Skip to main content

Transport in the Digital Age

Disruptive Trends for Smart Mobility

Change is coming to transportation, whether we’re ready for it or not. You can see it in public sector investment in intelligent streets and digital railways, automakers’ focus on next-generation vehicles and smart mobility services, and in the widening recognition that the “information everywhere” world will utterly disrupt the transportation status quo.

The proportion of the global population living in urban areas continues to rise faster than capacity on roads, rail and other types of transport. This pressure on transport infrastructure is driving capital investment estimated at over a trillion dollars a year. However, you can’t always create capacity by pouring more concrete, and technology will play a crucial role in changing the way we travel.

The Digital Age has begun, and technology has brought us smart phones, real-time planning, open traffic data, and social customer service. For the first time, the passenger now has more information than the operator. This fundamental shift offers consumers real choice based on a picture of alternative routes, comparative pricing and current network status. As transport operators adapt and new entrants arrive, new business models will transform the use of user information, payments, integration and automation.

These changes will form five disruptive trends for transport and smart mobility services:

User-centred mobility services put travellers in control; public transport will become personal. This changes the approach to operations and planning based on users’ choices, priorities, data flows and dynamic response to disruption. Staff will adopt ‘digital uniforms’, so that they have the information to support customers.

Integrated and intelligent transport networks will sense demand, measure performance, and monitor the health of physical assets. Intelligent systems will respond in real-time to manage capacity and predict and avoid disruption.

Pricing and payments will see a revolution over the next five years. Digitisation of tickets and payments will transform metro services and allow all rail operators to follow airlines by adopting e-tickets. Beyond contactless payments, pay as you travel will be based simply on location.

Automation and safety will benefit from the exponential potential of cognitive technology, with the potential to save millions of lives worldwide, particularly on the roads. Increases in safety and changes to the nature of liability will have a fundamental impact on the insurance industry.

Public and private innovation will work together to meet the mobility challenges of the 21st century. The role of the public sector will be critical to stimulate advances and protect citizens. New private sector entrants will take advantage of peer-to-peer models, digital and mobile technology, and low costs to scale globally.

Looking ahead, the scale and pace of these dramatic changes will vary. The digital age is going to empower the travelling customer and disrupt the way transport providers operate and manage their services. This will put emphasis on the need for varied transport systems to intelligently integrate and facilitate joined up passenger journeys. To achieve this, the public and private sectors – from government to automotive manufacturers – must innovate and think differently, working together to ensure the growth and sustainability of transport for the future.

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey