A data-powered Future of Mobility

The evolving mobility ecosystem is fundamentally transforming how people and goods travel from point A to point B. Driven by a series of converging technological and social trends, growth in ridesharing, the increasing viability of electric vehicles, and the emergence of connected and autonomous vehicles; the future of transport is one that offers faster, cheaper, cleaner, safer, more efficient and more customised travel.

But if the future of transport offers unparalleled benefits, it also exists with unprecedented uncertainty. Technological disruption is roughly doubling each year, and the amount of data generated as a result is growing exponentially – in fact, there are more digital bits in the universe that there are stars!

We’re increasingly hearing the term ‘Intelligent Mobility’ used to describe the new and innovative technologies that can harness this data to enable smarter, greener and more efficient movement of people and goods. The term focuses on the ultimate goal of ‘mobility’ rather than specific modes of transport and is forecast to grow over $1 trillion by 2025, representing more than 1% of the world’s GDP. Key to this growth is the data and technological infrastructure that underpins and connects physical assets with travel demand. There is significant risk, however, that if the data which supports this connection becomes locked into closed systems, then a free ecosystem that enables innovative mobility solutions and proactively embraces disruption will not be realised.

The best outcome is a ‘system of systems’ that moves people and goods efficiently by connecting physical assets with digital technologies like dynamic pricing and data exchanges under clear governance structures, standards and rules that define how they operate. Data is at the heart of this concept – and provides a potential new revenue stream by allowing industry and users to ‘plug’ into an ecosystem and access data that helps them make transport decisions (or provide transport services).

 

 

Being part of this the new transport value chain offers benefits for all players in this new ecosystem, including:

  • Transport agencies: Comprehensive view and analytics built on historical and current data to create and regulate key outcomes – for example safety, accessibility and environmentally friendly. Increased availability of data will also allow for better and more informed transport planning and investment, such as where and when to carry out road maintenance, for example, or whether to add additional bus services to a particular neighbourhood.
  • Government: Ensure the transport network is operating equitably to meet a range of stakeholder needs and interests, and that everyone is adhering to the rules.
  • Transport service providers: increased system-wide efficiency means fewer buses, trains and other assets are required to move equal or greater numbers of people. They can also gain new insight about which passengers face the greatest transport challenges, enabling them to respond accordingly.
  • Travelling public: Greater choice in mobility options, dynamically priced based on real-time supply and demand as well as actual market conditions, which allows them to make more informed decisions about how they travel.

 

The emerging mobility ecosystem comprises far more than just car manufacturers and app developers. Academic institutions, other levels of government, and a host of private sector players—insurers, financiers, health care providers, media companies, and beyond—will likely all be impacted. Through making data accessible in the right way, government will be well positioned to bring all these stakeholders together, and have evidence-based discussions that help to formulate smart, agile responses to mobility disruption. Important principles to guide the formation of these ecosystems include:

  • Revisit and refine often: Because of the speed with which mobility technologies are advancing, a “one and done” approach to regulation is ill-suited. Instead, government will need to review and refresh regulatory standards frequently, with an emphasis on outcomes rather than process or product. Data accessibility offers transport agencies the ability to short-cut these cycles, and make real-time operational decisions, test policies and regulations on a small scale, providing an evidence-based glimpse into the future of transport – all in real-time. It’s now regulations job to keep up.
  • Protect information visibly: Increasing expectations for seamless digital government make it important that transport agencies have the ability to share data – in the right way – while also protecting the information that needs protection. Gone are the days of a ‘one size fits all’ approach to open data. It needs to be much more bespoke to ensure outcomes are delivered in the right way that build trust.
  • Remain technology-neutral to allow for further innovation: While developers have made much progress, there are still plenty of unsettled questions when it comes to mobility technology. Prematurely codifying a particular data accessibility approach risks lock-in and path dependency. Developing a categorisation-based methodology that reflects the changing mobility ecosystem will allow transport agencies to implement a fit-for-purpose and relevant approach that answers questions about how information should be collected, stored and used to understand where, when, how, and with whom we travel.

 

 


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