that 5G can deliver for the transport sector – this can, in turn, provide an understanding of the relative costs and benefits of the different use cases, and identify where these may compete against or complement each other. This analysis will consider whether 5G offers superior solutions to those already offered by competing technologies such as 4G-enabled C-V2X or Wi-Fi-based Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) in the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) short-range communications context.
Please note …
This page will be a living record of this project. As it matures, hits milestones, etc., we’ll continue to add information, links, images, interviews and more. Watch this space!
- Ahmed, E., Ahmed, A., Yaqoob, I., Shuja, J., Gani, A., Imran, M., & Shoaib, M. (2017). Bringing Computation Closer toward the User Network: Is Edge Computing the Solution? IEEE Communications Magazine, 55(11), 138–144. https://doi.org/10.1109/MCOM.2017.1700120
- Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts (2017). 5G—Enabling the future economy.
- European Commission. (2014). Identification and quantification of key socio‐economic data to support strategic planning for the introduction of 5G in Europe.
- European Transport Safety Council. (2017). Briefing Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) . Brussels: European Transport Safety Council.
- Guevara, L., & Auat Cheein, F. (2020). The role of 5G technologies: Challenges in smart cities and intelligent transportation systems. Sustainability, 12(16), 6469.
- Hassan, N., Yau, K. L. A., & Wu, C. (2019). Edge computing in 5G: A review. In IEEE Access (Vol. 7, pp. 127276–127289). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2938534
- Kunze, R., Ramakers, R., Henning, K., & Jeschke, S. (2009). Organization and Operation of Electronically Coupled Truck Platoons on German Motorways (pp. 135–146). Berlin:Springer-Verlag.
- Litman, T. (2017). Autonomous vehicle implementation predictions (p. 28). Victoria, BC, Canada: Victoria Transport Policy Institute
- Monserrat, J. F., Diehl, A., Bellas Lamas, C., & Sultan, S. (2020). Envisioning 5G-Enabled Transport. Washington, DC: World Bank, from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/35160 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
- Nordrum, A., & Clark, K. (2017). Everything You Need to Know About 5G. IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved 27 October 2021, from https://spectrum.ieee.org/everything-you-need-to-know-about-5g.
- Radio Spectrum Management New Zealand. (2018). Preparing for 5G in New Zealand.
- Serizawa, K., Mikami, M., Moto, K., & Yoshino, H. (2019, September). Field trial activities on 5G NR V2V direct communication towards application to truck platooning. In 2019 IEEE 90th Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC2019-Fall) (pp. 1-5). IEEE.
- Spark NZ (2021). Spark boosts 5G rollout investment to achieve 90% population coverage by the end of 2023. Sparknz.co.nz. Retrieved 15 February 2022, from https://www.sparknz.co.nz/news/5g-rollout-boost/.
- Yarali, A. (2020) “4G and 5G for PS,” in Public Safety Networks from LTE to 5G , Wiley, 2020, pp.161-169, doi: 10.1002/9781119580