Connected transport network key for smart cities

Tuesday, 30 April, 2019

Connected transport network key for smart cities

A digitally connected public transport system is an important feature of a smart city, offering greater efficiency, safer commuter experiences and better quality of life, according to a global survey.

Communications infrastructure company BAI Communications surveyed over 2500 rail commuters in five global cities (Hong Kong, London, New York, Sydney and Toronto) to understand their expectations around transport and connectivity.

‘The Continuous Connectivity Research Report’ found 83% of respondents state innovative transport systems are a feature of a smart city and almost half (45%) believe a city can’t be considered ‘world class’ unless it has good digital connectivity.

Commuter expectations of their rail network are increasing, with the report stating almost all rail users (99%) expect public transport to do more than just get them from A to B.

“Every day tens of millions of people worldwide use public transport; this critical infrastructure is the backbone of cities and more than ever citizens are expecting digital innovations that improve their commute. Digital connectivity is changing our ideas of what makes a city world class, and regardless of where they are in the world, people want to live in a city that allows them to work and live better, and technology is emerging as a key enabler to help citizens reach this aspiration,” said James Woodhams, Chief Strategy Officer, BAI Communications.

“As we look to improve services and create modern, data-driven cities that enrich the lives of citizens, seamless digital connectivity is the foundation needed to achieve this goal.”

He said commuters are using digital connectivity to work smarter, live better and reduce stress. Continuous connectivity on the public transport system increases productivity, the report found, with 56% of respondents using their travel time to complete work so they spent less hours in the office. Just less than half also stated it offers the potential for career improvement.

Mobility Futures Consultant and Transportation Researcher Adam Cohen believes that urban transportation is on the verge of rapid transformation and the convergence of shared mobility, electrification and automation will transform how people travel and how cities are built. For example, 81% said advances in transport-related technology are already increasing their use, or changing the way they use public transport.

“What is clear is that public transportation, cities and society are on the cusp of changing rapidly and dramatically as advancements in mobility technology converge in the marketplace,” said Cohen. “Travellers are leveraging mobile devices and data to make real-time choices based on factors such as convenience, connection, cost, travel time and wait time. They are part of the ‘experience economy’, they don’t need to take public transportation and agencies need to look at technology solutions to make travellers want to. Technology can improve the effectiveness of public transportation by enabling transportation providers to know their riders’ preferences while simultaneously enhancing rider convenience.”

According to the report, 95% of commuters would be more likely to use rail if it deployed technology-driven solutions and 92% reported they would enjoy their journey more if the rail network of the future evolved.

To download the research report, click here.

Image credit: © Furman

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