Transforming Transport Networks

Transport is one of the biggest challenges facing cities today.

Helping citizens and residents and visitors get around multilayered urban environments – that’s an ambitious goal. Tech has made users expect tech. Growth has made transport complex, with so many moving parts that navigating it for a user is getting exponentially harder. For providers, managing delays, alerts, information, changes and even health and safety is a problem that keeps on giving. 

Connected environments are the perfect way to transform tangled transport systems.

1. Provide the right information – at the right time

Travellers need to know where to be, which platform or stop they’re headed to, where their transport is in real time and whether the conditions have changed. 

This is about sharing knowledge and information contextually and intelligently. 

In a system where every device is talking, from the transport hubs’ internal systems to every traveller’s phone or smart watch, this is possible today. 

When a visitor gets off a bus, a connected environment can tell them exactly where their connecting train is, when it will arrive, where they should meet it, and even which carriage to get into. There’s no fragmentation – just information. 

2. Protect every single traveller

We know that the health and safety of the people using a transport system has to be a priority. In a terrorist attack, in a natural disaster, in a technical failure, saving lives and helping the injured is always going to be #1. 

In a connected environment, where the system is constantly monitoring, interacting and analysing data and alerts, this can be seamless. When an incident occurs, you can tell every traveller. 

You can tell them where to go, what procedure to follow, how to evacuate, and how the situation is developing. You can guide emergency services to the right location. You can track injured people, survivors and casualties. 

You can comfort people who are terrified and connect them to the outside world. This is the future of crisis response in every single transport network. And you can get there today. 

3. Manage resources

The logistics of transport are huge. There’s finite resources, between staff, maintenance crews and materials and yes – the vehicles and modes themselves. These have to be split between multiple zones, stops and routes, with changing situations depending on times. 

Peak hour? You’re going to need to know where everything and anything is needed, or delays could wipe out the timetables across every single network. If that happens, it can even have a flow on effect that damages your ability to function for days, if not weeks. 

In a connected environment, you can track what’s needed, where it’s needed, and when. You can understand needs and anticipate them before they become system threats. You can predict a shortage, speed up the fix during a breakdown, and keep your system moving. 

This happens through data, reporting, analysis and information sharing. This happens in real time, without friction, and without relying on human bottlenecks that could hold up the logistics process!

4. Forecast and predict!

One of the biggest benefits of a connected system is that you can gather information and reports on your transport network and its hubs, travellers, resources and staff, combine them with 3rd party data on weather, external conditions etc., and use them to generate predictions and forecasts. 

This is a long term game, with long term benefits. Strategic planning, expansions, upgrades and workforce decisions can be based on accurate and reliable forecasts that draw on the real world information you’re constantly tracking and recording. 

When you understand every variable, it’s easier to model new scenarios and choose the best possible way forward. 

5. Test and experiment

Improving your network is about measuring and testing. You don’t want to change everything without understanding the impact it would have. In a connected environment, you can design and run small scale tests that allow you to see the impact your ideas and plans are going to have on the people and the infrastructure. 

Instead of investing blindly, a small scale experiment is a fantastic way to iterate and evolve. Your network is a precious resource and people rely on it, so preserving stability and keeping the lights on while you find ways to tweak it really does matter. 

Think of it as the ability to isolate cohorts and segments of people on set routes and modify their experience for the better, before you apply it to the whole network – that’s a game changer. 

Connected environments are on their way, and investing in them today is the right call. When your transport network becomes a smart network, it will be future proof for tomorrow and optimised for today. 

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