Six predictions for smart city transport and mobility
As smart city innovation accelerates, Cubic Transportation Systems’ Galen Chui explores how developments in transport and mobility will play out in 2023.
1. PROTECTING VULNERABLE ROAD USERS WILL BE A KEY PRIORITY
Smart cities and ‘connected everything’ initiatives have made transportation a key enabler for human productivity, providing more efficient ways to link people and systems while also furthering initiatives designed to improve transit and roadside safety, reduce traffic congestion in our cities and eliminate harmful emissions that impact climate change. The new year will bring to the forefront programmes that
encourage citizens to embrace alternative, climate-friendly and more active forms of mobility like walking and cycling.
However, at the same time, it’s crucial to address the safety of vulnerable road users using comprehensive and inclusive programmes that ensure people who walk, bike and roll have safe access to the transportation system. To that end, proofs-of-concept using machine learning and sensor fusion will help increase safety, accessibility and inclusion.
2. AGILE PROCUREMENT PROCESSES WILL BECOME THE NORM
The orchestration role played by transit authorities will need to deliver rapid evolutions that can’t always be met with traditional long-lived procurement cycles. More agile procurements, including framework agreements and co-creation of public-private revenue collection schemes, will become more of the norm. This trend is already emerging and clearly requires more robust core platform technology to de-risk while
3. OPEN PAYMENT SYSTEMS WILL GROW IN POPULARITY
In 2023, we will notice a continued shift to open payment systems. As currencies become increasingly decentralised, it is cheaper, more transparent and reliable to pay for transit using these technologies. Having an open payment ecosystem could shift the accessibility of transit systems and bring transit services to millions of people in developing nations or to those who are unbanked.
The changing payment landscape, with the rise of real-time payments and digital interbank schemes, will provide new opportunities for digital economies as well as for those agencies underinvested but courageous enough to leapfrog the payment technologies that have been dominating for the past 15 years.
In addition, new forms of mobility services payment capable of bridging the gaps between mobility services providers, public and private, will be increasingly trusted by consumers, and mobility service providers will gain market share. Traditional ticket reselling business models and disjointed traveller/payment customer experiences will feel even more outdated than in 2022.
4. RANSIT AGENCIES WILL COME UNDER PRESSURE TO BUILD PASSENGER TRUST
Faced with fewer passengers that expect more, technology provides agencies with the necessary flexible, digital systems to meet fluctuating passenger demands. As we move towards recovery, there will be an increased focus on bringing stakeholders into the conversation to provide feedback to agencies in order to optimise public transit systems and build passenger volumes. The transportation industry must look at what can be done to encourage pre-Covid transit customers to return.
Technology, such as sensors at intersections, helps identify areas of risk to vulnerable road users and determine what changes need to be made to address and decrease safety risks. Now more than ever, it’s critical for the transportation industry to reestablish passenger confidence so that commuters can once again depend on public transit to safely and reliably get them where they need to be when they need to be there.
5. INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES CAN PLAY A ROLE IN THE FUTURE OF COMMUTING HABITS
The inertia of legacy closed-loop ecosystems, often at the scale of a single operator, city, transport network, or region, will remain difficult to overcome. Consequently, account-based apps and transport networks will invent ‘transport credential roaming services,’ as mobile network operators and service providers did for mobile communications.
By shifting the required infrastructure in urban and interurban areas, transit agencies can begin influencing passenger behaviours away from 100% work from home to some percentage of in-office work each week. Through the convergence of road and fare collection systems, agencies can leverage data resources to deliver meaningful incentives for choosing to ride transit systems such as tax credits.
6. CUSTOMER-CENTRIC STRATEGIES WILL HELP BUILD PASSENGER NUMBERS
Covid-19 disrupted the transportation industry in unimaginable ways, but even now, passenger numbers are around 20-30 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels, impacting public transport operators worldwide. Operators have been resilient and engaged with their customers throughout, coming out the other side more aligned with passenger expectations and determined to deliver continual improvements to customer experience.
In 2023, a customer-centric approach will continue as transport providers enhance their customer, technology, financial and asset management services aligning them to the primary goal of customer engagement and equity. Increasingly, the industry is rethinking transit services through automated technology, and traction in the space will only accelerate in the new year.
For instance, further advances in the mobile-first approach with apps supported by sophisticated proactive AI-driven chatbots will enhance the customer experience. This includes apps that sympathetically support natural behaviour, such as pinging people as they walk towards the station or presenting actionable information and reminding them to top up their account, before they arrive at their embarkation point.
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platforms will also continue to help transit agencies interact with each other and private operators, unifying the last mile for travelers. This is a very real progress to frictionless travel through building confidence in public transport use by delivering meaningful engagement. All these advancements will enable the industry to deliver a modern, secure and efficient system, whilst
streamlining operations and decreasing costs. 2023 will be the year of the connected (and satisfied) consumer.
Source: Smart Cities World