Bryan Mulligan, President of Applied Information, Inc., was recently interviewed by host Mike Strawn on his radio show Case and Point.
During the interview, Mulligan shared his thoughts on the transportation industry and the significant role that technology continues to play in the advancement of safety and efficiency. At Applied Information, Mulligan and his team are successfully leveraging technology to save lives, improve traffic, drive commerce and improve the environment.
Connectivity changes everything
The idea that “when everything is connected to everything, it changes everything” is the basis for Applied Information’s success and the cornerstone of their business. Their Green to Scene technology, which automatically changes traffic signals to green upon active emergency vehicles’ approach, allows paramedics and fire trucks to travel more safely and more quickly to citizens in need of life-saving attention. “It’s using the internet of things and wireless telematics to ultimately improve the lives of everyone in surface transportation,” said Mulligan.
Applied Information’s TravelSafely app is another example of technology that is changing the transportation landscape. The free app, already deployed in the North Avenue corridor in Atlanta and in Marietta, Georgia, audibly alerts drivers to pedestrians and cyclists, and warns of changing traffic signals, crosswalks, oncoming emergency vehicles and more.
Outcome-based contracting provides a solution
A serial entrepreneur for the best part of 40 years, Mulligan founded Applied Information just seven years ago when he decided to transition from selling the government what it asked for to selling them what they really needed, which were technology solutions.
Technology continues to develop at a pace much faster than government engineers can manage. With Applied Information’s outcome-based contracting, the government communicates what they want to achieve in transportation, and Applied Information comes alongside them to determine the technology that’s most suitable.
Gwinnett County in Georgia was an early adopter of Applied Information’s forward thinking. They connected all of their school beacons—those flashing lights you see on the road during school hours—to the internet, which allowed for a more effective delivery and monitoring system. Shortly thereafter, they reported a 90% reduction in citizen complaints about school beacon operation.
When you have a technology platform, “it can be applied to solving all kinds of problems,” said Mulligan. Take your cell phone, for example. It once only made phone calls. Now you can take pictures, upload them to the internet, stream music and check your email, all from the same device.
Applied Information’s Glance System does the same. It started by allowing paramedics to arrive at the scene of an emergency more quickly, but the same technology can be applied to the transit bus system. Offer buses a green-light route, and it will shorten the commute time, which encourages people to take public transportation to work and reduces the number of cars on the roads. You can also extend it to freight vehicles. Offer them green lights on rural highways during non-peak hours and it will save valuable transit time, as well as reducing the number of trucks on the road during traditional commute times.
Progress requires a partnership
There are pilot schemes and various projects already underway that tell a good story, but governments still struggle to view the private sector as a partner. “We have to lift the pace of change in order to keep up with the private sector, who overwhelm the government’s ability to regulate it,” said Mulligan. The government is naturally risk-averse, but change must come in order to make progress.
The two most significant developments of our generation are the internet and the cell phone network. Mulligan called them technological marvels, and Applied Information has already taken them further by using them to build their apps and services. “We can deploy technology really, really easily, which is why it’s such an exciting time to be in the technology space,” said Mulligan.
Listen to the full interview with Bryan Mulligan here.