The Evolution of Transportation Technology: Q&A with Redflex America’s Director of Product Development and Implementation
The rapid advancement of technology during the past few decades has transformed the American transportation system – the frequency with which we travel, the vehicles we drive and the fuel sources we use – making it safer and more efficient than ever before. Our Director of Product Development and Implementation, Tony Parrino, shares his thoughts on how innovation at Redflex has and continues to make an impact on the industry, as well as what he sees for the next decade.
Tell us about your role at Redflex.
I’m the liaison between the operational side of Redflex, such as the sales, new business development and product support teams, and the developers who are innovating for our customers each and every day. I spend time understanding the evolving needs of our customers and ensure our products and solutions exceed their needs.
What does “innovation” mean at Redflex? And how is this a key differentiator for the company?
As a traffic safety solutions provider, we work to reduce vehicle crashes and improve traffic flow all over North America and around the globe. Innovation at Redflex means using technology to make our products and services more accurate, reliable and easily deployed. We do not settle for off-the-shelf products and solutions for our customers. We work with developers and manufacturers to ensure what we deliver to customers sets us apart from others.
What do you believe was Redflex’s most impactful innovation during the past 20 years?
I believe the advancements we’ve made in automated secondary verification for speed – which means having a system in place to confirm a speed violation – have been among the most impactful innovations Redflex has delivered to the market. Speed violations can be controversial, and scrutiny from the public is high. So, the reliability of speed detection technology is critical for municipalities and the public alike. It’s as much about safety as it is about accuracy. One example of how we’ve introduced technology to further optimize automated secondary verification for speed can be seen in the use of stereoscopic imagery to validate how fast a car is traveling. When this technology is implemented, police officers have both radar evidence and the stereoscopic image to prove an infraction occurred. This takes a lot of the burden off of police departments and saves time, while also enforcing safer driving behaviors.
Where do you see transportation technology going in the next five or 10 years?
The biggest trend we are seeing in the industry is an increase in autonomy. Even though driverless cars are not yet a reality, our ability to adapt to this inevitable technology will be incredibly important. At Redflex, we’re already thinking about how this will impact our business and where we will fit into the new world. It’s an exciting time for the industry. And, while we can’t fully predict what tomorrow will bring, we remain “Redflexable” and steadfast in our commitment to continuous innovation.
With the rise of the “smart city”, what role will transportation technology play – or has it played – in the advancement of cities?
Transportation technology plays two major roles: improving efficiency and safety. With the rise of the “smart city,” transportation technology will play an even greater role than it does today. For example, there is a new theory called the “managed motorway,” and this theory recommends slowing the speed of vehicles as traffic gets more and more congested to ensure it flows better. It stops the “slinky” effect of traffic speeding up quickly and then slowing down, speeding up and slowing down. We’ve all experienced this in cities across the country. This “managed motorway” of the future could be made possible through transportation technology, enabling greater efficiencies on the road.
Given the increasing importance of data collection for all industries – from healthcare to financial services and beyond – how do you see data impacting your industry in the years to come?
Data has and will continue to be the foundation for stability in our industry. That’s why at Redflex we place such importance on the reliability and accuracy of the data we provide to our customers. Many major decisions are made based on the data we provide, such as where to put a red-light camera or what signal timing needs to be implemented to ensure we are maximizing the value of the technology from a safety enforcement standpoint. Data already plays a critical role in transportation engineering, and this will become even more valuable as the industry starts to embrace autonomy.
What innovation that Redflex is working on excites you the most?
I mentioned that we’re doing a lot with stereoscopic imagery for speed validation, and this is the area of our business that excites me the most. In the future, stereoscopic imagery could be used to track things like distracted driving – one of the fastest growing problems on the road.
How do your partners play a role in innovation at Redflex?
Our partners are the foundation of innovation and product development at Redflex. Oftentimes, our customers come to us with ideas and then our engineers and product development teams bring those ideas to life. I’ve been at Reflex for 16 years, and when I started there were no video cameras at intersections to capture crashes. We found a way to capture a video clip and then expanded it into a streaming video service. With that said, innovation doesn’t start and stop with our customers. We have a “Shark Tank” program at Redflex where employees are challenged to come up with innovative new products and solutions. No ideas are off the table. We’ve only scratched the surface in what’s possible when it comes to transportation technology.