Modern transport is evolving quickly. Digital innovation is becoming digital disruption across many sectors, but public transport has been especially hard hit. Travel of every type is being transformed and disrupted, but there are certain factors which are having a particular impact on public transport.
Next-generation vehicles and smart mobility services are making their presence felt across all types of public transportation, and as technology continues to grow more integrated into our daily lives, we can expect to see the face of public transport change even more. As passengers are able to take greater control of their journeys, the public transport sector has proven to be incredibly adept at keeping up with the changes.
As apps and centralised data hubs become more prolific, passengers are increasing their ability to personalise their journeys. This modernisation is already being seen in smartphone apps which show the real-time location of taxis, buses and trains. It is changing the way that operations and planning have to evolve for those in the public transport sector. When passengers can access more information than those driving or checking tickets, it’s vital that public transport companies are keeping up.
Integration and intelligence
While still in the early days, the next big revolution for public transport is going to be intelligent demand. By being able to keep up to date with the changing priorities of passengers, transport companies are going to be able to provide additional services as and when needed. The ability to respond in real time to any traffic or travel disruption will see the already growing numbers of public transport users continue to rise.
Automation for businesses
One of the most obvious ways that technology has disrupted the public transport sector is due to the rise of Uber. Their impact cannot be understated, and their business model is now used as an example of what can happen when an industry does not keep up with disruptive change. Now that anyone with a car is able to turn a profit from it, traditional taxi firms are struggling to keep up. However, those hoping to turn their car into a business asset do still have to conform to legal requirements, such as insurance. With expert insurance companies like Acorn Insurance able to take care of this aspect, it’s no surprise that Uber has become the poster child for industry disruption.
As fewer people carry cash on them, the problem for public transport companies was finding ways to let customers pay. Digital payment options have overtaken low-tech solutions like day savers and weekly passes. Although the Oyster Card was in itself transformative, contactless payments on buses and trains have meant commuters are now able to walk straight onto the bus or tube with minimal interruption. With the increasing number of smartphone apps that allow bank payments using nothing more than a swipe of your iPhone, cash is more redundant than ever before.
The speed of these changes continues to take many sectors by surprise. However, the public transport sector has kept up. As passengers become more empowered and people move away from cities in ever higher numbers, public transport will continue to drive innovation and make cutting-edge use of modern solutions.