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Collaboration is needed to meet the paradigm shift in transport

Wolfgang Schuster | 02 Mar 2017 | Comments

Existing land (road and rail) transport infrastructure and operational concepts are not able to cope with current levels of transport demand.

According to the United Nations DESA report, the world population is projected to increase to 8.5 billion by 2030. The majority of which are expected to live in or near major cities and metroplexes. With status quo, the resulting significant increase in travel demand would place an unacceptable burden on an already saturated transport system, with increased congestion, reduced safety and consequent negative impacts on human quality of life and businesses. The “status-quo approach” is simply not sustainable. While an expansion of the existing infrastructure seems to be the obvious choice, spatial constraints, especially in cities, make this option unviable. The alternative is to increase capacity through increased efficiency, based on a radically new concept of transport operations.

Over the last decade, innovative technologies, products and services have either directly delivered, or empowered significant disruption across the transport sector - with the potential to reshape transport network management and shift the behaviour of, and opportunities for, end-users. Some of the most significant changes have been the introduction of smartphones and other information and communication technologies that have enabled an ever growing range of services to be provided to the end-user, and huge quantities of up-to-date data and information to be shared in real time between relevant stakeholders. These technologies are also key enablers of this radically new concept of transport operations, known as Intelligent Mobility.

Intelligent Mobility is a new approach to the way people, places and goods are being connected across all transport modes. At its core, is the intelligent exploitation of automation and a huge amount of data (commonly known as ‘Big Data’) from relevant elements of the transport system and other sources, including the “Internet of Things” (IoT). This exploitation crucially underpins future journey management and enables services such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

Automation is centred on the development of Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) which have the potential to reduce congestion and pollution, and enhance safety. Big data, during planning stages, provides advanced insights into user behaviour, informing infrastructure and service needs as well as policy interventions. During operations, it provides operators and service providers with the necessary information to optimise their network in real-time, to provide up-to-date information and support to the end-user and influence their behaviour. MaaS is a real-time, fully managed personalised mobility service that is driven by user preferences. It provides seamlessly integrated journeys across all transport modes, including fully flexible payment options.

At present, the transport sector is characterised by a high level of fragmentation, with little strategic coordination between relevant market stakeholders. In order to deliver a seamless customer experience across the whole journey, there is an urgent need to bring these stakeholders together, including government, local and national transport authorities, city councils, transport providers, network operators, data providers and vehicle manufactures to mention but a few. This is a great challenge for the transport industry, as the majority of these stakeholders have traditionally operated in isolation of one another.

Fundamentally, the success of ‘Intelligent Mobility’ hinges crucially on the collaboration between all relevant stakeholders. The scale and rate of penetration will depend on three main pillars – collaboration, communication and coordination. It is therefore time we act together! We must be proactive and take the first step.

Get in touch with our Intelligent Mobility Team: intelligent.mobility@atkinsglobal.com