Mobility in the Modern Age: How Technology Can Help to Overcome Current and Future Mobility Crises

The recent outbreak has thrown public mobility issues into sharp relief, with millions stuck in their homes, and millions more struggling to find a safe way to get to work. As countries start to re-open, urban transportation is recovering and people are starting to travel again. But how will recent events change the way we approach to transport in the future, and how can technology help?
23/06/20
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By Vasily Malinov
VP, Travel & Hospitality
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Mobility in the Modern Age: How Technology Can Help to Overcome Current and Future Mobility Crises

Public vs. Private Transport

Studies show that even before countries starting to officially lift travel bans, their citizens were increasingly mobile. It’s tough to stop people from moving. Data gleaned from smartphone apps shows that, in Europe, movement is already almost back to January’s levels, despite variable lockdown measures still existing. Meanwhile, many countries are looking to relax their Covid-prompted border controls to restore a functioning Schengen zone as quickly as possible. While air travel remains extremely uncertain, this increasingly means relying on ground transportation, even for longer trips.

As restrictions continue to ease, it has become noticeable that people are choosing private transport over public one. Studies indicate that just 18% of people will feel comfortable using public transit even after restrictions have been lifted. Individual car journeys are up, by almost 11% in the UK alone, and parking data shows a spike in private parking use. All of this points to a wariness of public ground transportation and a belief in the increased safety of private options, especially in urban areas.

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Image source: https://parknowgroup.com/news/parking-barometer/

Transport Safety Post-Covid

The core priority for both public and private transportation providers is passenger safety. To this end, the EU Commission has provided guidelines to encourage operators to share more information publicly. This is especially helpful for public transport users, where seat reservations are impossible and occupancy rates may affect willingness to travel. Crowded spaces and a higher volume of travellers is now associated with increased risk. By being able to select routes, types of transport used, or timing, based on relevant and near real-time statistics, urban mobility is more likely to bounce back to past levels.

How Technology Will Help

Technology will be key in re-establishing trust in the ground transportation industry post-Covid, and in forming a new, safer normal for passengers that maintains the efficient and affordable transport options people expect. The time during lockdown easement, but while the threat of the virus remains, is particularly critical, and many of these technologies are no longer a “nice to have,” but a “must-have.” This includes:

  • Touchless, digital and mobile payment options
  • Mobile tickets and digital ticket inspections
  • Touch-free access to parking lots and other relevant structures
  • Publicly available passenger use and route data

And moving forward, integrating technology and data to inform business operations will be vital, for:

  • Intelligent, integrated transit system design - for example, utilizing route data to allow buses to make fewer stops, and to prioritize the use of main corridors; this also enables safer cycling routes
  • On-demand public transit options
  • Delivery aggregators
  • Revenue management
  • Inventory management

Conclusion

Digitalization has quickly become standard in the transportation industry, and it is vital in safeguarding revenue. Major cities like Paris and London implemented digital ticketing options years ago and are now reaping the benefits of their foresight. Intelligently designed and deployed solutions to enable passenger safety requires more than just technical know-how; you also need a partner who understands your business and can help you to adapt to these quickly changing circumstances.

Want to learn more about Mobility as a Service and new trends in transportation? Download our whitepaper!

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