UK: Transport In The Digital Age - Disruptive Trends For Smart Mobility

Last Updated: 20 April 2015
Article by Deloitte LLP

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

Foreword

Change has already arrived in transport. The current wave of digital innovation, which has brought us travel planning on our smartphones and far greater access to customer information, was predicted in our 2012 Deloitte University Press publication and the pace of change is accelerating.

In the last three years digital disruption has become more widespread and companies like Uber have grown to become multi-billion dollar global enterprises. It is now timely to update our research and to examine the trends that we believe will be relevant to the future of the metro, rail, road, air and automotive industries.

Smart mobility strives to integrate all modes of transport to provide the vision of a seamless end to end journey experience. Technology has a major role to play as the transport sector now stands on the brink of great change, where digital innovation will go further to bring about improvements in operations, asset management and the delivery of capital programmes.

As the global population in urban areas reaches four billion, our current research seeks to stimulate debate about the future transport services passengers desire and how digital innovation can support this, and provide a framework for predicting the trends that will shape the transport industry. We hope you find this report interesting and informative.

Warwick Goodall
Director, Transport Technology

Simon Dixon
Partner, Transport

Executive summary

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.

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