Data capture: Transport solution designers have already known for years that making accurate sense and usage of vast swathes of actionable data is the key to forging better systems that more appropriately reflect the needs of the end user. However, greater public/private partnering in response to rapidly changing global situations and a general shift towards more open sharing of data means that we’re now in a much better position to capture, analyse and utilise mobility data on the transport habits of millions of commuters and urban inhabitants. By fully understanding not just the past and present transportation needs of those living and working in cities, but their future needs as well, we can determine optimal strategies for delivering transport networks that cater to those needs as effectively as possible. From preventing overcrowding, to offering cost-effective ‘last mile’ mobility services, data remains the key to unlocking better urban mobility strategies.
Scaled-up transport innovations: While the likes of the Hyperloop and flying taxis represent extremely exciting innovations that may yet change our the look and feel of urban transport forever, today’s new normal is already seeing the large-scale deployment of important technologies that are designed to improve our existing transportation networks. These include widespread integration of contactless payment systems on buses and metros, temperature-checking infrared cameras in stations, biofuel and solar-powered public transport vehicles, adaptive traffic light sensors and many more. The merging of innumerable technological improvements such as these is leading to a new normal of our existing urban transport networks becoming greater than the sum of their parts.
Automated vehicles and mobile robots: Accelerating automation adoption across the transport sector is the dream of many due to the unprecedented opportunities it offers. By taking human error out of the equation and networking our journeys, the prospect of far fewer accidents, traffic jams and wasted travelling time looks enticing to say the least. Against the backdrop of social distancing, the need for automating journeys and minimising human interactions becomes even more necessary. As such, the development of improved vehicle automaton technologies, such as driverless cars, trams, trains, ferries and more, alongside fully mobile robots tasked with deliveries etc, means that the realisation of automated mass transit is becoming a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.