A seamless new future for transport

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The ultimate objective of a transport service is to get people and things to where they want to be - safely, at the right time, at the right price and in comfort. The current challenges to making this work are a combination of organisation, data and technological capability. Added to that, the transport experience today sees service provision scattered across many organisations, both private and public. Data is often siloed, its value trapped, and the technology used to underpin transport services is often outdated.

Multiple technologies and enhanced means of analysing richer data sets will enable both public and private sector organisations to offer more integrated services based on common transport platforms. These will influence what services are run, where and when, and even what infrastructure is provided, ultimately delivering a better experience for the user.

This combination of new technologies, data analytics and transport service providers working together will create a fundamentally new transport ‘ecosystem’. The Internet of Things (IoT) will harvest more data, which will be processed by ever smarter Artificial Intelligence in real time. This will help in planning networks decades in advance whilst, automatically deploying drones or autonomous vehicles to solve immediate problems. The whole ecosystem will incorporate a layer of cyber security to keep hackers and malware at bay.

For example, we could see people in urban areas being able to optimise their travel by multiple criteria,changing this on a daily basis, all arranged by a single service provider. It means making journeys by any combination of modes, with facial recognition seamlessly mapping a customer’s journey, calculating the cheapest appropriate products and deducting the fare from their chosen account. Greater insights into journey demand, coupled with access to a wider range of transport sub-modes such as electric bikes, will improve provision of tailored transport services even in rural communities.

At the heart of everything is data, and how you use it to ultimately provide a cleaner, faster and safer experience for customers.

Grant Klein, Disruption Transport Sector Lead

In another scenario, customers will be getting the train home from work and an autonomous vehicle pod will be waiting as they exit the station. It has already been loaded with their shopping ordered on the train trip, and their dry cleaning. They’ve opted for a lower cost option, and share the pod with two other passengers who need dropping home en route.

Behind the scenes, transport infrastructure will be smartly developed and maintained. Drone inspections, digital twins, self-repairing technology and robotics will combine to minimise time, costs and service interruptions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data, will predict day-to-day issues before they materialise. For this level of integration, it is imperative that everyone plays their part. That includes infrastructure owners, the main users, but also the supply chain for capital projects and maintenance. And for this to work, the right commercial constructs and incentive regimes need to be in place.

Success will stem from the ability to see the potential of emerging technologies for your business, what they could enable, and what gaps they could fill. This can equally be in providing a better customer service that will in turn generate passenger uplift or in providing certain elements of a transport service at lower cost. A strategy that looks outside the boundaries of your existing model and anticipates what the future looks like (and what customers will expect) requires understanding of the exponential nature of these technologies - how they combine, interact and enhance each other’s impact. At the heart of everything is data, and how you use it to provide a cleaner, faster, safer and better value experience for customers.

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